The Five Generations of Computers
The Five Generations of Computers
|The history of computer development is often referred to in reference to the different generations of computing devices. Each generation of computer is characterized by a major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operate, resulting in increasingly smaller, cheaper, more powerful, more efficient and reliable devices.
First Generation (1940-1956) Vacuum Tubes
The first computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory, and were often enormous, taking up entire rooms. They were very expensive to operate and in addition to using a great deal of electricity, generated a lot of heat, which was often the cause of malfunctions.
First generation computers relied on machine language, the lowest-level programming language understood by computers, to perform operations, and they could only solve one problem at a time. Input was based on punched cards and paper tape, and output was displayed on printouts.
The UNIVAC and ENIAC computers are examples of first-generation computing devices. The UNIVAC was the first commercial computer delivered to a business client, the U.S. Census Bureau in 1951.
Constant maintenance was required
Second Generation (1956-1963) Transistors
efficient and more reliable than their first-generation predecessors. Though the transistor still generated a great deal of heat that subjected the computer to damage, it was a vast improvement over the vacuum tube. Second-generation computers still relied on punched cards for input and printouts for output.
Third Generation (1964-1971) Integrated Circuits
Highly sophisticated technology required for the manufacturing of IC chips.
In 1981 IBM introduced its first computer for the home user, and in 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh. Microprocessors also moved out of the realm of desktop computers and into many areas of life as more and more everyday products began to use microprocessors.
As these small computers became more powerful, they could be linked together to form networks, which eventually led to the development of the Internet. Fourth generation computers also saw the development of GUIs, the mouse and handheld devices.
Though there are some applications, such as voice recognition, that are being used today. The use of parallel processing and superconductors is helping to make artificial intelligence a reality. Quantum computation and molecular and nanotechnology will radically change the face of computers in years to come. The goal of fifth-generation computing is to develop devices that respond to natural language input and are capable of learning and self-organization.
Scientists are working hard on the 5th generation computers with quite a few breakthroughs. It is based on the technique of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Computers can understand spoken words & imitate human reasoning. Can respond to its surround dings using different types of sensors. Scientists are constantly working to increase the processing power of computers. They are trying to create a computer with real IQ with the help of advanced programming and technologies. IBM Watson computers one example that outsmarts Harvard University Students. The advancement in modern technologies will revolutionize the computer in future.