Back to: Jss1 Computer Science – ICT (BST)
Topic: Generation Of Computer
WEEK: 5 & 6
Generation Of Computer
The various stages of computer development are often referred to as the “generations” of computers. When we look back at the history of computers, we see distinct phases of growth and innovation.
The First Generation
The first generation of computers was developed between 1945 and 1955. During this time, attempts were made to design calculators and computers that could be used for general purposes. The first computer that could be programmed for different tasks was the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). Most of these computers used vacuum tubes to read electronic values, and they were very large in size with limited internal storage capacity. They were also relatively slow and consumed a lot of power
Examples First Generation Computers
- EDSAC: The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator was a pioneering computer built in the United Kingdom in 1949. It was one of the first stored-program computers, which meant that both data and instructions were stored in the same memory.
- UNIVAC I & II: The Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) was the first commercially available computer in the United States, introduced in 1951. The UNIVAC II followed shortly after, and both machines were used primarily for scientific and military applications.
- IBM: International Business Machines (IBM) was a major player in the computer industry in the 1950s. They released several important machines during this time, including the IBM 650 in 1953 and the IBM 704 in 1954.
- ENIAC and LEO: The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was one of the first electronic general-purpose computers, built in the United States in 1945. The LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) was a computer built in the United Kingdom in 1951 and was used primarily for business applications, such as accounting and payroll.
These machines were all important early computers that helped pave the way for modern computing. They were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s and were used primarily for scientific, military, and business applications. They represented major advancements in technology at the time and have had a lasting impact on the development of computers and computing.
Feature of First Generation Computers
- They are sluggish and frequently unreliable, often experiencing technical malfunctions.
- They emitted a considerable amount of heat during operation, which could sometimes cause issues with overheating.
- Their internal storage capacity was significantly restricted, with limited space for data and programs.
- They were enormous in size and often took up a significant amount of physical space.
- Programming them was an arduous task, as they were notoriously difficult to program and required extensive technical knowledge to operate.
- To create instructions, users had to code in machine language, which was a complex and time-consuming process.
- These machines were costly to purchase and required a significant amount of power to run, making them an expensive investment.
- They were also quite rare, with only a limited number available, and took up a lot of space, making them a challenging technology to implement in many environments.
- Maintenance was time-consuming and required skilled professionals to keep the machines in working order, adding to the overall expense of operating them.
- They were often prone to mechanical failure, with various components such as vacuum tubes or transistors breaking down frequently.
- Due to their limitations, these machines could only perform basic functions and were unable to handle more complex tasks.
- Their user interfaces were rudimentary and often required significant manual input, making them less user-friendly compared to modern computers.
The Second Generation Of Computers (1956 – 1963)
The second generation of computers emerged as an evolution of the first generation, and it was characterised by the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. The invention of discrete devices and transistors by William Shockley in 1945 marked the beginning of this new era in computing.
The bulky vacuum tubes of the first-generation, transistors were smaller, more affordable, generated less heat, and required less power to operate. These improvements made computing more accessible and efficient, allowing for the creation of faster and more powerful computers.
The second generation of computers introduced more advanced and English-like programming languages such as COBOL, ALGOL, and FORTRAN. These new languages were designed to be more user-friendly, enabling programmers to write code that was easier to read and understand.
The second generation of computers was a significant step forward in computing technology. The use of transistors brought about a range of improvements, including smaller sizes, lower costs, increased efficiency, and improved programming languages. These advancements paved the way for further developments in computing that continue to this day.
The use of transistors in the second generation of computers also allowed for the creation of more complex and sophisticated systems. These computers were able to perform a wider range of tasks, including scientific calculations, data processing, and business operations. As a result, they were adopted by a variety of industries and government agencies, which helped to drive further innovation and development in the field of computing.
During this era, computers became increasingly smaller and more powerful, with the introduction of smaller components, integrated circuits, and magnetic core memory. These advances helped to make computing even more accessible and affordable, enabling more people and organisations to use and benefit from the technology.
