Generation of Computer Notes

GENERATION OF COMPUTER

If we see the computer of the past, then we find that they were not in similar shape, size, cost, functionality, technology, hardware and software to the modern digital computers. Computer generation is the classification of computers into different groups according to their manufacturing date, memory device, and other hardware and software technology used inside those computers. Generation of computer is a step in advancing technology. It provides the framework for the growth and development of the more powerful and useful computer system.

When computer generation goes higher i.e. from 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and so on, then we find that processing speed, storage capacity and accuracy are increasing but size, cost, weight, power consumption and heat emission are decreasing gradually which is further clarified in the table below:

S. NoCharacteristicsEffects
1SizeDecreased
2WeightDecreased
3Heat emissionDecreased
4Power consumptionDecreased
5Price of computerDecreased
6Storage and memory capacityIncreased
7Use of user friendly softwareIncreased
8Hardware complexityIncreased
9Processing speedIncreased
10Reliability and accuracyIncreased
Generation of Computer Notes

There are five (5) generation of computer which are as follows:

First Generation Computer

The computers which were made approximately between 1941 and 1955 A.D. are classified as the first generation of computer. All the computers which were made during the first generation had vacuum tubes as their memory and processing devices. Vacuum tube was developed by Lee De Forest in 1908 A.D and used later in computer system.

The first generation computer had the following features:

  • Technology: Vacuum Tube was used as its main components.
  • Processing speed: Processing speed was measured in Millisecond.
  • Input/ output devices: Punch Card was used as input/output devices.
  • Computer Types: computer were electro-mechanical
  • Memory: Vacuum tube was used as memory device.
  • Operation Mode: computer should be setup manually as there was no operating system invented.
  • Reliability and Accuracy: the computers were not fully reliable and accurate
  • Programming Language: Machine Level language was used for computer programming.
  • Size and Cost: the size of computer was very large and its cost was also very expensive.
  • Availability: the computers were only available to the military purpose and university research.
  • Power consumption and Heat Emission: computers consumed a lot of electricity power and emitted a lot of heat.
  • Portability: computers were not portable because of its huge size.
  • Examples: Mark I, ABC, ENIAC etc. are the examples of the first generation of computers.

Second Generation Computer

The computers which were made approximately between 1955 to 1964 and having the transistor and diodes as memory device are classified as the second generation computer. Transistor is derived from two device ‘transfer’ and ‘register’. It is the device which is made of 3 terminal semi-conductor materials that amplifies the electric signal and open or closes the electric circuit. Transistor was invented by three scientists John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain in 1947 A.D. and won the Nobel Prize in 1956 for it.

The main features of second generation computers are as follows:

  1. Technology: Transistor was used as its main components.
  2. Processing Speed: Faster processing speed as it was measured in Microsecond.
  3. Input/Output Devices: Punch Card was used as input/output devices.
  4. Computer Type: Computers were electro-mechanical.
  5. Memory: Magnetic Core (Ferrite) memory was used as internal memory.
  6. Storage Device: Magnetic tape was used as secondary storage device.
  7. Operation Mode: Computers should be set up manually as there was no operating system invented.
  8. Reliability and Accuracy: These were more reliable and accurate than first generation computers.
  9. Programming Language: Assembly and High Level Language such as: FORTRAN, ALGOL, COBOL etc. were used for computer programming.
  10. Size and Cost: The Computers were in smaller in size and less expensive than first generation computer.
  11. Availability: The computers were available for general purpose too.
  12. Power Consumption and Heat Emission: Power consumption and Heat emission was less than first generation computers.
  13. Portable: Computers were not portable.
  14. Examples: IBM1401 (First Computer brought in Nepal on hire for National Census 2028 B.S.), ICL2950/10 (Second computer brought in Nepal from England on 20 lakhs US dollar for National Census 2038), IBM1620 etc.

