Generations Of Computer – Computers were developed in five distinct phases known as generations of computer. Each phase is characterized by type of switching ciruits it utilizes.
- First Generation (1946-1959)
- Second Generation (1959-1965)
- Third Generation (1965-1971)
- Fourth Generation (1971-1980)
- Fifth Generation (1980 onwards)
Generations Of Computer ( First )
First generation started with using arrays of vaccum tubes as the basic component for memory and circuitry for Central Processing Unit. These tubes like electric bulbs produced a lot of heat and were prone to frequent fusing of the installations, therefore, were very expensive and could be afforded only by very large organisations. In the history of computer, Some computers of this generation were
- UNIVAC: It was produced in 1951 by Universal Acounting Company (UNIVAC) set up by Eckert and Marrchly. It was used by US Bureau of the Census in 1952. It was the first non-military application of computers.
- IBM-701 AND IBM-650: These were introduced in 1953 and 1954 respectively by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). The IBM-650 was the first modern digital computer produced on mass scale.
Generations Of Computer ( Second )
The second generation machines, which first appeared in 1959, using the transistor were cheaper, consumed less power, more compact in size, more reliable and faster than the first generation machines made of vaccum tubes.
In second generation computers. magnetic cores were used as primary memory, magnetic tape and magnetic disks as secondary storage devices. However, they still relied on punched cards for input and printouts for output.
One of the major developments of this generation includes the progress of machine language to assembly language. As a result, programming became less cumbersome. Early high-level programming languages such as COBOL and FORTRAN also came into existence in this period. In the history of computer, Some computers of this generation were
- IBM 1620
- IBM 7094
- CDC 1604
- CDC 3600
- UNIVAC 1108
The third generation of computers were introudced in 1965. They used integrated circuits (I.C.) or in popular language ‘Chip’. A single I.C. has many transistors, resistors and capacitors along with the associated circuitary. The I.C. was invented by Jack Kilby. This development made computers smaller in size, reliable and efficient.
Instead of punched cards and printouts, users interacted with third generation computers through keyboards and monitors and interfaced with an operating system. For the first time, computers became accessible to mass audience because they were smaller and cheaper than their predecessors. During this generation, the concept of time sharing was introduced. In the history of computer, Some computers of this generation were
- IBM 360 series
- IBM-370 series
- ICL-2900 series
- Honeywell-6000 series
Generations Of Computer ( Fourth )
IC’s which have the entire computer circuitlry on a single silicon chip are called Micro-Processors. The development of micro-processors made it possible to place complete C.P.U. of a computer on a single chip. Very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits having about 5000 transistors and other circuit elements and their associated circuits on a single chip made it possible to have microcomputers of fourth generatin. The first microprocessor, intel 4004, was announced by Intel Corporation of U.S.A. in 1971. It was a 4 bit microprocessor. Later, the 8-bit, the 12-bit and 16 bit microprcessor were developed.
Fourth generation computers became more powerful, compact, reliable, and affordable. As a result, it gave rise to personal computer (PC) revolution.
Magnetic core memories was replaced by semiconductor memories. The spread of high speed computer networking was also done in this generation. A large number of computer could be connected that could communicate and share of LAN’s (Local Area Network) and WAN’s (Wide Area Network) This gave rise to network of computers, which eventually led to develop data.
A significance development in software was the development of several newer operating systems. The most famous ones MS-DOS, MS-WINDOWS etc. The interface of interaction was made user friendly by using GUI (Graphical User Interface). Programming languages like ADA, C, C++ were also developed in this generation. In the history of computer, Some computers of this generation were
- DEC 10 AMD
- STAR 1000
- PDP 11 Athlon
- CRAY-1 (Super Computer)
- CRAY-X-MP (Super Computer)
Fifth and Future Generations
In the fifth generation, the VLSI technology became ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology, resulting in the production of microprocessor chips having ten million electronic components. The fifth generation machine are proposed to based on parallel processing hardware and Al (Artificial Intelligence) software. Al is an emerging branch in computer science, which interprets means and method of making computers think like human beings.
A number of projects have been proposed by Japan, USA, European Economic community and in Britain, to build fifth generation Computers. The research on fifth that only the generation computers is so expensive and the outcome is so uncertain fford it governmental backing by a very industrially advanced nation can a . The countries presently in forefront of the race for the fifth generation compute U.S.A. and Japan. It is said that the final winner of this race will have overwhelming superiority on future technological program that it will be thee are the the entire industrial world.