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Published Jul 26, 2021Updated May 15, 2024
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A processor is the electric circuitry found in computer hardware which is responsible for executing instruction sets derived from programs that have been converted into machine code.

Processors are comprised of components called transistors and capacitors. Transistors and capacitors are made of semiconductor material (silicon, germanium, etc.) which amplify electric currents or turn them off based on the application instructions in the form of binary 0’s and 1’s being fed to the processor as machine code.

Moore’s law which outlines the exponential improvements achieved by the addition of more computing power and smaller processors over time, has led processors to take the form of “microprocessors”, which are implemented on metal-oxide semiconductor integrated circuit chips. Today’s processors contain billions of transistors on silicon as small as a fingernail.

Often the generic reference to a processor refers to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), which in addition to computing is a powerful source for caching data.

Different Types of Processors

  • Microprocessor
  • Microcontroller
  • Embedded Processor
  • Digital Signal Processor

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