The introduction of high-level programming languages in the second generation of computers also played a significant role in making programming more accessible and easier to learn. With these languages, programmers were able to write code in a more natural and intuitive way, reducing the need for low-level, machine-specific languages.
The second generation of computers represented a significant advancement in computing technology, building on the foundations of the first generation and laying the groundwork for further progress in the field.
Examples of Second Generation of Computer
- IBM’s 140L, 162, and 7094 are computer models that were developed by the company. In the realm of computing, IBM brought about the creation of the 140L, 162, and 7094 models which bear their signature.
- ATLAS is a computer system that was developed in the UK during the 1960s. During the 1960s, the United Kingdom was responsible for the creation of the ATLAS computing system.
- UNIVAC, CDC 160, and IBM’s 140L, 162, and 7094 are all examples of computer models that were developed during the early days of computing. In the early days of computing, several models such as UNIVAC, CDC 160, as well as IBM’s 140L, 162, and 7094 came to the for
Features of Second-Generation of Computer
- In comparison to the first generation of computers, they produce less heat. When contrasted with the inaugural generation of computers, they are capable of generating less heat.
- They were faster and more dependable than first-generation computers, and they were less costly to purchase and consumed less energy. They outpaced and were more trustworthy than their predecessors, and they carried a lower price tag when it came to the acquisition, as well as having lower power consumption.
- Their internal storage capacity is limited. Their storage capacity is constrained, with limits to how much data they can store internally.
- Assembly language was used to code instructions. The instructions were coded using assembly language, a type of low-level programming language.
- Second-generation computers were smaller in size compared to first-generation. In terms of physical size, second-generation computers were smaller than their first-generation counterparts.
- They made use of magnetic core memory for data storage, which was a significant improvement over the magnetic drum storage used in first-generation computers. The adoption of magnetic core memory for data storage was a substantial upgrade from the magnetic drum storage used in the first generation of computers.
- Second-generation computers were mainly used in scientific research, military operations, and business applications. The primary areas of application for second-generation computers were scientific research, military operations, and commercial enterprises.
- These computers had a relatively short lifespan and were rapidly replaced by the third generation of computers. The lifespan of second-generation computers was relatively brief, and they were quickly replaced by the third generation of computers.
- Some of the significant computer models of the second generation include IBM 7094, CDC 1604, and UNIVAC 1108. Among the prominent models of second-generation computers were IBM 7094, CDC 1604, and UNIVAC 1108.
- Second-generation computers were also the first to incorporate high-level programming languages, such as FORTRAN and COBOL. The introduction of high-level programming languages, including FORTRAN and COBOL, was one of the notable features of second-generation computers.
- Second-generation computers were less prone to hardware failure compared to first-generation computers, due to advancements in electronic components and manufacturing techniques. Due to the improvements in electronic components and manufacturing methods, second-generation computers were less susceptible to hardware failures than their first-generation counterparts.
- The transistor, which was invented in 1947, was the most crucial technological innovation that paved the way for the development of second-generation computers. The transistor, developed in 1947, was the most significant technological advancement that set the stage for the emergence of second-generation computers.
- The development of second-generation computers played a pivotal role in the evolution of the computer industry and paved the way for further innovations in computing technology. The development of second-generation computers was a crucial milestone in the growth of the computer industry, and it served as a catalyst for further breakthroughs in computing technology.
Third Generation of Computers (1964 – 1971)
This era marked the debut of small and medium Integrated Circuits (ICs), which involved combining multiple transistors and other materials into a single small silicon component. The inventor of this technology was Jack Kirby, and he first introduced it in 1958. The advent of ICs led to faster processing speeds, improved performance, and the production of smaller and more affordable computers that were accessible to the general public.
The development of ICs brought about a significant improvement in computing technology. Prior to their introduction, electronic components such as transistors were bulky and had to be manually soldered together to form larger circuits. However, with the invention of ICs, these components could be miniaturised and combined to create much smaller circuits that were more reliable and efficient.
The advent of ICs also marked a turning point in the evolution of computing technology. With smaller and more affordable computers, individuals and businesses could now access computing power that was previously only available to large corporations and government agencies. The resulting increase in accessibility and affordability paved the way for a wide range of technological advancements, including the development of personal computers, mobile devices, and the internet.
