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In the mid 1980's it will be possible to put a million devices (transistors or active MOS gate electrodes) onto a single silicon chip. General trends in the evolution of silicon integrated circuits are reviewed and design constraints for emeging VLSI circuits are analyzed. Desirable architectural features in modem computers are then discussed and consequences for an implementation with large-scale integrated circuits are investigated. The resulting recommended processor design includes features such as an on-chip memory hierarchy, multiple homogeneous caches for enhanced execution parallelism, support for complex data structures and high-level languages, a flexible instruction set, and communication hardware. It is concluded that a viable modular building block for the next generation of computing systems will be a self-contained computer on a single chip. A tentative allocation of the one million transistors to the various functional blocks is given, and the result is a memory intensive design.