1.5 Generation of Computer

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Generation of computer shows or describes different type of computers invented or manufactured using different technologies. Similarly, generation also describes shape, size and capacity of computer changed during different time frame.

1] First Generation (1940-1956): Vaccum Tubes
Characteristics:
- The first generation computers were based on vaccum tubes.
- The first generation computers were very large require a lot of space and consume more electricity.
- Since, they were big, they were not portable.
- They lacked in versatility and speed.
- These machines were unreliable and prone to frequent hardware failure.
- These machines were programmed using machine language which was difficult to use.
Examples:- ENIAC, EDVAC, UNIVAC

2] Second Generation Computer (1956-1963): Transistors
Characteristics:
- These machines were based on transistor technology.
- These machines were smaller as compared to first generation computer.
- These were more portable and generated less amount of heat.
- These computers were programmed using assemble language.
- These computers were more reliable and less prone to hardware failure.
- The computational time of these computers was reduced to microsecond from millisecond.
Example: CDC, PDP

3] Third Generation Computers (1964-1970): Integrated Circuit (IC)
Characteristics
- These computers were based on IC technology.
- These computers were able to reduce computational time from microsecond to nanosecond.
- These computers consumed less power & generated less heat.
- These computers were smaller as compared to previous generation computer.
- The maintenance cost was low as there were less hardware failure.
- High level language were used from this generation.
Example: PDP, IBM 370/168

4] Fourth Generation Computers (1970-till date): Micro-Processor
Characteristics:
- Fourth generation computer are micro-processor based system.
- The size of fourth generation computer are relatively very small comparison to others hence they are easily portable.
- These machines generate negligible amount of heat.
- Hardware failure is negligible so minimum maintenance is required.
- GUI and pointing devices enable users to use and learn quickly.
- Interconnection of computers lead for better communication and resource sharing.
Example:- IBM 360, Macintosh

5] Fifth Generation Computers (Present and Beyond): Bio Chip
Characteristics:
- The fifth generation computer will be based on SLSI (Super Large Scale Integrated) chips.
- Fifth generation computers will be based on artificial intelligence (AI), human gesture and voice commanded.
- They will have large storage capacity and faster processing capacity.
- Parallel processing will be used for multiple access and interconnection work.
- Fifth Generation computers will simulate and reproduce human behavior, including thinking, speaking and reasoning.


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