Computer Lesson

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Lesson 1: FIVE GENERATIONS OF COMPUTERS

First Generation: VACUUM TUBES
From the late 1930’s until the mid-1950s, most electronic appliances and equipment, including computers, used electronic components called vacuum tubes. A vacuum tube looks like a clear incandescent light bulb that is shaped like a short, inverted test tube. It controls the flow of electrons in a vacuum and was used as a switch, an amplifier, or in a display screen.

The Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) and the Electronics Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) are examples of first-generation computers.

Second Generation: TRANSISTORS
The late 1940s saw the emergence of transistors. A transistor is a semiconductor (a material that is halfway between an insulator and a conductor) that can be used for amplification, switching, voltage stabilization, signal modulation, and other electronic functions. Compared to a vacuum tube, it is smaller, more versatile and reliable, and requires less electricity.

This transition brought forward the second generation of computers, which were not as massive, electricity-hungry, and expensive to operate and maintain as their predecessors.

Third Generation: INTEGRATED CIRCUITS
This new generation drastically reduced the size of transistors and many of them were etched on a silicon chip (a thin slice of semiconducting material), forming an integrated circuit. It is faster and more efficient. It was improved using keyboards and monitors. Operating systems also improved considerably and were able to run several applications at the same time.

Fourth Generation: MICROPROCESSORS
By the early 1970s, it was already possible to cram thousands of integrated circuits into a single silicon chip, called a microprocessor, to hold all the primary components of a computer, from the central processing unit (CPU) and memory to input/output controls. This technological leap ushered in the fourth generation of computers- the microcomputers. Smaller than ever before, microcomputers only take up a reasonable space on a desk, hence the term “desktop computer”.

During the 1980s, International Business Machines (IBM) and Apple Computer Inc. were among the most well-known computer manufacturers, especially in desktop/PC category.

Fifth Generation: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The goal of fifth-generation computing is to develop devices that respond to natural language input and are capable of learning and self-organization- some characteristics of human beings that are based on independent and intelligent thought.

SUMMARY
There are five generations of computers. The first generation used vacuum tubes as the primary electronic component. The second generation used the transistor as the major building block of computer circuitry. The third generation used integrated circuits, which increased speed and efficiency. The fourth generation ushered in the development of the microprocessor, and eventually, the microcomputer. Fifth-generation computing is based on artificial intelligence.

Lesson 2: EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

What are Emerging Technologies?
Emerging technologies refer to significant advances and innovations in various fields of technology. In this lesson we will take a closer look at some emerging technologies in our world today.

TOUCH SCREEN
Touch screen refers to a computer monitor that functions both as a display screen and an input device, replacing the traditional keyboard or keypad.
One of the pioneers of the infusion of touch screen technology in mobile phones is Apple, the company that created the highly successful iPhone.
Listed below are some systems where touch screen is also used: * Automated teller machines (ATMs)
* Cash register, reservation, and order entry systems in restaurants and other businesses * Industrial systems operations
* Computer-based training
* Student registration systems
* Computer gaming
* Electronic public information displays

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