History and Impact of Computing Name Institution Introduction The term computer initially meant a person proficient in performing arithmetical calculations using a mechanical computing device. The basis of computers development was set back in the era before Christ…
546). First Generation (1940-1955) Vacuum Tubes These first computers utilized vacuum tubes in their circuitry and their memories comprised of magnetic drums. These first computers were often massive, taking a lot of space. They were expensive to run and, in addition to consuming enormous amounts of electricity these computers generated immense heat, which often led to their malfunctions. The first generation computers depended on machine code language; a low-level programming language only understood by computers, to execute their operations, and hence they were able to solve a single problem at a time. The computers input used paper tapes and punched cards while their output was presented on printouts. ENIAC and UNIVAC computers are some of the first generation computing gadgets. The UNIVAC was the earliest commercial computer distributed to a business client, the United States Bureau of Census in 1951. Second Generation (1955-1963) Transistor Computers In the succeeding generation of computers, transistors replaced vacuum tubes in the computers circuitry. Transistors were initially invented in 1947 but received minimal use in computers until late 1950s. Transistors were far more superior compared to vacuum tubes, allowing the computers to be smaller, cheaper, faster, reliable, and with increased energy efficiency as compared their former generation predecessors. Although the transistors also generated plenty of heat which exposes the computers to the damage, they were a significant improvement in comparison to the vacuum tubes. The second generation computers also used the punched cards for their input and printouts as their outputs. The second generation computers shifted from obscure binary machine code language to symbolic, an assembly language that allows programmers to stipulate instructions in the form of words. FORTRAN, COBOL, and other High-level Programming language were also under developed during this period. These were the first computers which stored instructions in their memories, which had also moved from magnetic drums to magnetic core technology. The initial computers in this generation were meant for the atomic energy industries. Third Generation (1964-1970) Integrated Circuits Computers Integrated Circuits (ICs) development was the essential characteristic of the third generation computers. Miniaturized transistors were installed on silicon semiconductor chips, which increased efficiency and speed of computers. The third generation computers interacted with their users through monitors and keyboards interfaced through an operating system instead of the printouts and punch cards. These new features allowed the computers to run different applications at the same time with an inner program which monitored the memory. The third generation computers became handy to a mass of the audience since they were cheaper and smaller than their predecessors. Fourth Generation (1970- Present) The fourth generation computers were brought by the development of microprocessors. Microprocessors allowed thousands of integrated circuits to be built on a single silicon chip. A device that consumed the whole room in the first generation computers could be now developed on the palm of a hand. Intel 4004 chip, created in 1971, allowed all the components in a ...
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