First generation of computers started with using vacuum tubes as the basic components for memory and circuitry for CPU (Central Processing Unit). These tubes like electric bulbs produced a lot of heat and were prone to frequent fusing of the installations, therefore, were very expensive and could be afforded only by very large organisations.
In this generation, mainly batch processing operating systems were used. In this generation, Punched cards, Paper tape, Magnetic tape Input & Output device were used. There were machine codes and electric wired board languages used.The main features of First Generation are:
The period of second generation was 1959-1965. This generation using the transistor were cheaper, consumed less power, more compact in size, more reliable and faster than the first generation machines made of vacuum tubes. In this generation, magnetic cores were used as primary memory and magnetic tape and magnetic disks as secondary storage devices.
In this generation, assembly language and high-level programming language like FORTRAN, COBOL were used. There were Batch processing and Multiprogramming Operating system used.
The main features of Second Generation are:
The period of third generation was 1965-1971. The third generation of computer is marked by the use of Integrated Circuits (IC's) in place of transistors. A single IC has many transistors, resistors and capacitors along with the associated circuitry. The IC was invented by Jack Kilby. This development made computers smaller in size, reliable and efficient.
In this generation, Remote processing, Time-sharing, Real-time, Multi-programming Operating System were used. High-level language (FORTRAN-II TO IV, COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, BASIC, ALGOL-68, etc.) were used during this generation.The main features of Third Generation are:
The period of Fourth Generation was 1971-1980. The fourth generation of computers is marked by the use of Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits. VLSI circuits having about 5000 transistors and other circuit elements and their associated circuits on a single chip made it possible to have microcomputers of fourth generation. Fourth Generation computers became more powerful, compact, reliable, and affordable. As a result, it gave rise to personal computer (PC) revolution.
In this generation, Time sharing, Real time, Networks, Distributed Operating System were used. All the higher level languages like C and C++, DBASE, etc., were used in this generation.The main features of Fourth Generation are:
The period of Fifth Generation is 1980-till date. In the fifth generation, the VLSI technology became ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology, resulting in the production of microprocessor chips having ten million electronic components.
This generation is based on parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software. AI is an emerging branch in computer science which interprets means and methods of making computers think like human beings. All the higher level languages like C and C++, Java, .Net, etc., are used in this generation.Artificial Intelligence includes :
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