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ARM chip

found in most of world's smartphones and tablets East Anglia,

A zoomed-in photograph of a microchip.
The Acorn RISC chip.Courtesy of ARM Ltd.

The ARM (advanced RISC machine) processor is a family of processors used in devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers. Developed in 1985, it was the world's first commercial RISC processor, an efficient design that involved enabling low power consumption and high processing speeds - hence the name ‘reduced instruction set computing’ or RISC.

It was originally known as the Acorn RISC machine as it was conceived by Acorn computers. Acorn was established in Cambridge in the 1980s and is perhaps best known for the BBC microcomputer which appeared in hundreds of schools and homes across the country.

The RISC processor created a computer system that used simpler commands, allowing it to operate faster. This was an advance on earlier computer systems that used machine code and tried to pack as many actions into each command as possible.

The company ARM (Advanced RISC Machines Ltd) was founded as a separate spin-off entity in the 1990s following collaboration between Acorn and Apple. ARM technology now appears in most of the world’s smartphones and tablets.

Science Museum

East Anglia
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Key Individuals
ARM Ltd, Acorn Computers,