Miniature electronic device that contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry needed to function as a digital computer 's CPU .
Microprocessors are integrated circuits that can interpret and execute program instructions as well as handle arithmetic operations. Their development in the late 1970s enabled computer engineers to develop microcomputers . Microprocessors led to "intelligent" terminals, such as bank ATMs and point-of-sale devices, and to automatic control of much industrial instrumentation and hospital equipment, programmable microwave ovens, and electronic games. Many automobiles use microprocessor-controlled ignition and fuel systems.