Generations of Computer

 Generations of Computer

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Generations of Computer


A generation refers to the state of improvement in the development of system. Each generation of computer is characterised by a major technological development that fundamentally changed the way, computers operate. 

1.Generations :-First(1940-56)

  • Switching Devices :-Vacuum tubes
  • Storage Devices/Speed :-Magnetic drums (milli seconds)
  • Operating Systems/ Programming Languages :-Batch operating system /Machine language (Binary numbers 0’s and 1’s)
  • Characteristics 
  1. Fastest computing device. 
  2.  Generate large amount of heat. 
  3.  Non-portable.
  • Applications:-Used for scientific purpose. e.g. ENIAC, UNIVAC, MARK-1, etc

2.Generations :-Second (1956-63)
  •  Switching Devices :-Transistors (Made up of semiconductors)
  •  Storage Devices/Speed :-Magnetic core technology (micro seconds) 
  • Operating Systems/ Programming Languages :-Time sharing OS, Multitasking OS/ Assembly language, high level language 

  • Characteristics 

  1.  More reliable and less prone to hardware failure. 
  2. Portable and generate less amount of heat. 
  • Applications:- Used for commercial production. e.g. PDP-8, IBM-1401, etc.


3.Generations :-Third(1964-71)
  •  Switching Devices :-Integrated Circuits (ICs) (Made up of silicon)
  •  Storage Devices/Speed :-Magnetic core as primary storage medium (nano seconds)
  • Operating Systems/ Programming Languages :-Real-time system/ High level language (FORTRAN, COBOL, ALGOL)

  • Characteristics 

  1.  Consumed less power. 
  2. Highly sophisticated technology required.
  • Applications:- Database management system e.g. NCR-395, B6500, etc.

4.Generations :-Fourth(1971-Present)
  •  Switching Devices :-Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuit, microprocessor
  •  Storage Devices/Speed :-Semi conductor memory, Winchester disc (pico seconds)
  • Operating Systems/ Programming Languages :-Time sharing /PASCAL, ADA, COBOL-74, FORTRAN IV

  • Characteristics 

  1.  More reliable and portable. 
  2.  This generation leads to better communication and resource sharing
  • Applications:- Electronic fund transfer, Distributed system, e.g. Intel 4004 chip, Macintosh..

5.Generations :-Fifth (Present and Beyond)
  •  Switching Devices :-Super Large Scale Integrated (SLSI) chips
  •  Storage Devices/Speed :-Optical disc
  • Operating Systems/ Programming Languages :-Knowledge Information Processing System

  • Characteristics 

  1.  Parallel processing. 
  2. Intel core microprocessor is implemented. 
  3.  Enables mega chips.
  • Applications:- Artificial intelligence e.g. Robotics.
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