Generations of computer

By | May 4, 2019

The computer has been passed many generations before coming up to the state of computer, laptop, desktop and notebook form. At first initial phase, Blaise Pascal gave the birth of a mechanical calculator(counting device) in 1642 AD and then in around 1830 AD, Charles’s Babbage developed “difference engine” and ” Analytical engine”.

In the course of time, many evolutions happened, such as the use of vacuum tube, transistor, integrated circuits etc. This step up in technology is called generations of computer. The generation of a computer has been categorized into first, second, third, fourth and fifth generations based on the key evolutions(vacuum tube, transistor, IC) from past time to recent time.

First generation of computers:

The computers used in the time slot mid 1940s to mid 1950s are known as first generation computer. The important features of first generation computers are as follows:

features:

  1. They used electronic valves(vacuum tubes as CPU components.
  2. They stored the information in the form of propagating sound waves.
  3. The vacuum tubes were costly and therefore it was not used as main memory. Electrostatic memories were used in the first generation of computers.
  4. Magnetic tapes and magnetic drums were used as secondary memory.
  5. Almost 18000 vacuum tubes were used in a computer.
  6. The size of the computer was too bulky.
  7. The first generation program used assembly language for programming.
  8. Power consumption of these computers was very high.
  9. They emitted a large amount of heat, therefore required proper air conditioning.
  10. These computers needed regular maintenance.
  11. Some examples of the first generation computers are: IBM 701, IBM704, EDVAC etc.

Second generation computers:

The computers used in the time slot between mid 1950s and mid 1960s are known as second generation computer. The important features of second generation computers are as follows.

Features:

  1. They used a transistor as the CPU component.
  2. They used ferrite cores for main memory.
  3. Magnetic tapes and magnetic tapes were used as secondary memory.
  4. They used high level languages such as FORTAN,COBOL and ALGOL for programming.
  5. They were smaller than the first-generation computer.
  6. They were faster than the first generation of computer.
  7. Input/output processor was introduced to control the input and output operations.
  8. They consumed less power and produce less amount of heat.
  9. They were more reliable than the first generation computer
  10. eg: IBM1620, IBM 7090, CDC1604 etc.

Third generation computers:

All the computers used in the time slots between the mid 1960s to 1970s are third generation computer. The main features of third generation computer are as follows:

features:

  1. They used ICs(integrated circuits) for CPU components.
  2. In the beginning, third generation computers used magnetic core memory, but later on, semiconductor memories (RAMs and ROMs) were used.
  3. Semiconductor memories were LSI(large scale of integration) chips.
  4. Magnetic disks and magnetic tapes were used as secondary memories.
  5. A new advanced memory called cache memory was introduced and incorporated in third generation computer.
  6. The concept of virtual memory was introduced.
  7. Microprogramming, parallel processing, multiprocessing, multiprogramming and multi-user system were introduced.
  8. Advanced high-level language such as c was developed for computer programming.
  9. They were more powerful than second-generation computers.
  10. They were smaller than second generation computers
  11. They consumed less power and produced less amount of heat than second-generation computers.
  12. The example of third generation computers is IBM/370 Series, CDC7600, PDP11, STAR-100 etc.

Fourth generation computers:

All the computers came into existence in mid 1970s and being used today are fourth generation computers. The main features of fourth generation computers are as follows:

features:

  1. Fourth generation computers use ULSI(ultra large scale of integration) chips for CPU, memory and other supporting chips.
  2. They use a microprocessor as a CPU. The microprocessor is of32 and 64 bits. Their clock frequency lies in the range of 400-1000MHZ. Nowadays the clock frequency of the processor is in gigahertz.
  3. Beside CPU, the fourth generation computers also contain many other essential components such as MMU (memory management unit), first level and second level cache memory, FPU(floating point unit) etc.
  4. Use of RISC(reduced instruction set computers) makes the fourth generation computers more powerful.
  5. Main memories of 256 MB, 512MB,1GB,4GB,8GB are available today.
  6. Magnetic disks(such as a hard disk), optical disks(such as CDROM, CDRW, DVD etc. ) are used as secondary memory.
  7. In a multimedia system input and output in the form of text, graphics, images and sound are used.
  8. Procedure-oriented and object-oriented programming languages were developed.
  9. Very special language called 4GL(4th generation languages) such as ORACLE, SYBASE etc are used for database management.
  10. Advanced operating systems such as Linux, Windows Unix etc.
  11. eg: power pc, UltraSpark and all modern pcs.

Fifth generation:

The upcoming computers are expected to have a lot of properties that resemble intelligent of the human being. They are under development and known as the fifth generation computer. The main features of fifth generation computers are as follows:

features:

  1. 5th generation will use ULSI(ultra large scale integration) technology. ULSI technology will allow integrating millions of components in a single chip.
  2. The 5th generation will use intelligent programming, knowledge-based problem-solving techniques, high-performance multiprocessor system and improved human-machine interface.
  3. 5th generation computer will understand the natural language like English, Japanese etc.
  4. there will be extensive use of parallel processing.
  5. These computers will be knowledge-based computers. they will work according to previously acquired knowledge.
  6. The programmer will not have to write a program for a computer. They will have to speak commands in their mother language i.e. the programmer will tell the computer what to do but not how to do.
  7. The input and output information will be in the form of speech and graphical images.
  8. Bio-chips having protein, fibres, organism as its components are expected to be used in 5th generation computers.
  9. They will be able to communicate like us.
  10. PROLOG is expected to play an important role in 5th generation computers.

Difference between first generation computers and second generation computers.

first generation computer second generation computer
1They used vacuum tubes as CPU component.They used a transistor as the CPU component.
2
They used electrostatic memory as main memory.
They used ferrite cores for main memory.
3
Magnetic tapes and magnetic drums were used as secondary memory.

Magnetic tapes and magnetic tapes were used as secondary memory.
4
The first generation program used assembly language for programming.
They used high level languages such as FORTAN,COBOL and ALGOL for programming.
5
The size of the computer was too bulky.
They were smaller than the first-generation computer.
6They were slower than the second generation of computer.They were faster than the first generation of computer.
7
Power consumption of these computers was very high.
They consumed less power and produce less amount of heat.
8These computers needed regular maintenance.They were more reliable than the first generation computer
9eg: IBM 701, IBM704, EDVAC etc.eg: IBM1620, IBM 7090, CDC1604 etc.

Difference between the third generation and fourth generation computers:


Third generation computer Fourth generation computer
1
They used ICs(integrated circuits) for CPU components.

They used ULSI(ultra large scale of integration) chips for CPU, memory and other supporting chips.  
2
Magnetic disks and magnetic tapes were used as secondary memories.  

Magnetic disks(such as a hard disk), optical disks(such as CDROM, CDRW, DVD etc. ) are used as secondary memory.  
3
Advanced high level language such as c was developed for computer programming.

Procedure-oriented and object-oriented programming languages were developed.  
4They consume more power then fourth generation computerPower consumption is very less 
5They are less powerful then fourth generation computerThey are more powerful 
6They were comparatively larger computersSize comparatively smaller 
7
The example of third generation computers are: IBM/370 Series, CDC7600, PDP11, STAR-100 etc.

eg: power pc, UltraSpark and all modern pcs.

One thought on “Generations of computer

  1. Freebies

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    Reply

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