Sunday 15 April 2018

What is Generation of Computers?

Generation of Computers

The computer has grown from a large size simple calculating machine to a smaller but more powerful machine. The evolution of computer to the current stage is define in terms of generation of computer, each generation is design based new technology. Cheap & smaller computer and efficient processor, currently there are five generation of computer which are as following.

First Generation (1940-1956) Using Vacuum Tube:

The first generation of computer used Vacuum Tube for circuit and Magnetic Drum for Memory. The input to the computer was through the Punch Card and Paper Tape. The output was displayed as ‘Print out’.

Software Technology:

                The instruction was written in Machine Language. Machine Language uses binary instruction in the form of 0’s and 1’s. the first generation computer can solve one problem at a time.

  Computing Characteristics:

       The computation was in millisecond.

Physical Appearance:

 These computers were very large in size and required a large room for installation.


  They were use for scientific application as they were the fast computing devices for their time.
UNIVersal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC), Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator (ENIAC) and
Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC).
Limitation of Computer:
This generation computer used a large number of Vacuum Tubes thus generate a lot of heat and also consume maximum electricity and also expensive to operate.
They were used machine language which is difficult to understand.

Second Generation (1956-1963) Using Transistor:

1-     Hardware Technology:

Transistor replaced Vacuum Tubes of the first generation computer. Transistor allow computer to become smaller, faster, cheaper, energy efficient and reliable.
This generation computer use magnetic core technology for primary memory and magnetic tapes, magnetic disks for secondary storage.
The input was also through the punch card and the output using print out. They used the concept of store program were instruction work stored of computer.

2-     Software Technology:

The instructions are written in Assembly language. Assembly language used mnemonics or English like ADD for Addition and SUB for Subtraction, for coding of the instruction. This language is easy as compared to machine language.

3-     Computing Characteristics:

The computation time was in micro second. Memory capacity 4000 to 64,000 characters.

4-Physical Appearance:

Transistors are smaller in size thus the size of computer was also reduced.


These are used for scientific and commercial application
Example: IBM 1401, CDC 1604
This Generation of computer generates lot of heat but less than first generation they also required less maintenance.

Third Generation (1964-1971):

Hardware Technology:

This generation computer used integrated Circuits (IC) in one IC chip multiple Transistors are placed on silicon chip. The used of IC increase speed and efficiency of computer.
Instead of Punched Cards and printout, users interacted with third generation computer through keyboard and monitor and interfaced with an operating system which allowed the device to run many different applications at one time.

Software Technology:

Operating system are used which allow different applications run at the same time and high level at language of used.

Computing Characteristics:

The computation time was in Nano second.

Physical Appearance:

The size of these computers was quite small as compared to the second generation computer.


Computer become reachable to the people and also used for commercial application.
E.g: IBM 370, PDP 11
The third generation computer used less power and generated less heat than the second generation computer. The cost of the computer also reduced the maintenance  cost of the computer was also less as compared to first generation, second generation.


Smaller, faster, reliable  and required less power, reduced computing costs, improved software support, and software development methodologies and tools.

Fourth Generation Computer (1972-Present):

Hardware Technology;

This generation use Large Scale Integration (LSI) and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Technology.
Thousands of transistors are integrated in a same silicon chip. Microprocessor is a chip which contents million of transistor and IC components. Personal computers are one of the example of this generation computer.

Software Technology:

Many new operating systems like, MS-DOS, MS-Windows are develop. GUI is also this generation of computers supported Graphical User Interface that allows user to interact with the computer via menus and icons. High Level Programming languages are used for the writing of programs.

Physical Appearance:

They are smaller than the computer of the previous generation some can even fit into the palm of the hand.


They became widely available for commercial purposes. Personal computers became available to the home user.
The Intel 4004 chip was the first microprocessor. The components of the computer like CPU and memory were located on a single chip. In 1981, IBM introduced the first computer for home use. In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh.
The microprocessor has resulted in the fourth generation computers being smaller and cheaper than their predecessors. Computer also portable and reliable they generate much lesser heat require less maintenance GUI and pointing devices facilitate easy use and learning on the computer. Network sharing and communication among different computers.


More powerful & versatile computers, much faster, much smaller, less expensive, minicomputer, and microcomputer came in the market.

Fifth Generation (Present-Next):

The goal of fifth generation computer is to develop computers that are capable of learning and self organization.
The 5th Generation computers use Super Large Scale Integration (SLSI) chips that are scale million of components on a single chip. These computers have large memory requirements.
This Gen computer uses parallel processing that allows several instructions to be executed in parallel, instead of serial execution. Parallel processing result in faster processing speed. The Intel dual core microprocessor uses parallel processing.
The 5th generation are based on AI they try to simulate the human way of thinking and reasoning. Artificial Intelligence includes areas like expert system (ES), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Speech Recognition, Voice Recognition, Robotics etc.

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