Generations of computer

First generation of computer( 1940-1956)

Vacuum tube was the main component of the first generation computer. To create a vacuum inside It (the glass tube), its gas is removed. Not only in computers the Vacuum Tube was also used in radios, telephones and other electronic systems. Vacuum Tube was the only electronic component available during those days. It was very bulky in size and produce huge amounts of heat which shortened the life of the tube.

The main features

  • Size : Thousands of vacuum tubes required to build one computer. These computers were very big in size and sometimes it takes the entire room.
  • Heat Production : Produced huge amounts of  heat. To control that heat, cooling system was required continuously . 
  • Storage Device : Magnetic drums .
  • Input Device : punch card was the only  way to input the  data. 
  • Output Device : Printer
  • Storage Capacity : Very small 
  • Price : Very costly.
  • Energy Consumption : Huge
  • Speed : Millisecond.
  • Reliability :Not reliable and continuous maintenance was required.
  • Language used :  machine language.
  • Use : Single purpose.  

Second generation of computer ( 1956 – 1962)

In this generation transistors were  used instead of Vacuum Tube. Transistors were invented in 1947 at Bell Labs in the United States. But around 1956 it started using in computers. It was made with silicon, which is a  semiconductor material. It  is cheaper and smaller than vacuum tube. Transistors have very long life and can operate on lower voltage.

The main features

  • Size :   smaller than the first generation
  • Heat Production : Produced less heat. Still cooling system was required
  • Storage Device : Magnetic tape
  • Input Device : punch card
  • Output Device : Printer 
  • Storage Capacity : Greater than  first generation computer.
  • Price : Cheaper than previous one
  • Energy Consumption : Less than first generation.
  • Speed : Microsecond.
  • Reliability : Reliable than first generation
  • Language used : Machine and assembly languages .
  • Use : More general purpose use.

Third generation of computer(1962-1971)

Third generation of computers used Integrated Circuits (ICs) in place of transistors. An integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. IC is also called as chip. A single IC can work as many transistors, resistors, and capacitors. It was invented in 1960 but introduced in computers in 1962.
In this generation the keyboard is introduced as an input device. Keyboard had a-z alphabet accompanied with 0-9 numbers. General documentation was possible and with that, small DOS based games were available in those computers.

The main features

  • Size : Much smaller and became portable
  • Heat Production :Generate less heat. Less maintenance was required
  • Storage Device :Hard disc and floppy
  • Input Device :Keyboard
  • Output Device : Monitor 
  • Storage Capacity : Increased storage capacity
  • Price : Cheaper than previous generation
  • Energy Consumption : Less than 2nd generation.
  • Speed : Nanoseconds.
  • Reliability : Much reliable than 2nd generation
  • Language used : High level language  was used for programming. Operating system was introduced 
  • Use : Versatyle use.

Fourth generation of computer (1971-2010)

In 4th generation computer ICs were combined to form a single chip. Initially few ICs were combined. This is called Small Scale Integration (SSI). Gradually the number of ICs to be combined increased and we got Large Scale Integration (LSI), Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) and finally Ultra Large Scale Integration (ULSI). Due to Ultra Large Scale Integration (ULSI) in this generation we get Laptop, Notebook, Mobile Phone and many more.

Fourth generation of computer
Fourth Generation of Computer

The main features

  • Size : Reduced and become more portable.
  • Heat Production : Negligible. 
  • Storage Device : HardDisk, CD,DVD, Pen Drive/Flash Drive
  • Input Device :Keyboard, mouse,Scanner, BCR,MICR, Microphone, etc.
  • Output Device : Printer, Speaker, Monitor. 
  • Storage Capacity : Unlimited. 
  • Price : Very cheap.
  • Energy Consumption : Very low.
  • Speed : Picoseconds.
  • Reliability :Highly reliable. Almost no maintenance is required .
  • Language used :  All high level language.
  • Use : Versatyle use.

Fifth generation of computer (2010-Present)

Fifth generation is based on AI(artificial intelligence). Artificial Intelligence means computers think and work like humans. There are so many examples we can find in the modern world for artificial intelligence. The very basic and common example of artificial intelligence is Google search. Driverless car is also an example of artificial intelligence. 

Fifth generation of computer
Fifth Generation of Computer

The main features

  • Size : Very small. Even fit on the palm of your hand.
  • Heat Production: Negligible. No AC is required. 
  • Storage Device : Hard Disk,CD,DVD, Pen Drive/Flash Drive, SSD .
  • Input Device :Keyboard, mouse,Scanner, BCR, MICR, Microphone, etc.
  • Output Device : Printer, Speaker, Monitor. 
  • Storage Capacity : Unlimited. 
  • Price : Very cheap.
  • Energy Consumption : Very low.
  • Speed : Faster than fourth generation
  • Reliability :Highly reliable. Almost no maintenance is required .
  • Language used :  All high level language.
  • Use : Versatile use.


History of Computer

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