Computer - Generations

The development of computers has gone through different generations, each generation marked by significant advancements in terms of technology and architecture. These generations are classified as follows:

  • First generation
  • Second generation
  • Third generation
  • Fourth generation
  • Fifth generation

First Generation

  • The timeline for the first generation computers was 1940 to 1956.

  • The first generation computers were developed using vacuum tube or thermionic valve machine.

  • Punched cards and paper tape were used as input/output.

  • Magnetic drums and magnetic tapes were used as a memory device to save the data.

First Gen
  • These computers were consuming lot of electricity because of vacuum tubes and other electronic devices and generate lot of heat.

  • These were bigger in size and more expensive.

  • These computers were worked on binary-coded concept (i.e., language of 0-1).

  • Examples − ENIAC, EDVAC, etc.

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Second Generation

  • The timeline for the second generation computers was 1956 to 1963.

  • Transistors were used to develop.

Second Gen
  • In comparison to the first generation, second generation computers were small in size.

  • Punched cards and magnetic tape were used for input /output.

  • Electricity consumption was low and produces less heat.

  • Magnetic core memory was used.

  • Fast computing and were used in business, scientific research, and government applications.

  • Examples − UNIVAC, IBM 1401, IBM 7090.

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Third Generation

  • The timeline for the third generation computers was 1963 to 1971.

  • Integrated Circuit (IC) was used to develop.

  • In comparison to the second generation, third generation computers were small in size.

  • Magnetic tape, keyboard, monitor, printer devices were used as input and output.

Third Gen
  • Computation power was higher as compare to second generation computers.

  • The third generation computer consumed less power and also generated less heat.

  • The maintenance cost of the computers in the third generation was also low as these were consuming less power and generated less heat.

  • These were most widely used in commercial purposes.

  • Examples − UNIVAC, IBM 360, IBM 370.

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Fourth Generation

  • The timeline for the fourth generation computers was 1972 to 2010.

  • Microprocessor technology was used to develop.

  • These were surprising in terms of size and computing power.

Fourth Gen
  • Portable computers.

  • Very less power consuming and affordable.

  • Semiconductor memory such as RAM, ROM were used which makes computation faster.

  • Keyboard, pointing devices, optical scanning, monitor, printer devices were used for input and output.

  • It became available for the common people as well.

  • Examples − IBM PC, STAR 1000, Apple.

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Fifth Generation

  • The timeline for the fifth generation computers is form 2010 to till date.

  • These computers are based on artificial intelligence, Ultra Large-Scale Integration (ULSI), Quantum computation, Nanotechnology, Parallel processing technology.

Fifth Gen
  • Very fast and multiple tasks could be performed simultaneously.

  • These are smaller in size as compare to fourth generation computers.

  • Consumes very low power.

  • Keyboard, monitor, mouse, touchscreen, scanner, printer are used as an input output devices.

  • Examples − Laptops, tablets, smartphones are most popular examples of fifth generation computers.

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