Third Generation Computer:

The computers which were made approximately between 1964 to 1975 and having ICs technology as memory and processing devices are classified as third generation computer. ICS are the semiconductor device which consists of many interconnected transistor and other components. They are constructed on a silicon chip. The first IC was developed by John Kilby and Robert Noyce in 1958. Later Robert Noyce established Intel Company.

Basic Component of Computer
https://tech4nep.com/basic-component-of-computer/

Some of main features of third generation of computer are as follows:

  1. Technology: IC was used for the electronic circuit in computer.
  2. Processing Speed: Faster than previous generation computer as processing speed was increased into Nanosecond.
  3. Input/Output Devices: Keyboard and Monitor were introduced as input and output devices for the first time respectively.
  4. Computer Type: Computers were electronic.
  5. Memory: Semiconductor memory was used as primary memory.
  6. Storage Device: Magnetic disk was used as secondary storage device.
  7. Operation Mode: operating system was introduced for the automatic and multiprogramming.
  8. Reliability and Accuracy: Computers became fully reliable and accurate.
  9. Programming Language: Further development of High Level Language for computer programming.
  10. Size and Cost: The Computers were smaller in size and less expensive than previous generation computers.
  11. Availability: The computers were available for general purpose as well as for personal purpose.
  12. Power Consumption and Heat Emission: Power consumption and Heat emission was less than previous generation computers.
  13. Portable: Computer became portable for the first time because of the development of Personal or Desktop computer.
  14. Examples: IBM360 Series, UNIVAC 9000, LCL 1900 etc.

Fourth Generation computer

The computers which were made approximately between 1975 to till now and having microprocessor as CPU and VLSI & ULSI technology in IC as memory device are classified as fourth generation computers. Microprocessor is a chip in which millions of components are integrated together in different layers. The first commercial microprocessor was Intel 4004 which was made by Intel Corporation in 1971. It was a 4 bit processor because it could process only 4 bits of data at a time. It is one of the most important generations because many achievements in the hardware and software technology took place during this generation.

The main features are as follows:

  1. Technology: ICs and microprocessors are used as main components with VLSI and ULSI technology.
  2. Processing Speed: Faster than previous generation computer as processing speed was increased into Picoseconds.
  3. Input/Output Devices: Input/Output devices have been further refined and invented various devices such as scanner, touch screen, printer etc.
  4. Computer Type: Computers were electronic.
  5. Memory: Semiconductor memory with huge capacity has been used as primary memory.
  6. Storage Device: Use of magnetic and optical disk with large storage capacity for secondary storage device.
  7. Operation Mode: Multiprogramming, multiprocessing, multimedia and distributed operating system become possible.
  8. Reliability and Accuracy: Computers have become fully reliable and accurate.
  9. Programming Language: Advanced HLL and 4GL for application and database programming have been used.
  10. Size and Cost: The Computers were smaller in size and less expensive than previous generation computers.
  11. Availability: The computers were available for general purpose as well as for special purpose.
  12. Power consumption and Heat Emission: Power consumption and Heat emission has been less than previous generation computers.
  13. Portable: Computers are become portable because of the development of personal or desktop computer, laptop, notebook and PDA.
  14. Examples: Acer ASPIRE 5741, Apple MacBook Air, Dell Inspiron 1440 etc.

Fifth Generation Computer

Although the computer of this generation have not come yet in reality, but computers scientist are trying since 1990 A.D. It is said that the computer of this generation will use AI and bio-chips as memory device so that they can think and decide like a human being. Bio-chips will be made of biological organism and protein fibers obtained from the living organism. So this computer will have power of sense, logic and decision making capacity.

The features will be as follows.

  1. They will be capable of fully parallel processing.
  2. Computers will use super conductor memory like bio-chips so that the speed will be very fast.
  3. The computers will be intelligent and knowledge base because of AI.
  4. Instead of HLL, natural language like English, Nepali, Hindi etc. will be used for giving instruction and making computer program.
  5. They will be large scale data processing on the basis of knowledge processing.
  6. The computers are not available in the market. These are still in development phase or in testing phase or exists somewhere in the world as failed project.

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