Five generations of computers
First Generation Computers (l940 – 1956)
Vacuum tubes were used in the 1st generation computers.
Problems arising from the use of computers Vacuum tubes
Vacuum tube, generated so much heat that they had to be cooled by air conditioner.
Vacuum tubes exhausted fairly often and it absolutely was tough to repair and maintain the computers of initial generation.
Features/characteristics of first generation computers:
The following are the characteristics of fast generation computers
• First generation computer used vacuum tubes.
- Speed was slow and memory was terribly tiny.
- They were large in size taking on entire area.
- initial generation computers were terribly pricey and unreliable.
- They consumed a lot of power and generated a lot of heat.
• Input was based on punched cards.
• Output was obtained on printouts through electric typewriter.
• Machine language was used in these computers.
Examples of first generation computers:
Some examples of first generation Mini/Mainframe computers are ENIAC, UNIVAC I, IBM 604, Mark-I and EDSAC.
Second Generation Computers (1956 – 1963)
In 1947, three scientists, William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invented transistor.
Transistor functions like a vacuum tube it replaced the vacuum tubes in the second generation computers. Transistor was taster, more reliable, smaller and much cheaper than vacuum tube.
Transistor Characteristics/Features of second generation computers
The following square measure the characteristics of second generation computers.
- Transistors were used instead of vacuum tubes.
ii. Transistors reduced the size of computers and increased the speed and memory capacity.
iii. Computers became more reliable and cheaper.
iv. Second generation computers used punch card readers. magnetic tapes. magnetic disks and printers.
v. Assembly language was used in these computers.
vi. High level programming languages, FORTRAN and COBOL were introduced in this generation of computers.
Examples of second generation computers are UNIVAC II, IBM 7030, 7780 and 7090, NCR 300 series, General Electric GE 635 and Control Data Corporation’s CDC 1604 computers.
Third Generation Computers (1963 – 1971)
Integrated Circuits (ICs}, also known as semiconductor chips were used in third generation of computers instead of transistors IC chips were developed in early 1960s.
A single IC chip contains an oversized variety of transistors.
IC chips enlarged the ability and bated the price of computers.
Invention of IC chips was a great breakthrough in advancing computer technology.
Features/ characteristics of third generation computers
The following square measure the characteristics of third generation of computers.
- Third generation computers used IC chips.
• IC chips improved the speed and memory of computers.
• Computers consumed less electricity, ,became smaller, cheaper and more reliable than second generation computers.
- Keyboard and monitor were used with the pc.
- These computers might run totally different application programs at identical time.
Examples of third generation computers
Some examples of third generation computers are Burroughs 6700, IBM System/360, System 3 and Control Data Corporation’s 3300 and 6600 computers.
Fourth Generation Computers (1971- Present)
In this generation of computers LSI (Large Scale Integration) and VLSI (Very Large Scale lntegration) chips having millions of transistors were developed.
Microprocessor was also developed ,n fourth generation of computers. A microprocessor is a single chip that can handle all the pror.essing of a computer. A microprocessor is shown in Fig.
Characteristics/features of fourth generation computers
The following square measure the characteristics of fourth generation of computers.
- Microprocessor was developed which resulted in the development of microcomputers.
ii. Fourth generation computers are very ftist have large storage capacity and use advanced inpuVoutput devices.
iii. Microcomputers are very small in size, very reliable, consume less power and are affordable.
iv. Large variety of software is a11ailable for use in microcomputers.
v. Operating system having Graphical User Interface (GUI) was developed in this generation.
vi. These computers support multimedia software that combines text, image. sound and video.
vii. These computers support modern programming languages such as Visual Basic, C++, Java and Python for developing powerful software.
viii. Fourth generation computers support a large variety of portable and wireless input/output devices.
Examples of microprocessors
Some examples of microprocessors developed in fourth generation of computers are Intel Pentium series, Dual Core, Core2 Duo, Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Athlon.
Examples of fourth generation computers
Some examples of fourth generation computers are IBM Think Pad series, HP Pavilion series, Dell lnspiron series and Apple’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air series.
Fifth Generation Computers
The goal of fifth generation of computers is to develop devices that can understand natural languages and have thinking power. This is a big challenge for computer developers and programmers to design such systems and software for them
Characteristics/features of fifth generation computers
The following are the characteristics of f1f1t1 generation of computers.
i. Fifth generation computes are based on Artificial Intelligence (Al).
ii. In the fifth generation of computers. Artificial Intelligence (Al) ,will minimize the need to write programs.
iii. These computers will allow users to give commands in any natural language such as English.
Examples of fifth generation computers
Examples of fifth generation computers are robots and expert systems. Artificial Intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computer behave like humans.