Photo of Stanley Mazor

Stanley Mazor

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Computer Science
For the conception, design and application of the first microprocessor, which was commercially adopted and became the universal building block of digital electronic systems, significantly impacting the global economy and people’s day-to-day lives.

Stanley Mazor on his first experience with computers

Stanley Mazor was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1941 but raised in Oakland, California. He went to college across the bay in San Francisco State University where he learned to program on an IBM 1620. As a post-doc he worked briefly at Berkeley before joining Fairchild Semiconductor as a logic designer and then moving to Intel.

Fairchild and Intel at that time had distinct philosophical differences about what a computer should be—at Fairchild, Mazor mainly worked on solutions oriented around custom hardware while at Intel he would help create general purpose hardware capable of handling custom software, the paradigm that would eventually come to dominate the industry.

Mazor along with Frederico Faggin and Marcian Hoff are credited for creating the Intel 4004, the world’s first commercial microprocessor. It was uniquely powerful for its tiny size, but the 4004 was originally purpose-built for an Intel client in Japan and something of a one-off. Eventually, its potential was realized and Mazor would also become involved in the creation of the follow-up chip, the 8008, which many see as the beginning of the Intel desktop computer.

By Casey Samulski