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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores by Steve Leibson

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1.1. The Start of Something Big

The course of electronic systems design changed irreversibly on November 15, 1971, when Intel introduced the first commercial microprocessor, the 4004. Before that date, system design consisted of linking many hardwired blocks, some analog and some digital, with point-to-point connections. After the 4004’s public release, electronic system design began to change in two important ways.

First, and most obvious, was the injection of software or firmware into the system-design lexicon. Prior to the advent of the microprocessor, the vast majority of system designers had only analog and digital design skills. If they had learned any computer programming, it was used for developing design-automation aids or simulation ...

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