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COMPUTER GENERATIONS FEATURES OF FIRST GENERATION (1940-1956) Vacuum Tubes 1. Use of vacuum tubes 2. Big & Clumsy 3.

High Electricity Consumption 4. Programming in Mechanical Language 5. Larger AC were needed 6. Lot of electricity failure occurred The first generation computers were huge, slow, expensive, and often undependable. They 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 ENIAC used thousands of vacuum tubes, which took up a lot of space and gave off a great deal of heat just like light bulbs do. The ENIAC led to other vacuum tube type computers like the EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) and the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer). The vacuum tube was an extremely important step in the advancement of computers. Vacuum tubes were invented the same time the light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison and worked very similar to light bulbs. It's purpose was to act like an amplifier and a switch. Without any moving parts, vacuum tubes could take very weak signals and make the signal stronger (amplify it). Vacuum tubes could also stop and start the flow of electricity instantly (switch). These two properties made the ENIAC computer possible. FEATURES OF SECOND GENERATION (1956-1963) The Era of the Transistors 1. Transistors were used 2. Core Memory was developed 3. Faster than First Generation computers 4. First Operating System was developed 5. Programming was in Machine Language & Assembly Language 6. Magnetic tapes & discs were used 7. Computers became smaller in size than the First Generation computers 8. Computers consumed less heat & consumed less electricity. 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. The transistor computer did not last as long as the vacuum tube computer lasted, but it was no less important in the advancement of computer technology. In 1947 three scientists, John Bardeen, William Shockley, and Walter Brattain working at AT&T's Bell Labs invented what would replace the vacuum tube forever. This invention was the transistor which functions like a vacuum tube in that it can be used to relay and switch electronic signals. There were obvious differences between the transistor and the vacuum tube. The transistor was faster, more reliable, smaller, and much cheaper to build than a vacuum tube. One transistor replaced the equivalent of 40 vacuum tubes. These transistors were made of solid material, some of which is silicon, an abundant element (second only to oxygen) found in beach sand and glass. Therefore they were very cheap to produce. Transistors were found to conduct electricity faster and better than vacuum tubes. They were also much smaller and gave off virtually no heat compared to vacuum tubes. Their use marked a new beginning for the computer. Without this invention, space travel in the 1960's would not have been possible. However, a new invention would even further advance our ability to use computers. THIRD GENERATION FEATURES (1964-1971) Integrated Circuits 1. Integrated circuits developed 2. Power consumption was low 3. SSI & MSI Technology was used 4. High level languages were used 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 monitors and 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 predecessors. Transistors were a tremendous breakthrough in advancing the computer. However no one could predict that thousands even now millions of transistors (circuits) could be compacted in such a small space. The integrated circuit, or as it is sometimes referred to as semiconductor chip, packs a huge number of

transistors onto a single wafer of silicon. Robert Noyce of Fairchild Corporation and Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments independently discovered the amazing attributes of integrated circuits. Placing such large numbers of transistors on a single chip vastly increased the power of a single computer and lowered its cost considerably. Since the invention of integrated circuits, the number of transistors that can be placed on a single chip has doubled every two years, shrinking both the size and cost of computers even further and further enhancing its power. Most electronic devices today use some form of integrated circuits placed on printed circuit boards-- thin pieces of bakelite or fiberglass that have electrical connections etched onto them -- sometimes called a mother board. These third generation computers could carry out instructions in billionths of a second. The size of these machines dropped to the size of small file cabinets. Yet, the single biggest advancement in the computer era was yet to be discovered. FOURTH GENERATION COMPUTERS (1971-Present) Microprocessors/Integrated Circuits - Miniaturizing the Computer 1. LSI & VLSI Technology used 2. Development of Portable Computers 3. RAID Technology of data storage 4. Used in virtual reality, multimedia, simulation 5. Computers started in use for Data Communication 6. Different types of memories with very high accessing speed & storage capacity 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 computerfrom the central processing unit and memory to input/output controlson 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 handheld devices. This generation can be characterized by both the jump to monolithic integrated circuits(millions of transistors put onto one integrated circuit chip) and the invention of the microprocessor (a single chip that could do all the processing of a full-scale computer). By putting millions of transistors onto one single chip more calculation and faster speeds could be reached by computers. Because electricity travels about a foot in a billionth of a second, the smaller the distance the greater the speed of computers. However what really triggered the tremendous growth of computers and its significant impact on our lives is the invention of the microprocessor. Ted Hoff, employed by Intel (Robert Noyce's new company) invented a chip the size of a pencil eraser that could do all the computing and logic work of a computer.

The microprocessor was made to be used in calculators, not computers. It led, however, to the invention of personal computers, or microcomputers. It wasn't until the 1970's that people began buying computer for personal use. One of the earliest personal computers was the Altair 8800 computer kit. In 1975 you could purchase this kit and put it together to make your own personal computer. In 1977 the Apple II was sold to the public and in 1981 IBM entered the PC (personal computer) market. Today we have all heard of Intel and its Pentium Processors and now we know how it all got started. The computers of the next generation will have millions upon millions of transistors on one chip and will perform over a billion calculations in a single second. There is no end in sight for the computer movement. FIFTH GENERATION COMPUTERS (Present and Beyond) Artificial Intelligence 1. Used in parallel processing 2. Used superconductors 3. Used in speech recognition 4. Used in intelligent robots 5. Used in 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. 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.