There are 5 Generations of Computer Recorded in History. Computer Generation can be divided into five generations, namely First Generation (1940-1959), Second Generation (1959-1964), Third Generation (1964-1971), Fourth Generation (1971-Present), and Fifth Generation (Now and Later).

Computers come from the word “compute” which means to count in other words the computer means a calculator. The computer was first invented by Charles Babbage, a very special mathematical logic intelligence made him able to create a machine which he called the Analytical Engine in 1882, a machine that functions as a tool for general calculations.

The development of computers from time to time is always increasing. Initially, computers were created only to make it easier to calculate or more easily as a mathematical tool. However, as the development of the computer age increasingly evolved into a multipurpose machine, especially in the fields of industry and research. The following is the history of the first generation of computers to the fifth generation.

First Generation of Computer (1940-1959)

1st Generation of Computer
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Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) is the first generation of electronic digital computers that are used for general needs. The ENIAC proposal program was drafted in 1942, and began to be made in 1943 by Dr. John W. Mauchly and John Presper Eckert at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering (University of Pennsylvania) and only completed in 1946. ENIAC is very large, requiring 500m2 for placement. ENIAC uses 18,000 vacuum tubes, 75,000 relays and switches, 10,000 capacitors, and 70,000 resistors. When operated, ENIAC requires an electrical power of 140 kilowatts, weighing more than 30 tons, and occupies a room of 167 m2.

Characteristics of computers in the first generation

  • The electronic component of a Vacuum Tube (Vacuum Tube)
  • Programs are created in machine language, which programs are stored in computer memory. The program still uses machine language using codes 0 and 1 in a certain order.

It is properties:

  • It is large and requires a very wide space
  • Requires a lot of cooling (AC) because a lot of heat
  • The process is relatively slow
  • Capacity to store small data.

Second Generation of Computer (1959-1964)

2nd Generation of Computer
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In 1948 three physicists: Walter Houser Brattain, John Barden, and William Brandford invented a transistor that replaced a vacuum tube. The use of transistors makes the size of an electric engine smaller. In 1956 computers began using transistors as processors, beginning the development of second-generation computers (also read: danger of computer viruses).

In addition to the transistor, another invention that influenced the development of second-generation computers was magnetic core memory. These inventions besides making the second generation computer smaller, also become faster, and more energy-efficient than the first generation computer. Second-generation computers have also used Assembly Language which uses abbreviations, to replace binary code; the code used in machine language.

The first machine that utilizes this technology is a supercomputer, the supercomputer called Stretch created by IBM and the LARC supercomputer created by Sperry-Rand. LARC was developed for atomic research, so it can manage large data. However, these computer machines become very expensive and tend to be too complex for business size, so it is not popular. Only two LARCs have been installed and used, namely in California (Lawrence Radiation Labs) and Washington D.C. (US Navy Research and Development Center).

Successful second-generation computers in the new business field began to appear in the early 1960s. Besides fully using transistors that make it smaller, this generation of computers also has external components such as printers, diskette storage, and other components such as operating systems, and programs that can be associated with the current generation of computers.

The second-generation computer programming language that uses high-level languages, makes programming and computer settings easier. Plus the program stored in the second generation computer itself gives computer flexibility. So that the performance of second-generation computers can be increased at reasonable prices.

Second-generation computers can be used to print purchase invoices, run product designs, calculate payroll, et al. So it is not strange if almost all large business companies in 1965, used computers to process financial information. The important computer at this time was IBM 1401.

Examples of Second Generation

Quite a lot of the computer industry has emerged since the development of the first generation of computers. These companies also took part in the development of second-generation computers. Some examples of second-generation computers that are quite popular include:

  • PDP: PDP is the name of the computer produced by DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) which was founded by Ken Olsen, Stan Olsen, and Harlan Anderson. PDP-1 was demonstrated in 1959. Four years later, in 1963 the DEC company began selling PDP-5 and then followed by PDP-8 in 1964. PDP-8, which was a mini-computer, was useful for processing this data and was quite successful in the market.
  • IBM 1401, which was introduced to the public in 1965, is the second generation of computers that are most widely used by industry. In addition to IBM 1401, other IBM production computers such as the IBM 700, 7070, 7080, 1400, and 1600 are also second-generation computers.
  • UNIVAC III: Universal Automatic Computer III is the result of the development and improvement of UNIVAC I and II. In addition to replacing vacuum tube components into transistors, Univac III is also designed to be compatible with a variety of data formats. But this has an effect on the word size and the set of instructions that are different, so all programs must be rewritten. Making UNIVAC upgrading difficult. As a result, instead of increasing UNIVAC, many customers prefer to change vendors. Besides UNIVAC III, UNIVACSS80, SS90, and 1107 are also second-generation computers.
  • Honeywell 400
  • ILLIAC-11
  • Burroughs 200; et al.