Overall, the introduction of small and medium ICs had a profound impact on the computing industry and paved the way for a new era of innovation and progress in the field of computer science.
Examples of Third Generation of Computers
(1) Honeywell 200 was a computer system developed by the American multinational conglomerate Honeywell. It was introduced in the early 1960s and was one of the first commercially successful computer systems.
(2) UN1VAC1100 was another computer system developed by the American company UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer). It was introduced in the 1970s and was widely used in industries such as banking and insurance.
(3) ICL1900 was a computer system developed by the British company International Computers Limited (ICL) in the 1960s. It was one of the first computers to use integrated circuits and was used in various applications including banking and air traffic control.
(4) IBM 360, 370, etc. were a series of computer systems developed by the American technology company IBM (International Business Machines) in the 1960s and 1970s. They were some of the most popular mainframe computers of their time and were used in a wide range of applications including scientific research and business operations.
Features of Third-Generation of Computer
(1) They are more affordable to purchase and consume less energy. In addition to being cheaper, they are also more energy-efficient.
(2) They produce less heat, making them more suitable for use in warmer environments. The reduction in heat generation is a significant improvement, making these devices better suited for use in spaces where cooling might be an issue.
(3) They have greater speed and reliability than their predecessors. These improvements in performance and dependability have made them highly sought after in various industries.
(4) They are more compact than earlier models. The smaller size of these devices has made them more portable and easier to incorporate into various applications.
(5) They utilize Integrated Circuit technology. The use of Integrated Circuit technology is a significant advancement in the design of these devices, enabling more complex operations and reducing the need for bulky components.
(6) They offer more processing power, enabling them to handle larger and more complex tasks with greater efficiency. The increase in processing power has made them invaluable in various fields such as scientific research, finance, and healthcare.
(7) They are more user-friendly, with improved user interfaces that make them easier to operate. The development of more intuitive user interfaces has made these devices more accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.
(8) They have greater compatibility with modern software and hardware. This has made it easier to integrate them into existing systems, reducing the need for costly upgrades and replacements.
(9) They are more secure, with advanced security features that protect against hacking and other cyber threats. As cyber threats become more prevalent, the increased security offered by these devices has become a vital consideration for businesses and individuals.
(10) They have a longer lifespan, requiring less frequent replacements and reducing e-waste. The increased longevity of these devices has made them a more sustainable option, both environmentally and economically.
The Fourth Generation of Computers (1980-1990)
The fourth generation of computers was developed in the 1980s and 1990s, building on the foundations of the previous generations. One of the most significant advancements of this era was the introduction of microprocessors, which allowed for much more powerful and versatile computers. The fourth generation of computers, which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, made use of Large Scale Integrated Circuits (LSI), and later Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit (VLSI) and ultra-large-scale integrated circuits (ULSI) technologies, which were made possible by the invention of microchips. These technological advancements led to the creation of microprocessors, which facilitated the mass production of minicomputers and micro-computers. As a result, computers became more affordable and were available in smaller sizes.
The development of LSI, VLSI, and ULSI technologies allowed for the creation of smaller, more powerful computers that could store large amounts of data. Additionally, these computers could be linked to one another, making it possible to create networks of computers that could share resources and communicate with one another.
The reduction in the size and price of computers made them more accessible to individuals and businesses, which helped to fuel the growth of the computer industry. As a result, the use of computers became more widespread, leading to a significant increase in productivity and efficiency in various industries.
The advancements in microprocessor technology also paved the way for the development of new applications, such as computer games, multimedia software, and artificial intelligence systems. These technologies have become increasingly important in modern society, with computers playing a crucial role in many aspects of our daily lives.
Features of Fourth-Generation of Computers
- Microprocessors: The use of microprocessors enabled the development of much more powerful and versatile computers, capable of handling more complex tasks and data.
- Personal Computers: The fourth generation saw the introduction of personal computers, which became widely available for home and office use. This revolutionized the way people interacted with computers, making them more accessible and user-friendly.
