Chip Hall of Fame

The stories of the greatest and most influential microchips in history—and the people who built them

The stories of the greatest and most influential microchips in history—and the people who built them

Presenting the 2018 Chip Hall of Fame inductees

Welcome to the Chip Hall of Fame

T

o most, microchips are mysterious black boxes sprouting tiny metal pins, labeled with seemingly random strings of letters and numbers. But for those in the know, some chips stand out like a celebrity on the red carpet. Many of these integrated circuits found glory by directly powering products that transformed the world, while others cast a long shadow of influence over the computing landscape. And some became cautionary tales in their failed ambitions.

To honor and tell the stories of these renowned blobs of silicon—and their creators and users—IEEE Spectrum has created the Chip Hall of Fame. Many of the first class of inductees came from our perennially popular article (and the inspiration for the Hall) “25 Microchips That Shook The World,” written by Brian Santo with assistance from Sally Adee and Samuel K. Moore, but each year we add new chips. In this year’s class, we celebrate the Intel 4004 and the RCA CDP 1802 microprocessors, both of which helped bring computing into homes and offices; Photobit’s PB-100, the image sensor that launched countless webcams and led to the cellphone camera revolution; the Philips TDA7000 receiver, which made it possible to put an FM radio into almost anything; and the Nvidia NV20 graphics processor, which serendipitously paved the way for today’s boom in machine learning.

If you think you know of a chip that can stand alongside these titans, tell us about it and we’ll consider it for the next class.

—Stephen Cass