Characteristics of Second Generation Computers

As mentioned above, the difference between second-generation computers and first-generation computers is the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. For more details and complete, here are some characteristics of second-generation computers that distinguish them from other computer generations:

  • Using circuit technology using transistors instead of vacuum tubes. This replacement makes the size of the electric engine smaller.
  • The physical size of the second generation computer is smaller than the first generation computer.
  • For programming, second-generation computers have been able to use high-level languages such as FORTRAN (Formula Translator) and COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) to replace complex and difficult-to-understand machine languages.
  • Adopt the development of magnetic core (magnetic core storage), so that the main memory capacity is greater than in the first generation of computers.
  • Has supported external storage (removable disk), in the form of magnetic tape and magnetic disk.
  • Having the ability to do real-time processes and the principle of time-sharing.
  • The process of operating systems carried out by computers is getting faster, reaching millions of operations per second.
  • It requires less electrical power, so it is more efficient and efficient than the first generation of computers.
  • Unlike the first generation computers that are only oriented towards business applications, second-generation computers are also oriented towards engineering applications.

Third Generation of Computer  (1964-1971)

3rd Generation of Computer
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In this third-generation Integrated Circuit (IC) technology became the main feature because it began to be used on a computer device until the current generation. IC components are hybrid or solid (SLT) and monolithic (MST). SLT is a transistor and the diode is placed separately in one place while MST is a transistor, diode, and resistor elements put together on a single chip. MST is smaller but has greater capabilities than SLT.

IC was first made by Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor in 1959 which only contained six transistors. We can compare that the current processors that we use already have millions, tens, hundreds of millions of transistors, even processors with billions of transistors have been designed. An extraordinary development in less than half a century.

The characteristics of third-generation computers

  • Because using ICs, computer performance becomes faster and more precise. Its speed is almost 10,000 times faster than the first generation of computers.
  • Improved software.
  • Memory capacity is larger and can store hundreds of thousands of characters (previously only tens of thousands).
  • Using external disk storage media (external disks) whose nature of random data access (random access) with large capacity (millions of characters).
  • The use of electricity is more efficient.
  • Ability to do multiprocessing and multitasking.
  • Has used a visual display terminal and can make sounds.
  • The price is getting cheaper.
  • Ability to communicate with other computers.

Fourth Generation of Computer (1971 – Present)

4th generation of pc
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The fourth-generation computer is a computer that we meet at this time. Computers in electrical components still use microchips even though the size and materials used are different. Its smaller size makes the computer size simpler.

Characteristics of fourth-generation computers

  • The electronic component of miniaturization called LSI and began to introduce VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) which is an alloy of ICs with a circuit capacity of up to 100,000 components per chip.
  • Started to develop a local computer network using ARCNET (Attach Research Computing Network)
  • The program is made in languages: BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, PASCAL

It’s properties:

  • The size is relatively smaller
  • Has implemented Multi Programming and Multi-Processing
  • Get to know the Database Management System (DBMS).

Read also: Difference Between DBMS and RDBMS

  • Producing factory; IBM, BURROUGHS, HONEYWELL, INTEL
  • Engine samples; IBM (IBM S / 34, IBM S / 36, IBM PC / AT & XT, IBM PS / 2), HONEYWELL 700, BURROUGHS 600, CRAY I, CYBER, PC Apple II, COMMODORE PC, INTEL i386 up to Intel Pentium I , II, III, IV, Dual-Core, Core 2 Duo, and Quad-Core.

This computer generation has developed very rapidly because of its very easy to use (user-friendly) and versatile especially in the field of industry and information technology, the role of computers is very helpful.

Fifth Generation of Computer (Present – Future)

5th generation of pc
(source: i-sociable.com)

This generation is marked by the emergence of LSI (Large Scale Integration) which is the compacting of thousands of microprocessors into a microprocessor. Also, it was marked by the emergence of microprocessors and semiconductors.

Read also: Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

The companies that produce microprocessors include Intel Corporation, Motorola, Zilog, and others. In the market, we can see the presence of microprocessors from Intel with models 4004, 8088, 80286, 80386, 80486, and Pentium.

The fourth Pentium is the newest version of production from Intel Corporation which is expected to improve all the weaknesses that occur in previous products. Besides, the ability and speed of Pentium 4 also increased to 2 GHz. The images that are displayed become smoother and sharper, in addition to the speed of processing, sending or receiving images also become faster.

Pentium-4 is produced using 0.18-micron technology. With a smaller form resulting in the power, current and heat stress released also smaller. With a faster processor, it can produce a higher MHz speed. Its speed is 20 times faster than the Pentium 3 generation.

Packard Bell iXtreme 4140i is one of the computer PCs that has used Pentium-4 as a processor with a speed of 1.4 GHz, 128 MB of RDRAM memory, 40 GB hard disk (1.5 GB used for recovery), and GeForce2 MX video card with 32 MB memory. HP Pavilion 9850 is also a PC that uses Pentium-4 for the processor with a speed of 1.4 GHz.

PC Pentium-4 Hewlett-Packard is dating with the dominant black and gray. Compared to other PCs, the Pavilion is a Pentium-4 PC with the most complete facilities. Memory is 128MB of RDRAM, 30GB hard drive with a monitor of 17 inches.

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