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Ever since the man thought of counting, he developed the concept of communications. His
initial approach to accounting and data computations and their recording was with help of
sticks, pebbles or lines on walls of caves.Then he moved towards counting using ten fingers of
his hands, which probably is the basis of present decimal system

The earliest computing device, which was used by Egyptians as early as 450 B.C., is ABACUS. The
Chinese version of ABACUS was a bead on wires counting frame, which is still much is use in
south east asia, China and Japan.

The first desktop calculator machine, which is capable to perform various arithmetic operations,
was developed as early as 1642, which was pioneered by French scientist BLAISE PASCAL (1623-
1662). This calculating machine mainly consisted of gears and wheels for calculations and this
machine could perform only two basic operations i.e. addition and subtraction.

A German mathematician GOTTFRIED LEIBNITZ worked on improving this machine i.e. Pascal's
calculator for performing four basic arithmetic operations (+,-,x,/).

Charles Babbage designed the early computer called difference engine in the year 1822. Which
could produce reliable tables. He improved this machine and came out with a new idea of
Analytical Engine in 1833, which could perform the basic arithmetic functions, which is intended
to be completely automatic. This machine used punch cards as input output devices for basic
input and output. He is called as "FATHER OF COMPUTERS".

In 1920, LEONARDO TORES demonstrated a digital calculating machine in Paris.

The concept of punched cards which was used by BABBAGE as I/O media, was developed further
by HARMAN HOLLERITH in the year 1889. He is the founder of present IBM (International
Business Machine) company.

As the demand for punched cards machine increased, there was inadequacy of these machine
for scientific computations and this demand led to the development of electro mechanical
calculators known as MARK-1, which was the first automatic general purpose digital computer
which was able to do three additions per second, for multiplication it took about four seconds
and about if took Aiken eleven seconds for division. This machine was designed by Prof.
HOWARD AIKEN of Hardward University. This was in 1944.

The first electronic computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator) was
designed in 1946. It has capability to perform about 5,000 calculations per second. This was a
huge computer which occupied about 1,500 sq.ft and weighed about 50 tons.

After ENIAC the next development was an electronic computer which was based on JOHN VON
NEUMANN'S concept of stored program named as EDVAC (Electronic Discreate Variable
Automatic Computer) and this was in 1949.

Almost simultaneously with EDVAC of U.S.A, the EDSAC (Electronic Delay Automatic Calculator)
was developed by British scientists. This machine was capable to do mathematical operations
which are executed in matter of a few micro seconds.

Then came in 1951 the commercial version of stored program computer UNIVAC (Universal
Automatic Computer), which was first digital computer.

The development of computers has followed difference steps in the technology used and these
steps of technological differences are called as generations.


The first generation of computer were those computers which use Vacuum Tubes or Valves
technology. Almost all the early computer like ENIAC, EDVAC, EDSAC etc. were made a reality
only by the invention of vacuum tube, which is a fragile glass device that can control and amplify
electronic signals. In this computer they are using 18,000

vacuum tubes, 70,000 resisters, 10,000 capacitors and 60,000 switches. It took 150 kilo watt
electric power and it produce large amount of heat. They were bulky and required large space.
They had small primitive memories and no auxiliary storage.


With the development of transistors and their use in circuits, magnetic core for memory
storage, the vacuum tubes of first generation are replaced by transistors to arrive at second
generation of computers. The size of transistors is much smaller when compared to vacuum
tubes. They consumed less power generated less heat and are faster and reliable. William B
Shickley, John Burdeen and Walter H Brattain are the scientists develop the transistors. They are
working bell telephone, U.S.A. They got noble prize. The major advantage use of transistors was
that the size of computer has come down as well as the power consumption. Even the cost of
transistors is less in comparison with the cost of vacuum tubes, the cost of computer reduced
drastically, they were more reliable then first generation computers. Fortran, cobol, snowbal,
algol etc. like high level languages are developed in this generation. In this generation they are
using magnetic tapes for storing.


With the development of silicon chips. The third generation of computers came into existence.
These computers used compact integrated circuits (IC's) of silicon chips in place of transistors.
Each of these IC's consisted of large number of chips in very small packages. With these IC's
coming into picture the size of computers, cost, heat generation and power consumption
decreased to a great extent, speed and reliability increased as compared to previous
generations. These machines used IC's with LSI (Large Scale Integration).


The computers belonging to these generation used Integrated Circuits with VLSI (Very Large
Scale Integration). These computers have high processing powers, low maintenance, high
reliability and very low power consumption. These computer reduces the cost as well as the size
of the computer.

These computers use optic fiber technology to handle Artificial Intelligence, expert systems,
robotics etc. These computers have very high processing speeds and are more reliable.

Second Generation (1956-1963) Transistors

Transistors replaced vacuum tubes and ushered in the second generation of computers. The transistor was
invented in 1947 but did not see widespread use in computers until the late 1950s. The transistor was far
superior to the vacuum tube, allowing computers to become smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy-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.
Second-generation computers moved from cryptic binary machine language to symbolic, or assembly,
languages, which allowed programmers to specify instructions in words. High-level programming
languages were also being developed at this time, such as early versions of COBOL and FORTRAN. These
were also the first computers that stored their instructions in their memory, which moved from a magnetic
drum to magnetic core technology.
The first computers of this generation were developed for the atomic energy industry.
Third Generation (1964-1971) Integrated Circuits
The development of the integrated circuit was the hallmark of the third generation of computers. Transistors
were miniaturized and placed on silicon chips, called semiconductors, which drastically increased the speed
and efficiency of computers.
Instead of punched cards and printouts, users interacted with third generation computers
through keyboards and monitorsand interfaced with an operating system, which allowed the device to run
many different applications at one time with a central program that monitored the memory. Computers for
the first time became accessible to a mass audience because they were smaller and cheaper than their
Fourth Generation (1971-Present) Microprocessors
The microprocessor brought the fourth generation of computers, as thousands of integrated circuits were
built onto a single silicon chip. What in the first generation filled an entire room could now fit in the palm of
the hand. The Intel 4004 chip, developed in 1971, located all the components of the computer—from
the central processing unit and memory to input/output controls—on a single chip.
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 handhelddevices.
Fifth Generation (Present and Beyond) Artificial Intelligence
Fifth generation computing devices, based on artificial intelligence, are still in development, 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.
An integrated circuit (IC) is a small electronic device made out of a semiconductor material. The first
integrated circuit was developed in the 1950s by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of
Fairchild Semiconductor.