Generations in Computer

The development of computer systems is normally discussed as the different generations. With the succession of different generations, came the advancement in computer technology.

Development in Computer Technology over the different generations are discussed below.

 First Generation (1940-1956) - 

  1. The first generation computers were slow, the size was very big and very expensive. 
  2. These computers were developed by using vacuum tubes as the basic components of CPU and memory. 
  3. These computers were mainly depended on batch operating system and punch cards. 
  4. Magnetic tape and paper tape were used as output and input devices in this generation.

Some of the popular Computers developed in first generation.

  • ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
  • EDVAC ( Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer)
  • UNIVAC( Universal Automatic Computer)
  • IBM-701
  • IBM-650

Second generation (1956-1963) - 

  1. The second generation computers were developed by using transistor technology. 
  2. In comparison to the first generation, the size of second generation computers were smaller and fast.
  3. The language evolved from cryptic binary language to symbolic (‘assembly’) languages.
  4.  This meant programmers could create instructions in words. 
  5.  About the same time high level programming languages were being developed (early versions of COBOL and FORTRAN).

Some of the popular Computers developed in first generation.

  • Honeywell 400
  • IBM 7094
  • CDC 1604
  • CDC 3600
  • UNIVAC 1108. etc.

3. Third generation(1963-1973) - 

  1. The third generation computers were developed by using the Integrated Circuit (IC) technology. 
  2. IC was invented by Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby. 
  3. IC was a single component containing number of transistors.
  4. The size of the computers of third generation was smaller.
  5. The computing time taken by the computers of the third generation was lesser and consumed less power.
  6. This generation computers were generated less heat.
  7. The maintenance cost was also low and easier for commercial use.

Some of the popular Computers developed in first generation.

  • PDP-8
  • PDP-11
  • ICL 2900
  • IBM 360
  • IBM 370 etc.


Fourth generation(1973- 1986) - 

  1. The fourth generation computers were developed by using microprocessor technology. 
  2. Microprocessor is silicone coated chip used with integrated circuit.
  3. Graphics User Interface (GUI) technology was used and exploited to offer more comfort to users.
  4. All types of high-level language can be used in this type of computers.
  5. In this generation computer became very small in size, and became portable. 
  6. The machine of fourth generation started generating very low amount of heat. 
  7. It is much faster and accuracy became more reliable than previous generation computers. 
  8. The production cost reduced to very low in comparison to the previous generation. 
  9. It became available for the common people as well.

Some of the popular Computers developed in first generation.

  • IBM 4341
  • DEC 10
  • STAR 1000
  • PUP 11 etc.

5. Fifth generation(1986 - Till Now) - 

  1. The computers of the fifth generation had high capability and High technology and large memory capacity. 
  2. Working with computers of this generation was fast and multiple tasks could be performed simultaneously.
  3. Some of the popular advanced technologies of the fifth generation include Artificial intelligence, Quantum computation, Nanotechnology, Parallel processing.
  4. The aim of the fifth generation is to make a device which could respond to natural language input and are capable of learning and self-organization.
  5. This generation is based on ULSI(Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology resulting in the production of microprocessor chips having ten million electronic component.

Some of the popular Computers developed in first generation.

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Note-Book
  • Ultra-Book
  • Chrome-book etc.

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