The evolution of electronic computers over a period of time can be traced effectively dividing this period into various generations. Each generation is characterized by a major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operated. These helped to develop smaller, cheaper, powerful, efficient and reliable devices. Today, life has become indispensable without a computer. You find computerization in almost every sphere and industry. Computer evolution has been a fascinating process as we find out here. The generation of computers may be broadly classified into 5 stages. First Generation (1940 – 1956)
The first generation of computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. These computers were extremely large, taking up entire rooms. They were very expensive to operate due to the great amount of electricity it required. Also, the computers generated a lot of heat, which was often the cause of malfunctions. These computers relied on machine language to perform operations. Machine language is the lowest-level programming language understood by computers and with this program the computers could only solve one problem at a time. An example of a first-generation computer is the UNIVAC. The UNIVAC was the first commercial computer delivered to a business client, the U.S. Census Bureau in 1951. Second Generation (1956-1963)
The second generation of computers used transistors. With transistors replacing vacuum tubes computers became smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy efficient and more reliable. These computers no longer used machine language they progressed to symbolic language. Symbolic language allowed programmers to specify instructions in words. The first computers of this generation were developed for the atomic energy industry. Third Generation (1964 – 1971)
The third generation of computers began with the development of the integrated circuit. An...