The race is on at Intel Corp. as the semiconductor giant pledges to return to the top of its game, committing to produce the world’s best chips within four years.

To get there, Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger is laying out a plan Monday for the company to introduce at least a new central processing unit—the brains of the modern computer—every year between 2021 and 2025. Each is expected to be based on transistor technology more advanced than the next.

Intel
INTC,
+2.47%

was long the unquestioned leader in computing performance. Co-founder Gordon Moore defined the law underpinning the semiconductor industry, describing how engineers would find ways to shrink circuits at a predictable pace year after year. But the company has fallen behind Asian rivals after a series of missteps and delays.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
TSM,
-0.98%

 and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. 
005930,
-0.63%

are now both ahead of Intel in chip-manufacturing technology. They manufacture chips on contract for chip-design specialists, allowing those customers to gain an edge on Intel.

“We are accelerating our innovation roadmap to ensure we are on a clear path to process performance leadership by 2025,” Gelsinger said in prepared remarks. The CEO rejoined Intel in February with a mandate to revitalize the company after previously serving as its chief technology officer.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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