Just out of curiosity, we have these Microprocessor and Mircocontroller.

I understanding these chips have some internal registers and peripherals to help us carry out complex tasks and functions. But my question is why it is termed as Microprocessor and Microcontroller?

Why not say,"Milli" or "Nano" or others? Just wanted to understand how this came to being and why its still being followed now?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a question about language. And language is just how it is: "micro" means "tiny", and that's the name they went with when they invented microchips, end of story. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10 at 9:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nano also means tiny.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Newbie
    Jun 10 at 9:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ yes, so that's the point. No reason. It's language. They went with what they thought sounded good. (by the way, "Nano" doesn't mean tiny, it means "dwarf-like", but that's a wholly irrelevant thing) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10 at 9:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ A microprocessor is a microcircuit that implements a processor. So why not call a processor that is implemented with microcircuits a microprocssor? \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Jun 10 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably because micro-controller clocks are typically specified in MHz/micro-seconds? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mitu Raj
    Jun 10 at 9:33

Back in the day there were mainframe computers, typically occupying a large room with several 19” racks. Then there were minicomputers which would often fit into a single rack, the likes if PDP-11s and VAXen. Then came microcomputers such as the Sun-2, which used microprocessors, being more or less single-chip CPUs. The physically larger processors fell by the wayside because the propagation delays meant that they could never compete with the speed of single-chip devices.

  • \$\begingroup\$ computerhistory.org/blog/who-invented-the-microprocessor The original use of the word “microprocessor” described a computer that employed a microprogrammed architecture—a technique first described by Maurice Wilkes in 1951. Viatron Computer Systems used the term microprocessor to describe its compact System 21 machines for small business use in 1968. Its modern usage is an abbreviation of micro-processing unit (MPU), the silicon device in a computer that performs all the essential logical operations of a computing system. Popular media stories call it a “computer-on-a-chip.” \$\endgroup\$
    – Frog
    Jun 10 at 10:43

Well, micro was smaller than mini! Why did Arduino call one of their boards the 'Nano'? and RaspberryPi the 'Pico'?

Why are those companies called 'Arduino' and 'RaspberryPi'? So many questions!

Here's a publication for your edification: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-349-07674-1_17


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