A computer is an essential device in the present generation. We all have got an opportunity to use computers and still use them daily. The computer can be termed as an electronic device used for handling data or information. Computers have the capacity to store, retrieve and process information. In this article we will know about evolution of various types of Computer Generation with images, each generation’s unique characteristics, and disadvantages too.
Introduction to the Evolution of Computer Generations
The evolution of computers began in the year 1940 when the first generation of computers was invented. After this the experts developed other generations of computers and currently, we are in the fifth generation of computers.
In the technology and electronics field, generation is computer terminology that refers to the change that the computer goes through. Previously, the term generation was used to differentiate between hardware technologies.
Why Were Computers Introduced?
Earlier, people were taking a very long time to do mathematical calculations by hand and record them in books. Charles Babbage, father of computers saw that human errors were becoming more and thought of an automated system that help people in resolving issues. Therefore, in order to calculate mathematical calculations, computers were introduced in the first place.
Benefits of Computers:
The benefits of using computers could involve multitasking. The user can do multiple tasks at a time. They have the tendency to perform billions of tasks in a second which helps users to finish their tasks very efficiently and quickly. However, the data will be stored in the computers without any risk. Also, instead of carrying large paper files, the user can store the required data in the system. The level of productivity gets doubled when using computers.
Everything in this world has its own pros and cons. These days computers are expensive and many people cannot afford them. Since computers are electronic devices they might get attacked with viruses and get hacked too. Computers can also disrupt people as the users spend more time on the web.
Evolution of Computer – Computer Generation
Computer Generation has been divided into five categories–
Each of the five generations of computers and technological advancement has led to the development of many computing devices with speed and power for computing tasks that is used by people today. The journey of computers started in 1940 with the use of vacuum tubes to the present day with the use of artificial intelligence, systems, and devices.
First Generation – Computer Generation
1946-1950 – used vacuum tubes – magnetic tapes and magnetic drums were used for main memory storage units. Approximately 10,000 different vacuum tubes were used to produce computers.
- Used magnetic drums for memory storage.
- Huge in size, slow, very expensive
- Expensive to operate
- Were generating heat, which could lead to malfunction
- Was able to solve one problem at a time.
- Used punch cards as input base.
- Printouts were used as the output base.
- Had limited primary memory.
- Huge power consumption for vacuum tubes to operate.
- AC was required as it was generating more heat.
- Huge occupancy of place.
- They were not portable.
- Constant maintenance was required due to frequent breakdowns.
Examples– ENIAC, UNIVAC1, IBM 701, IBM 650
Second Generation – Evolution of Computer
1950-1960 – used transistor – Magnetic tapes or disks and magnetic cores were used as main memory storage units. The size was small when compared to first-generation computers. Improvement in speed was notified
- They were reliable and faster than first-generation computers.
- Slightly smaller, cheaper, and faster.
- Less generation heat.
- Use of assembly and high-level languages.
- Needed AC
- Depended on punch cards and printouts for inputs and outputs.
- AC was required as transistors were producing more heat.
- Huge in size, they were not portable.
- A lot of space occupation.
- Constant maintenance was required due to frequent breakdowns.
Examples– IBM 1401, IBM 7094, IBM 7090, UNIVAC 1107
Third Generation – Computer Generation
1960-1970 – used integrated circuits – Magnetic disk and large magnetic core were used as a main memory storage unit. BASIC, COBOL, and PASCAL were used as the programming language. Due to its smaller size and efficiency, it was called a mini-computer. There was an improvement in speed, and reliability when compared to the second generation of computers.
- They used integrated circuits.
- Use of parallel processing.
- Smaller in size, faster, and cheaper.
- Use of motherboard.
- The keyboard was used for inputs.
- The output was screened on monitors.
- Operating systems were used; thus, multitasking was allowed.
The experts’ support was needed as Integrated Circuits chip technology was more complex to use.
Examples- IBM 370, IBM 360, UNIVAC 1108
Fourth Generation – Evolution of Computer
- Used mouse as an input device.
- Much smaller in size and fits on desktops, laps, and palms.
- Use of Graphical User Interface (GUI).
- Very fast
- Available at an affordable price.
- Use of networks.
- Use of CPU that contained many transistors.
- For manufacturing Microprocessors, the latest technology is required.
- Advanced technology is needed to fabricate Integrated Circuits.
Examples- STAR 1000, APPLE-II, IBM PC
Fifth Generation – Computer Generation
Present – Future – Artificial Intelligence – This generation of computers understands human language. They are portable and have huge storage capacity. The speed is super-fast. The goal of fifth-generation computers is to develop devices that are capable of learning and self-organization.
- Chips enabled with magnets.
- Use of Optical Fiber Circuits.
- This generation of computers plays a vital role in the development of the internet.
- These computers utilize input and output devices.
- Use of Artificial Intelligence which is present from navigating to browsing.
- Large in storage.
- They are portable, powerful, and faster when compared to other generations.
- Sophisticated and complex tools
- Due to the advancement in technology, they can give more power to companies to track the work being done and even allow them to infect the computer.
Examples- Laptops, Desktops, Smartphones, and Tablets
Computers Using Assembly Languages
The second-generation computers moved from binary language to symbolic or assembly language that allowed the users or programmers to provide instructions in words. At this point in time, high-level languages such as early versions of COBOL, and FORTRAN were being developed. These second-generation computers were the first computers that stored the instruction in their memory that was moved from magnetic drum to magnetic core technology. Also, these generation computers were the first to develop the atomic energy industry sector.
Computers have become an important part of people’s life. A lot of work and evolutions has revealed from the initial computer to the present generation. The generation of computers is categorized into five generations and these generations refer to the history of devices being divided into generations. However, the technology being advanced has helped the user to move from big-sized computers to small compact devices to use and at the same time, the technology from vacuum tubes to the use of artificial intelligence has made a lot of turns around in the present generation.
Also, each Computer Generation is divided by major technological development that changed the way of operating, reliable, powerful, cheaper, efficient, and smaller. New discoveries are constantly being developed that affect the way people, live, work, etc.