Generation of Computer

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Overview

Development of computers can be divided into different generations. Each generation used different processing units. First used vacuum tubes, second used transistors, third used IC, fourth used microprocessor and fifth generation computers were based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are still in development. This note provide us the information about generation of computer.
Generation of Computer

Computer Generation

The history of the computer is also referred to its generation. Key technology development that vitally changed the way computers operate, resulting in increasingly smaller, cheaper, more powerful, efficient and reliable devices distinguished the generation of the computer. This division of computer according to the development period, memory, processing speed, efficiency, storage etc. is called computer generation. There are five computer generations:

First Generation (1946-1958)

Vacuum tubes were used for first generation computers for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. They were huge and expensive to operate. Due to the consumption of great deal of electricity, it generated a lot of heat that often caused malfunctioning in the system. Example: ENIAC, UNIVAC, MARK-1.

Features:

  • They used vacuum tubes/valves as their main electronic components.
  • Storage capacity was limited to 1 KB to 4 KB.
  • They used machine level language for programming.
  • Processing speed was in a millisecond.
  • They used the magnetic drum for primary memory.

Drawbacks:

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  • Difficult in maintenance.
  • No facility of linking program.
  • Difficult for logical programming.

Second Generation (1959-1964)

The transistors invented in 1947, which was not seen as extensive use, replaced vacuum tubes. The transistor was far superior to the vacuum tube that made computers become smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient and more reliable than the first generation computers. Example: IBM 1401, UNIVAC-II, IBM 1620.

Features:

  • They used transistors in place of vacuum tubes. 1 transistor was equivalent to 1000 vacuum tubes.
  • The speed of processing was increased to the microsecond.
  • They used the magnetic core as primary memory and magnetic tapes as auxiliary memory.
  • They were much smaller and more reliable.
  • They used assembly language for programming.

Third generation (1965-1974)

The development of the Integrated Circuit (IC) was the major turning point of the third generation computers. Transistors were made smaller and placed on silicon clips called semiconductors that drastically increased the speed and efficiency of computers. It was called integrated Circuit. Example: IBM 360, PDP-8, etc.

Features:

  • Integrated Circuit (IC) replaced transistors. 1 IC was equivalent to 100 transistors.
  • Processing speed was increased to the nanosecond.
  • Semiconductor memory was used instead of magnetic core memory.
  • They used high-level language for programming.
  • They were smaller, more efficient and more reliable.

Fourth Generation (1975-1990)

The development of microprocessor gave rise to the fourth generation of computers. A microprocessor has thousands of integrated circuits builds onto a single silicon clip. The Intel 4004 chips, developed in 1971 is the first microprocessor.

Features:

  • The microprocessor is used in place of transistors. Very Large Scale integration (VLSI) containing hundreds of thousands of transistors on a chip and LSIs(Large Scale Integration) containing thousand of transistors in a chip made the microprocessor.
  • The speed of processing is increased to Picosecond. Billions of instructions could be processed in a second.
  • They are very user-friendly computers which use many high-level languages for programming


Fifth Generation Computer (1991-Personal and beyond)

The fifth generation computers are based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are still in development. After 90s computers that support Voice Recognition System (VRS) have been developed.

Features:

  • These computers will use parallel processor made from superconductors Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)/biochip.
  • They will possess Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • They will be able to feed input in the natural language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It is the biotechnology, which will be used in the fifth generation computer. A computer having AI will be able to understand natural language, think and make decisions.

Things to remember
  • Vacuum tubes were used for first generation computers for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory.
  • The transistors invented in 1947 which was not seen as extensive use, replaced vacuum tubes.
  • The development of the Integrated Circuit (IC) was the major turning point of the third generation computers.
  • A microprocessor has thousands of integrated circuits builds onto a single silicon clips.
  • The fifth generation computers are based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are still in development.
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for Generation of Computer
3rd Generation Computer
5th Generation Computers
First Generation of Computer Video
Second generation of computers
Questions and Answers
The phase wise development of computers on the basis of speed electronic component, performance and specific period is known as computer generations.

Different computer generations, their duration and main component are:

Generation Duration Main component
First 1946-1958 Vacuum Tube
Second 1959-1958 Transistors
Third 1965-1964 IC(LSI)
Fourth 1975-1974 IC(VLSI)
Fifth Present &beyond Biochip

Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science that refers to the use of computers in such a way that they will be able to reason, learn and understand natural language as a human being. Robots are made by using this technology.

The fifth generation computers will be based on biochips and superconductor chip. They will possess Artificial Intelligence and will be able to program themselves for the uses according to the user's instruction. The Deep Blue of IBM computer is that with Artificial intelligence.

The vacuum tube was the earliest electronic device developed by using filament which was used for controlling the flow of electronic current. It was developed by Lee De Forest.

Transistors are a semiconductor device used for controlling the flow of current between two terminals emitter and collector. It was developed by William Shockley, Walter H. Britain and Johan Burden.

The disadvantages of first generation computers are:-
  • They were huge in size.
  • They used to get very hot soon.
  • They were difficult to maintain.
  • They consumed more electric power.

The features of second generation computers are:

  • Transistors were used as a main component.
  • Their speed was up to the microsecond.
  • They were smaller than the first generation.
  • They used assembly language for programming.
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