NEC Corporation (Japanese 日本電気株式会社 Nippon Denki Kabushiki Gaisha; TYO: 6701 , NASDAQ: NIPNY) is a multi-national information technologies company headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. NEC, part of the Sumitomo Group, provides information technology (IT) and network solutions to business enterprises, communications services providers and government. Their business is divided into the three principal segments: IT Solutions, Network Solutions and Electron Devices. The IT Solutions business delivers computing solutions to business enterprises, government and individual customers. The IT Solutions business provides software, hardware and related services. The Network Solutions business designs and provides broadband network systems, mobile and wireless communications network systems, mobile handsets, broadcast and other systems. NEC's Electron Devices business includes semiconductors, displays and other electronic components. NEC produces Versa notebooks for the international market and the Lavie series for Japanese market.
The company was formerly known as Nippon Electric Company, Limited , before it was renamed in 1983. It still goes by the old name in Japan.
As a chip maker, NEC Semiconductors is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.
Proud achievements of NEC include the discovery of carbon nanotubes by Sumio Iijima, and the creation of the Earth Simulator, the fastest supercomputer in the world at the time. Over the past five years NEC has ranked consistently in the top 4 companies for number of U.S. patents issued, averaging 1764 granted each year.
NEC's contributions to computing also include the following:
- Switching circuit theory was introduced by NEC engineer Akira Nakashima in a series of papers published from 1934 to 1936. Switching circuit theory provided the mathematical foundations and tools for digital system design in almost all areas of modern technology.
- NEC released the μPD707 and μPD708, a two-chip 4-bit CPU, in 1971. They were followed by NEC's first single-chip microprocessor, the μPD700, in April 1972. It was a prototype for the μPD751, released in April 1973, combining the μPD707 and μPD708 into a single microprocessor.
- The NEC µPD7720, the first commercial DSP (digital signal processor), released in 1980. It was later used as an enhancement chip in SNES game cartridges such as Pilotwings and Super Mario Kart in the early 90's.
- The 8-bit PC-88 and 16/32-bit PC-98 home computers, launched in 1981 and 1982, respectively. The PC-88 was the first home computer with a high-resolution (640x400) display mode. The PC-98 was one of the best-selling computers of the 20th century, having sold over 18 million units in Japan by the late 90's, surpassing the Commodore 64's ~17 million worldwide sales.
- The NEC µPD7220 graphics chipset, the world's first computer GPU (graphics processing unit), originally released for the PC-98 in 1982.
- The PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 console, which started the 16-bit era of console gaming. It was the first console with dual 16-bit GPU graphics processors and, more importantly, the first home gaming system with CD-ROM support, via the PC Engine CD-ROM / TurboGrafx-CD peripheral. It was very successful in Japan, but was unsuccessful overseas.
- The PC Engine's 32-bit successor, the PC-FX console, was nowhere near as successful as its predecessor, largely due to its limited 3D graphical capabilities compared to its 32-bit systems, the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation.
- Some of the first 3D graphics accelerator cards, including the PC-FXGA for the PC-98 in 1995 and particularly the PowerVR for the PC in early 1996; these were the most powerful computer graphics cards when they first released in 1995 and 1996, respectively. The PC-FXGA's polygon rendering performance exceeded the PlayStation and rivaled the Nintendo 64, while the PowerVR was able to handle a near arcade quality port of Namco's Rave Racer (though this PC port was later cancelled).
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- ↑ History of Research on Switching Theory in Japan, IEEJ Transactions on Fundamentals and Materials, Vol. 124 (2004) No. 8, pp. 720-726, Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan
- ↑ Switching Theory/Relay Circuit Network Theory/Theory of Logical Mathematics, IPSJ Computer Museum, Information Processing Society of Japan
- ↑ Radomir S. Stanković (University of Niš), Jaakko T. Astola (Tampere University of Technology), Mark G. Karpovsky (Boston University), Some Historical Remarks on Switching Theory, 2007, DOI 10.1.1.66.1248
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Radomir S. Stanković, Jaakko Astola (2008), Reprints from the Early Days of Information Sciences: TICSP Series On the Contributions of Akira Nakashima to Switching Theory, TICSP Series #40, Tampere International Center for Signal Processing, Tampere University of Technology
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 NEC 751 (uCOM-4). The Antique Chip Collector's Page. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved on 2010-06-11.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 1970年代 マイコンの開発と発展 ～集積回路, Semiconductor History Museum of Japan
- ↑ Jeffrey A. Hart & Sangbae Kim (2001), The Defense of Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Information Order, International Studies Association, Chicago