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Generation & Description of Computer.

First Generation Computers (1946-1959)

The first generation computers were slow, huge and expensive. In these computers, vacuum tubes were used as the basic components of CPU and memory. These computers were mainly depended on batch operating system and punch cards. Magnetic tape and paper tape were used as output and input devices in this generation.

The main features of First generation are :-

  1. Sizes of these computers were as large as the size of a room.

  2. Possession of Vacuum Tubes to perform calculation.

  3. They used an internally stored instruction called program.

  4. Use capacitors to store binary data and information.

  5. They use punched card for communication of input and output data and information

  6. They generated a lot of heat.

  7. They have about One Thousand 1000 circuits per cubic foot.

  8. Slow input and output devices

  9. Unreliable

  10. Supported machine language only

  11. Very costly

  12. Consumed a lot of electricity


Some of the popular FirstFirst generation computers are :-

  1. ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
  2. EDVAC ( Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer)
  3. UNIVACI( Universal Automatic Computer)
  4. IBM-701
  5. IBM-650


Second Generation Computers (1959-1965)

The second generation was the era of the transistor computers. These computers used transistors which were cheap, compact and consuming less power; it made transistor computers faster than the first generation computers.

In this generation, magnetic cores were used as the primary memory and magnetic disc and tapes were used as the secondary storage. Assembly language and programming languages like COBOL and FORTRAN, and Batch processing and multiprogramming operating systems were used in these computers.

The main features of second generation are :-

  1. The computers were still large, but smaller than the first generation of computers.

  2. They use transistor in place of Vacuum Tubes to perform calculation.

  3. They were produced at a reduced cost compared to the first generation of computers.

  4. Possession of magnetic tapes as for data storage.

  5. They were using punch cards as input and output of data and information. The use of keyboard as an input device was also introduced.

  6. These computers were still generating a lot of heat in which an air conditioner is needed to maintain a cold temperature.

  7. They have about one thousand circuits per cubic foot.

  8. Reliable in comparison to first generation computers

  9. Generated less heat as compared to first generation computers

  10. Consumed less electricity as compared to first generation computers

  11. Faster than first generation computers

  12. Supported machine and assembly languages

Some of the popular second generation computers are :-

  1. IBM 1620

  2. IBM 7094

  3. CDC 1604

  4. CDC 3600

  5. UNIVAC 1108


Third Generation Computers (1965 – 1971)

The third generation computers used integrated circuits (ICs) instead of transistors. A single IC can pack huge number of transistors which increased the power of a computer and reduced the cost. The computers also became more reliable, efficient and smaller in size. These generation computers used remote processing, time-sharing, multi programming as operating system. Also, the high-level programming languages like FORTRON-II TO IV, COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, ALGOL-68 were used in this generation.

The main features of third generation are :-

  1. IC used

  2. Generated less heat

  3. Faster

  4. Lesser maintenance

  5. Consumed lesser electricity

  6. Supported high-level language like COBOL and FORTRAN were developed.

  7. They used large-scale integrated circuits, which were used for both data processing and storage.

  8. More reliable in comparison to previous two generations

  9. Computers were miniaturized, that is, they were reduced in size compared to previous generation.

  10. Keyboard and mouse were used for input while the monitor was used as output device.

  11. They have hundred thousand circuits per cubic foot.


Some of the popular third generation computers are :-

  1. IBM-360 series

  2. Honeywell-6000 series

  3. PDP(Personal Data Processor)

  4. IBM-370/168

  5. TDC-316


Fourth Generation Computers (1971-1980)

The fourth generation computers used very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits; a chip containing millions of transistors and other circuit elements. These chips made this generation computers more compact, powerful, fast and affordable. These generation computers used real time, time sharing and distributed operating system. The programming languages like C, C++, DBASE were also used in this generation.

The main features of Fourth generation are :-

  1. Possession of microprocessor which performs all the task of a computer system use today.

  2. The size of computers and cost was reduced.

  3. Portable and reliable

  4. Use of PCs

  5. Increase in speed of computers.

  6. Very large scale (VLS) integrated circuits were used.

  7. They have millions of circuits per cubic foot.

  8. VLSI technology used

  9. Pipeline processing

  10. No AC required

  11. Concept of internet was introduced

  12. Great developments in the fields of networks

  13. Computers became easily available

Some of the popular fourth generation computers are :-

  1. DEC 10

  2. STAR 1000

  3. PDP 11

  4. CRAY-1(Super Computer)

  5. CRAY-X-MP(Super Computer)


Fifth Generation Computers (1980-till date)

In fifth generation computers, the VLSI technology was replaced with ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration). It made possible the production of microprocessor chips with ten million electronic components. This generation computers used parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software. The programming languages used in this generation were C, C++, Java, .Net, etc.

The main features of Fifth generation are :-

  1. Consist of extremely large scale integration.

  2. Parallel processing

  3. Possession of high speed logic and memory chip.

  4. High performance, micro-miniaturization.

  5. Development of true artificial intelligence

  6. recognition, facial face detector, thumb print.

  7. Satellite links, virtual reality.

  8. They have billions of circuits per cubic.

  9. ULSI technology

  10. Development of Natural language processing

  11. Advancement in Parallel Processing

  12. Advancement in Superconductor technology

  13. More user-friendly interfaces with multimedia features

  14. Availability of very powerful and compact computers at cheaper rates


Some of the popular fifth generation computers are :-

  1. Desktop

  2. Laptop

  3. NoteBook

  4. UltraBook

  5. ChromeBook

  6. Facial face detector

  7. Thumb print.

  8. Super computers

  9. Robots

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