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chip

Contributor(s): William Burdick

1) "Chip" is short for microchip, the incredibly complex yet tiny modules that store computer memory or provide logic circuitry for microprocessors. Perhaps the best known chips are the Pentium microprocessors from Intel. The PowerPC microprocessor, developed by Apple, Motorola, and IBM, is used in Macintosh personal computers and some workstations. AMD and Cyrix also make popular microprocessor chips.

There are quite a few manufacturers of memory chips. Many special-purpose chips, known as application-specific integrated circuits, are being made today for automobiles, home appliances, telephones, and other devices.

A chip is manufactured from a silicon (or, in some special cases, a sapphire) wafer, which is first cut to size and then etched with circuits and electronic devices. The electronic devices use complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology. The current stage of micro-integration is known as Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI). A chip is also sometimes called an IC or integrated circuit.

2) In spread spectrum communications, the term chip or chip sequence refers to a spreading-code sequence also known as pseudorandom noise (PN). The chip sequence is used to transform the original data to Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS).The PN modulates or multiplies each symbol in the original signal to obtain the DSSS signal. Spread-spectrum transmission is commonly used in third-generation (3G) wireless transmission. Also see megachips per second.

This was last updated in September 2005

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