A microprocessor -- also known as a CPU or central processing unit -- is a complete computation engine that is fabricated on a single chip. The first microprocessor was the Intel 4004, introduced in 1971. The 4004 was not very powerful -- all it could do was add and subtract, and it could only do that 4 bits at a time. But it was amazing that everything was on one chip. Prior to the 4004, engineers built computers either from collections of chips or from discrete components ( transistors wired one at a time). The 4004 powered one of the first portable electronic calculators.
Paillet reports that he is negotiating to take over an economically troubled computer chip–fabrication foundry in the South of France. Would Koene be willing to serve as a scientific advisor and possibly a fund-raiser on a related project, he asks? Koene shifts impatiently in his chair. “I just had an idea,” he announces. “You are thinking of getting into the foundry business. At the same time people at UC Berkeley are thinking of building new types of neural interfaces. When they get their prototype to work, would you consider . .”