Computer Generations


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. But nowadays, generation includes both hardware and software, which together make up an entire computer system.

There are totally five computer generations known till date. Each generation has been discussed in detail along with their time period and characteristics. Here approximate dates against each generations have been mentioned which are normally accepted.

Following are the main five generations of computers

S.N. Generation & Description

First Generation

The period of first generation: 1946-1959. Vacuum tube based.


Second Generation

The period of second generation: 1959-1965. Transistor based.


Third Generation

The period of third generation: 1965-1971. Integrated Circuit based.


Fourth Generation

The period of fourth generation: 1971-1980. VLSI microprocessor based.


Fifth Generation

The period of fifth generation: 1980-onwards. ULSI microprocessor based