- Graphical User Interfaces: The introduction of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) made it easier for people to interact with computers, with icons, windows, and menus replacing complex command-line interfaces.
- Networking: The fourth generation of computers saw the development of local area networks (LANs), enabling multiple computers to be connected and share resources.
- Multimedia: Fourth-generation computers were capable of processing multimedia content, including graphics, audio, and video, leading to the development of applications such as video games and multimedia software.
- Portable Computers: The introduction of portable computers, such as laptops, was another significant development of the fourth generation. These devices allowed people to work and use computers on the go.
- Artificial Intelligence: The fourth generation of computers saw advancements in artificial intelligence, with the development of expert systems and other AI applications. These technologies have become increasingly important in various industries, including healthcare and finance.
Other Features include
- One of the benefits of modern computers is that they generate less heat compared to earlier models. This is due to the development of new technologies and more efficient design, which has resulted in computers that are less prone to overheating.
- Computers today are known for their high speed and reliability. They are designed to perform complex tasks quickly and efficiently, thanks to advancements in hardware and software development.
- Microchip technology has revolutionised the computer industry, with modern computers relying on this technology to function. Microchips are small, integrated circuits that enable computers to process data and perform calculations at lightning-fast speeds.
- The size of computers has decreased significantly over the years, with modern computers coming in a variety of sizes to suit different needs. From ultra-portable laptops to powerful desktops, there is a computer for every user.
- Modern computers use high-level programming languages to code instructions. These languages are designed to be easy to understand and write, making it possible for developers to create complex applications and software.
- Another advantage of modern computers is that they are less expensive to buy compared to earlier generations. This is partly due to advancements in manufacturing and the mass production of computer components. As a result, computers have become more accessible to individuals and businesses alike, leading to a significant increase in computer usage and productivity.
- With the rise of cloud computing, modern computers can store vast amounts of data remotely, making it easier to access files and applications from anywhere in the world. This has opened up new possibilities for collaboration and remote work.
- Modern computers are designed with user experience in mind, with intuitive interfaces and user-friendly software that make them easy to use. This has enabled individuals with little technical expertise to use computers for various purposes, from browsing the internet to creating and editing documents.
- Graphics processing units (GPUs) have become a crucial part of modern computers, enabling them to handle graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering. GPUs are designed to process large amounts of data quickly, making them essential for these types of applications.
- Modern computers are also equipped with various connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB ports, which make it easy to connect to other devices and networks. This has enabled seamless communication and data transfer between different devices.
- Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have revolutionised the capabilities of modern computers. These technologies have enabled computers to perform complex tasks such as image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and predictive modelling.
- Finally, modern computers are built to be energy-efficient, with features such as power-saving modes and smart power management. This not only reduces energy consumption but also helps to reduce the environmental impact of computing.
Examples Fourth Generation of Computers
The following list comprises various computer processors that have been developed and widely used over the years:
- Pentium I, II, III, IV, M: These are a series of computer processors that were developed by Intel Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of computer processors. The Pentium series processors were known for their high performance and were widely used in personal computers.
- IBM 5100PC: This was one of the earliest personal computers developed by IBM in the 1970s. It was a portable computer that was used for scientific and engineering applications.
- Intel 8080, 80286, 80486: These were a series of microprocessors that were developed by Intel Corporation. The Intel 8080 was one of the first widely used microprocessors, while the 80286 and 80486 processors were known for their high performance and power efficiency.
- Celeron, etc.: These are a series of computer processors that were developed by Intel Corporation. They were designed for entry-level computers and offered a cost-effective alternative to more expensive processors.
The development of these computer processors has played a vital role in the evolution of computers and has facilitated the creation of more powerful and versatile devices. With each new generation of processors, computers have become faster, more efficient, and capable of handling more complex tasks. These advancements have had a significant impact on various industries, from finance and healthcare to scientific research and entertainment.
