What is a Central Processing Unit (CPU)?

A central processing unit (CPU), or sometimes simply processor, is the component in a digital computer that interprets instructions and processes data contained in computer programs. CPUs provide the fundamental digital computer trait of programmability, and are one of the necessary components found in computers of any era, along with primary storage and input/output facilities. A CPU that is manufactured using integrated circuits is known as a microprocessor. Since the mid-1970s, single-chip microprocessors have almost totally replaced all other types of CPUs, and today the term "CPU" is usually applied to some type of microprocessor.


What is a microprocessor?

A microprocessor (sometimes abbreviated


What is a microcontroller (MCU)?

A microcontroller (or MCU) is a computer-on-a-chip used to control electronic devices. It is a type of microprocessor emphasizing self-sufficiency and cost-effectiveness, in contrast to a general-purpose microprocessor (the kind used in a PC). A typical microcontroller contains all the memory and interfaces needed for a simple application, whereas a general purpose microprocessor requires additional chips to provide these functions.


What is Electronic Design Automation (EDA)?

Electronic design automation (EDA) is the category of tools for designing and producing electronic systems ranging from printed circuit boards (PCBs) to integrated circuits. This is sometimes referred to as ECAD (electronic computer-aided design) or just CAD.


What is an embedded system?

An embedded system is a special-purpose system in which the computer is completely encapsulated by the device it controls. Unlike a general-purpose computer, such as a personal computer, an embedded system performs pre-defined tasks, usually with very specific requirements. Example: Routers, ATMs, cellular phones.


What is an Original Device Manufacturer (ODM)?

Some OEMs have also taken on a larger role in the design of the product they are manufacturing. The term Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) is used to describe companies that design and manufacture a product that is then sold under other brand names.


What is an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)?

An original equipment manufacturer (frequently abbreviated "OEM") is a company that builds products or components which are used in products sold by another company (often called a value-added reseller, or VAR). An OEM will typically build to order based on designs of the VAR. For example, a hard drive in a computer system may be manufactured by a corporation separate from the company that markets and sells the computer, or a loudspeaker in a stereo system made by a company that specializes in audio manufacturing.


What is an Integrated Device Manufacturer (IDM)?

An integrated device manufacturer (IDM) is a semiconductor company which designs, manufactures, and sells integrated circuit (IC) products.


What are merchant foundries?

Merchant foundries only manufacture devices under contract by other companies, without designing them. They are able to find work from the pool of fabless companies and by careful scheduling, pricing and contracting remain at full utilization.


What are Intellectual Property (IP) firms?

A fabless company may concentrate its research and development resources on the end market without being required to invest resources in staying current in semiconductor technology. For this reason they are also known as IP firms, because their primary product consists of licenses in patents, trade secrets, mask works, and other forms of intellectual property.


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