A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor’s terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits. As they are key components in most digital circuits, transistors are ubiquitous in modern electronic devices and have revolutionized the world of electronics since their invention in 1947.

Transistors come in a variety of types and configurations, and are used in many different applications. Common types include bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and field-effect transistors (FETs). Bipolar junction transistors are mainly used for amplification purposes, while FETs are used as switches or for impedance matching. Specialized devices such as phototransistors, current-regulator diodes, light-emitting diodes and thyristors also belong to the transistor family. Transistor technology has advanced rapidly since its invention due to continued research and development. Transistor circuits now provide faster switching speeds, more efficient power usage and higher levels of integration than ever before.

The ability of transistors to be easily combined into complex electronic circuits allows them to be used in a variety of applications, from simple digital logic functions to complex integrated systems. Transistors are vital components in nearly all modern electronic devices and appliances, from computers to mobile phones to cars. They provide the computing power and memory storage necessary for current technologies, making them indispensable for the world today.

Cerebras Systems unveiled the largest AI processor ever made, the Wafer Scale Engine 2 (WSE-2). Custom-built for AI work, the 7nm-based WSE-2 delivers a massive leap forward for AI compute, crushing Cerebras’ previous world record with a single chip that boasts 2.6 trillion transistors and 850,000 AI optimized cores. By comparison the largest graphics processor unit (GPU) has only 54 billion transistors – 2.55 trillion fewer transistors than the WSE-2. The WSE-2 also has 123x more cores and 1,000x more high performance on-chip high memory than GPU competitors.