The Fifth Generation Computer
In the lead-up to the turn of the millennium, the pace of computer development accelerated dramatically, with a focus on shrinking their size and increasing their capabilities. This drive has led to computers that are now capable of operating at extremely high speeds, taking on a variety of shapes and forms, and performing a multitude of tasks. What’s more, these machines now possess what is known as “artificial intelligence” (AI), enabling them to learn, communicate verbally, express emotions, reason like human beings, and even make decisions.
Given the remarkable progress that has been made in computer technology, experts now believe that we have entered the fifth generation of these devices. In this era, computers are not only smaller and more powerful than ever before, but they are also endowed with an unprecedented level of sophistication that allows them to simulate human-like thinking and behaviour. As such, the future looks incredibly bright for the world of computing, and the possibilities for what these machines will be able to accomplish in the coming years are virtually endless.
Examples The Fifth Generation Computer
- Virtual Reality: The concept of virtual reality has gained significant attention in recent years, allowing users to immerse themselves in a digitally created environment. By donning a headset, individuals can experience a three-dimensional world that responds to their movements and actions, creating an incredibly realistic and engaging experience.
- VVABOT-2: VVABOT-2 is a cutting-edge robot that has been developed to carry out a variety of tasks. Equipped with advanced sensors and software, this robot is able to navigate through complex environments and respond to its surroundings. VVABOT-2 can be programmed to undertake tasks such as inspection, search and rescue, and surveillance, making it a highly versatile machine.
- PUMA: PUMA (Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly) is a type of industrial robot that is used for manufacturing purposes. With a high level of precision and accuracy, PUMA can assemble complex components quickly and efficiently, improving the productivity of the manufacturing process.
- HELPMATE: HELPAMTE is a robot that has been developed to assist individuals with disabilities, making it easier for them to carry out daily tasks. By using advanced sensors and artificial intelligence, HELPAMTE can understand and respond to voice commands, helping users to perform tasks such as getting dressed or preparing a meal, promoting greater independence and improving their quality of life.
Features of fifth-generation computers
- Visual Capabilities: Computing devices today are equipped with highly advanced visual capabilities that allow them to produce incredibly detailed and realistic images. These capabilities have revolutionised fields such as gaming, virtual reality, and graphic design.
- High-Speed Operations: Computers now operate at incredibly high speeds, allowing them to carry out complex calculations and processes in a matter of seconds. This has greatly enhanced their overall efficiency and productivity, making them invaluable tools for a wide range of applications.
- Human-Like Thought Simulation: The development of artificial intelligence has enabled computers to simulate human thought and behaviour to an unprecedented degree. This has led to the creation of machines that can understand and respond to natural language, recognise images, and even learn from their experiences.
- Artificial Intelligence: Computers are now equipped with artificial intelligence, enabling them to perform tasks that were once thought to be the exclusive domain of human beings. These machines can learn, reason, and make decisions based on their programming and the data they receive, making them highly adaptable and versatile.
- Decision-Making Abilities: With advanced programming and artificial intelligence, computers are now capable of making decisions based on the data and information they receive. This has made them highly valuable tools for fields such as finance, healthcare, and logistics, where rapid and accurate decision-making is essential for success.
- Multitasking Capabilities: Computers are capable of performing multiple tasks simultaneously, thanks to their advanced processing power and efficient software. This has made them invaluable tools for businesses and individuals, allowing them to get more done in less time.
- Natural Language Processing: With advancements in natural language processing technology, computers can now understand and respond to spoken and written language much as human beings do. This has opened up new possibilities for applications such as virtual assistants, chatbots, and customer service.
- Cloud Computing: The rise of cloud computing has revolutionised the way we store and access data. Rather than being limited by the physical constraints of our devices, we can now access vast amounts of information and computational power from anywhere in the world, allowing for greater collaboration and innovation.
- Robotics: The field of robotics has seen tremendous progress in recent years, with machines that can perform a wide range of tasks, from manufacturing and assembly to space exploration and medical procedures. These machines are capable of performing tasks that are too dangerous, difficult, or precise for human beings.
- Machine Learning: With the development of machine learning algorithms, computers are now capable of learning and improving on their own, without being explicitly programmed to do so. This has led to the creation of intelligent machines that can adapt to changing circumstances and make decisions based on their experiences.