History of Computers

History of Computers

The history of computing devices started way before Charles Babbage invented the first mechanical computer in 1833. In the primitive period, people used counting devices to perform calculations. The invention of the abacus gave birth to the history of computers. With the improvement in technology and the human mind, many computing devices were developed in the period between 1623 to 1940s that range from mechanical computing devices followed by the invention of analog and digital computing frameworks. Due to various shortcomings of analog and mechanical computing devices, digital computing architectures has revolutionized the computing world.

The development of digital computing has been categorized into various generations with improved computational power. Following is the list of brief information about different generations of digital computing:

  1. First Generation (1943-1956):

The first generation of computers used vacuum tubes as the basic building blocks for making electronic switches for CPUcircuitry and magnetic drums for storing data in memory. These computers used machine language to perform operations and were capable to solve only one computing problem at a time. Due to the enormous size of the components and high utilization of electricity, these computers were expensive. This generation computer primarily used batch processing operating system. Magnetic tape, paper tapes and punch cards were used as input and output devices in this generation.

The popular computers of this generation are:

  • EDVAC
  • ENIAC
  • UNIVAC
  • IBM-650
  • IBM-701
  • Second Generation (1956-1963):

The era of the second generation computers witnessed major development in the design of the computer system. The replacement of vacuum tubes from transistors helped in increasing the speed of the computer. The transistors used in the computers of this generation were compact, cheaper and consumed less power, which made them more reliable than the computers of the first generation. These computers used assembly language and high-level programming languages such as FORTRAN AND COBOLfor specifying commands. In this generation, these computers used multiprogramming and batch processing operating system.

The popular computers of this generation are:

  • UNIVAC 1108
  • IBM 1620
  • IBM 7094
  • CDC 1604
  • CDC 3600
  • Third Generation (1964 – 1971):

The third generation of computers used integrated circuits that elevated the computing power to the next level. The transistors, resistors and capacitors were miniaturized and compacted in these semiconductor ICs that drastically enhances the efficiency and speed of the computers. This made these computers more reliable, cheaper and smaller in size. Multiprogramming, remote processing and time-sharing operating systems were used in these computers. Moreover, high-level programming languages such as COBOL, FORTRON-II TO IV, ALGOL-68 and PASCAL PL/1 were used to specify commands.

The popular computers of this generation are:

  • IBM-360 series
  • IBM-370/168
  • Honeywell-6000 series
  • PDP(Personal Data Processor)
  • TDC-316
  • Fourth Generation (1971 – 1984):

The computer developed in the period of fourth-generation used VLSI aka Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits which has a capacity of compacting up to 5000 transistors and various circuit elements like capacitors, resistors and many more on a single chip that gave birth to microprocessors. The computers of fourth-generation were more reliable, powerful, compact and affordable. Time-sharing, distributed and real-time network operating systems were used in this generation. High-level programming languages such as C, C++  and DBASE were used in these computers to perform operations.

The popular computers of this generation are:

  • DEC 10
  • PDP 11
  • STAR 1000
  • CRAY-1 (Super Computer)
  • CRAY-X-MP (Super Computer)
  • Fifth Generation (1984 – till date):

The fifth-generation computers are the result of Ultra Large Scale Integrated (ULSI) Circuits that produce microprocessor chips with a capacity of compacting 10 million electronic components. The computers of this generation are based on Artificial Intelligence or AI software and parallel processing framework. Every high-level programming language such as C, C++, .Net, Java, etc., is easily used in the computers of this generation.

The popular computers of this generation are:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Chrome book
  • Notebook
  • Ultrabook

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