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Computer Concepts - History of Computers
The history of the computer dates back to several years. There are five prominent generations of computers. Each generation has witnessed several technological advances which change the functionality of the computers. This results in more compact, powerful, robust systems which are less expensive. The brief history of computers is discussed below −
First Generation (1940-1956)
The first generation computers had the following features and components −
The hardware used in the first generation of computers was: Vacuum Tubes and Punch Cards.
Following are the features of first generation computers −
It supported machine language.
It had slow performance
It occupied large size due to the use of vacuum tubes.
It had a poor storage capacity.
It consumed a lot of electricity and generated a lot of heat.
The memory was of 4000 bits.
The input was only provided through hard-wired programs in the computer, mostly through punched cards and paper tapes.
The examples of first generation computers are −
- UNIVACTBM 701
Second Generation (1956-1963)
Several advancements in the first-gen computers led to the development of second generation computers. Following are various changes in features and components of second generation computers −
The hardware used in the second generation of computers were −
- Magnetic Tapes
It had features like −
Batch operating system
Faster and smaller in size
Reliable and energy efficient than the previous generation
Less costly than the previous generation
The capacity of the memory was 32,000 bits.
The input was provided through punched cards.
The examples of second generation computers are −
- Honeywell 400
- CDC 1604
- IBM 7030
Third Generation (1964-1971)
Following are the various components and features of the third generation computers −
The hardware used in the third generation of computers were −
Integrated Circuits made from semi-conductor materials
Large capacity disks and magnetic tapes
The features of the third generation computers are −
Supports time-sharing OS
Faster, smaller, more reliable and cheaper than the previous generations
Easy to access
The capacity of the memory was 128,000 bits.
The input was provided through keyboards and monitors.
The examples of third generation computers are −
- IBM 360/370
- CDC 6600
- PDP 8/11
Fourth Generation (1972-2010)
Fourth generation computers have the following components and features −
The Hardware used in the fourth generation of computers were −
- ICs with Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) technology
- Semiconductor memory
- Magnetic tapes and Floppy
It supports features like −
- Multiprocessing & distributed OS
- Object-oriented high level programs supported
- Small & easy to use; hand-held computers have evolved
- No external cooling required & affordable
- This generation saw the development of networks and the internet
- It saw the development of new trends in GUIs and mouse
The capacity of the memory was 100 million bits.
The input was provided through improved hand held devices, keyboard and mouse.
The examples of fourth generation computers are −
- Apple II
- VAX 9000
- CRAY 1 (super computers)
Fifth Generation (2010-Present)
These are the modern and advanced computers. Significant changes in the components and operations have made fifth generation computers handy and more reliable than the previous generations.
The Hardware used in the fifth generation of computers are −
Integrated Circuits with VLSI and Nano technology
Large capacity hard disk with RAID support
Powerful servers, Internet, Cluster computing
It supports features like −
Powerful, cheap, reliable and easy to use.
Portable and faster due to use of parallel processors and Super Large Scale Integrated Circuits.
Rapid software development is possible.
The capacity of the memory is unlimited.
The input is provided through CDROM, Optical Disk and other touch and voice sensitive input devices.
The examples of fifth generation computers are −
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