Computer Fundamentals Generation 2021

Generation in computer terminology is a change in technology a computer is/was being used.
Initially, the generation term was used to distinguish between varying hardware technologies.
Nowadays, computer fundamentals generation includes both hardware and software, which together make up an
entire computer system.

There are five computer generations known till date. Each generation has been discussed in
detail along with their time period and characteristics. In the following table, approximate
dates against each generation has been mentioned, which are normally accepted.

Following are the main five generations of computers.

Sr.No. Generation & Description
1First Generation
The period of first generation: 1946-1959, Vacuum tube based.
2Second Generation
The period of second generation: 1959-1965, Transistor based.
3Third Generation
The period of third generation: 1959-1965, Integrated circuit based.
4Fourth Generation
The period of fourth generation: 1959-1965, VLSI microprocessor based.
5Fifth Generation
The period of fifth generation: 1959-1965, ULSI microprocessor based.

Before there are graphing calculators, spreadsheets, and computer algebra systems, mathematicians and inventors looked for solutions to ease the burden of calculation.

Below are the 8 mechanical calculators before modern computers were invented.

  1. Abacus (ca. 2700 BC)
  2. Pascal’s Calculator (1652)
  3. Stepped Reckoner (1694)
  4. Arithmometer (1820)
  5. Comptometer (1887) and Comptograph (1889)
  6. The Difference Engine (1822)
  7. Analytical Engine (1834)
  8. The Millionaire (1893)

First Generation Computers : Vacuum Tubes (1940-1956)

The technology behind the first generation computers was a fragile glass device, which was called vacuum tubes. These computers were very heavy and really large in size. These weren’t very reliable and programming on them was a very tedious task as they used high-level programing language and used no OS. First-generation computers were used for calculation, storage, and control purpose. They were too bulky and enormous that they needed a full room and consume rot of electricity.

Main Features :

  • Vacuum tube technology
  • Unreliable
  • Supported machine language only
  • Very costly
  • Generated a lot of heat
  • Slow input and output devices
  • Huge size
  • Need of AC
  • Non profitable
  • Consumed a lot of electricity

First Generation Computers :

  • ENIAC: Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, built by J. Presper Eckert and John V. Mauchly was a general-purpose computer. It had been very heavy, large, and contained 18,000 vacuum tubes.
  • EDVAC: Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer was designed by von Neumann. It could store data also as instruction and thus the speed was enhanced.
  • UNIVAC: Universal Automatic Computer was developed in 1952 by Eckert and Mauchly.
  • IBM-701
  • IBM-650

Second Generation Computers : Transistors ( 1956-1963 )

Second-generation computers used the technology of transistors instead of bulky vacuum tubes. Another feature was the core storage. A transistor could also be a tool composed of semiconductor material that amplifies a symbol or opens or closes a circuit.

Transistors were invented in Bell Labs. the utilization of transistors made it possible to perform powerfully and with due speed. It reduced the size and price and thankfully the heat too, which was generated by vacuum tubes. Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, programing language and input, and output units also came into the force within the second generation.

Programming language was shifted from high level to programing language and made programming comparatively an easy task for programmers. Languages used for programming during this era were FORTRAN (1956), ALGOL (1958), COBOL (1959).

Main Features :

>>> Use of transistors
>>> Reliable in comparison to first generation computers
>>> Smaller size as compared to first generation computers
>>> Generated less heat as compared to first generation computers
>>> Consumed less electricity as compared to first generation computers
>>> Faster than first generation computers
>>> Still very costly
>>> AC required
>>> Supported machine and assembly languages

Second Generation Computers :

  • IBM 1620
  • IBM 7049
  • IBM 7090
  • IBM 1400 SERIES
  • CDC 1604
  • CDC 3600
  • UNIVAC 1108
  • PDP 8

Third Generation Computers: Integrated Circuits ( 1964-1971 )

During the third generation, technology envisaged a shift from huge transistors to integrated circuits, also mentioned as IC. Here a spread of transistors were placed on silicon chips, called semiconductors. the foremost feature of this era’s computer was the speed and reliability. IC was made up of silicon and also called silicon chips.

A single IC, has many transistors, registers, and capacitors built on one thin slice of silicon. the worth size was reduced and memory space and dealing efficiency were increased during this generation. Programming was now exhausted Higher level language like BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). Minicomputers find their shape during this era.

Main Features :

>>> IC used
>>> More reliable in comparison to previous two generations
>>> Smaller size
>>> Generated less heat
>>> Faster
>>> Lesser maintenance
>>> Costly
>>> AC required
>>> Consumed lesser electricity
>>> Supported high-level language

Third Generation Computers :

  • IBM 360 Series
  • Honeywell 6000 series
  • PDP ( Personal Data Processor )
  • IBM 370/168
  • TDC 316
  • NCR 395

Fourth Generation Computers : Micro Processor ( 1971-Present )

In 1971 First micro¬processors were used, the massive scale of integration LSI circuits built on one chip called microprocessors. the foremost advantage of this technology is that one microprocessor can contain all the circuits required to perform arithmetic, logic, and control functions on one chip.

The computers using microchips were called microcomputers. This generation provided the even smaller size of computers, with larger capacities. That’s not enough, then Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits replaced LSI circuits. The Intel 4004chip, developed in 1971, located all the components of the pc from the central processing unit and memory to input/ output controls on one chip and allowed the size to scale back drastically.

Technologies like multiprocessing, multiprogramming, time-sharing, operating speed, and virtual storage made it a more user-friendly and customary device. The concept of personal computers and computer networks came into being within the fourth generation.

Main Features :

>>> VLSI technology used
>>> Very cheap
>>> Portable and reliable
>>> Use of PCs
>>> Very small size
>>> Pipeline processing
>>> No AC required
>>> Concept of internet was introduced
>>> Great developments in the fields of networks
>>> Computers became easily available

Fourth Generation Computers :

  • Apple 2
  • Alter 8800
  • DEC 10

Fifth Generation Computers

The technology behind the fifth generation computers is AI. It allows computers to behave like humans. it’s often seen in programs like voice recognition, area of medicines, and entertainment. Within the sector of games playing also it’s shown remarkable performance where computers are capable of beating human competitors.

The speed is highest, size is that the littlest and area of use has remarkably increased within the fifth generation computers. Though not 100 percent AI has been achieved so far but keeping in view this developments, it’s often said that this dream also will become a reality very soon.

In order to summarize the features of various generations of computers, it’s often said that an enormous improvement has been seen as far because the speed and accuracy of functioning care, but if we mention the size , it’s being small over the years. the worth is additionally diminishing and reliability is actually increasing.

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