5 Generations of Computer + 6th Generation

The generation of computers is a terminology to show the change in the technology of computers. The first computer was invented in 1936. Since then computers are evolving to be better. They are getting faster and smarter every day. Now you can see several types of computers in the market. But all have the same technology, so they belong to the same generation.

It is one of the types in which computers can be classified. In case you want to learn more you can read more about the different classification of computers.

Given below is the table showing the main features of all 5 generations of computers in tabular form.

A table for five generations

Ok, let’s start digging this topic deeper to make everything crystal clear.

First Generation

First Generation computers were developed between 1946-1959. These computers were very large in size and could perform basic calculations only. Those computers used a large number of vacuum tubes.

A lot of energy was required to perform operations on these computers. Therefore, these computers generated a huge amount of heat. Consequently, it led to the fusing of installations. So, it cost a lot and could only be afforded by large organizations.

The languages used were low-level languages.

In this generation Punched cards, Paper tape, Magnetic tape Input & Output device were used.

Summarised points/features of first-generation computers:

  • Vacuum Tubes technology was used.
  • They were not much reliable.
  • Supported machine language (low-level language) only.
  • It was very Costly.
  • Generated a lot of heat.
  • Input/Output was slow.
  • Its size was very large.
  • Required A.C.
  • They were not portable.
  • Consumed a lot of electricity.

Some of the computers of First-generation computers are:

  • ENIAC
  • EDVAC
  • UNIVAC
  • IBM-701
  • IBM-650
How much power did first-generation consume?
ENIAC consumed 150 KiloWatts of power. Of which 80 Kilowatts were used to just heat up the tubed, 45 kilowatts for DC power supplies, 20 kilowatts for ventilation blowers, and 5 kilowatts for punched-card auxiliary equipment.

Second Generation

Summarised points/features of Second-generation computers:

  • Transistors were used
  • Were more Reliable as compared to First generation computers
  • Were Smaller in size as compared to First generation computers
  • Generated less heat as compared to First generation computers
  • Consumed less electricity as compared to First generation computers
  • Were faster than first-generation computers
  • Still very costly
  • A.C. needed
  • Machine and assembly languages were supported

Some computers of the Second Generation were:

  • IBM 1620
  • IBM 7094
  • UNIVAC 1108
  • CDC 1604
  • CDC 3600

Third Generation

Summarised points/features of Third-generation computers:

  • Integrated circuits were used
  • More reliable and accurate
  • Smaller in size than previous generations
  • Generated less heat
  • Fast in speed
  • Required lesser maintenance
  • Still, it was costly
  • A.C needed
  • Consumed lesser electricity
  • Support high-level language

Some computers of Third-Generation were:

  • PDP(Personal Data Processor)
  • IBM-360 series
  • Honeywell-6000 series
  • IBM-370/168
  • TDC-316

Fourth Generation

Summarised points/features of Third-generation computers:

  • Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits technology used
  • These are very cheap
  • These are portable
  • more reliable than previous generation computers
  • Use of Personal Computers (PCs)
  • Very smaller size
  • Pipeline processing
  • No A.C. needed
  • Concept of the internet was also introduced
  • Great developments in the fields of networks
  • It made computers available easily

Some computers of Fourth-Generation were:

  • DEC 10
  • PDP 11
  • STAR 1000
  • CRAY-1(Super Computer)
  • CRAY-X-MP(Super Computer)

Fifth Generation

Summarised points/features of Third-generation computers:

  • Ultra Large Scale Integrated (ULSI) circuits technology is used
  • Development of true artificial intelligence emerged
  • Development of Natural language processing also emerged
  • These have more user-friendly interfaces with multimedia features
  • Advancement in Parallel Processing became more familiar
  • Advancement in Superconductor technology
  • Availability of very powerful and compact computers at cheaper rates

Some computer types of Fifth-generation are:

  • Desktop
  • NoteBook
  • Laptop
  • UltraBook

Sixth Generation

The Sixth Generation of computers is still in progress.

Conclusion

There are five generations of computers and we may be able to see the sixth generation of computers in the future. These generations of computers are categorized according to the technology used in computers. Currently, we are having a fourth and fifth generation of computers. The computers developed a lot within a span of 100 years. It would be something more within a few coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How may generations are there in total? 5 or 6?

We have 5 proper generations at this time. We have some computers of 6th generation also but the work upon the sixth generation of computers is still under progress. Quantum computers and supercomputers are part of the 6th generation. And the sixth generation computers are going to revolutionalize the technology which we are using today.

What does generation actually mean in computers.

In computers, terminology generation refers to the change in the technology of computer making. Initially, it only referred to the hardware but now software is also counted as a part.

Are classification and generation of computer same thing?

No, they are not. Generation is the subset of Classification. It means computers can be classified on many bases like size, a technology used, functions. And also on the basis of the generation. The generation of computers is just part of classification of a computer.

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