The past is prologue for the future
—common saying, frequently ignored
Systems-on-chips (SOCs) are, by definition, electronic systems built on single chips. Also by definition, every SOC incorporates at least one microprocessor. Some SOCs use two or three microprocessors to accomplish required tasks and a few SOC designs employ many dozens of processors. To see how SOC design got where it is today and where market and technological forces will take it tomorrow, we start by first looking at how electronic system design has evolved since the microprocessor’s introduction.