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  Processors form the heart of every computer, from small personal computers (PCs) to large supercomputers. A processor generally consists of an arithmetic/logic unit which performs numerical calculations, storage registers for saving calculation values and other information, and a control unit which coordinates all these functions.

The role of the modern processor is to execute a specific set of instructions, a program, which will be stored in a computer memory, in the correct sequence of events. A very fast ‘clock’ is used to time each program operation and ensures all the control functions are synchronized. The first microprocessor, containing an arithmetic/logic unit on only one silicon ‘chip’, was announced in the US in 1971 by Intel Corporation. This was a result of advances in microelectronics and semiconductor material fields (see semiconductor device theory).

Processing theory is increasing the power of computers every day. Modern desk-top PCs, for example, are many times faster and powerful than the first electronic computer ENIAC, finished in 1946 in America, which filled a large room. In the future, parallel processors, which perform several operations simultaneously rather than one after another, will be employed, which will further increase the speed and power of computers and will undoubtedly lead to more applications of computer control and monitoring. AC



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