Written by admin on April 6th, 2011
Our modern life is characterized by the digital age of computers. Regardless of how people view them, computers have become an integral part of society on which we rely. Today, computers provide ample functionality and capabilities. They no longer simply compute but also allow people to accomplish various tasks including shop, communicate with friends, create documents, manage financial transactions, and hold global conferences. Nonetheless, it is well worth taking a trip down memory lane from time to time to see how it all began.
First Generation (1945-1956)
During the start of the Second World War, governments of different nations aimed to develop computers in order to create effective war strategies and increase their chances of success during the war. Because of increased funding, technology underwent rapid development. In 1941, Germany was able to develop a computer named Z3. The computer, created by Konrad Zuse, was used to design missiles and airplanes. Meanwhile, Allied Forces also embarked on their own computer development program and were able to produce extremely powerful computers. In the year 1943, the British were able to create a computer, the Colossus which could break German codes. However, the overall impact of technology during this period was still limited.
Second Generation Computers (1956-1963)
The transistor was invented in the year 1948, revolutionizing computer development. Instead of the large vacuum tubes which were previously used, the transistor provided a smaller and less cumbersome alternative for computers. Since then, the size of the computer has gradually and dramatically changed. Consequently, the transistor became incorporated into computers from the year 1956. Together with advancements in magnetic-core memory, transistors were able to give birth to a new generation of computers. These computers were smaller, more reliable and much faster. They were also more efficient in terms of energy usage. They provided a comparative advantage against their predecessors.
Third Generation Computers (1964-1971)
While transistors served as a major breakthrough and provided many advantages to second generation computers, they still presented a couple of setbacks. These included generating a great deal of heat, resulting in damage to computer parts. Thankfully, the quartz rock was discovered, which provided an effective alternative. In 1958, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments invented the integrated circuit, or IC. It was comprised of three electronic components including small silicon discs made of quartz. Later on, scientists were able to devise a way to minimize the size of the chips. They were able to make a single chip, known as the semiconductor. Third generation computers were not just made of semiconductors but they also introduced the use of operating systems. Operating systems allowed computers to process a range of programs and functions.
Fourth Generation (1971-Present)
Following the introduction of integrated circuits, computer manufacturers were further able to reduce the size of the computer. The idea of Large Scale Integration allowed people to fit hundreds of different components onto a small single chip. On the other hand, Ultra-large scale integration (ULSI), provided a platform whereby one single chip could contain millions of components. Because multiple components could be fitted on to one computer chip, the size of computers dramatically reduced. Further, the changes in the capacity of the chips also provided more reliability, efficiency and power. Hence, it was in 1971 with Intel’s invention of the 4004 chip that integrated chips ushered in a new era for computers. The chip was able to hold the memory, the central processing unit and also input and output controls.
Fifth Generation (Present and Beyond)
The fifth generation is hard to describe because its progress is exponential compared to that of earlier generations. New computers are developed at a pace too fast even for a market as demanding as ours. Today computers come in all sizes, embedded inside mobile phones, and in applications which were previously only dreamt of. Furthermore, computers are now also equipped with article intelligence and a whole range of applications that can be customized according to the preference of the user. Also, computers are extremely connected in vast networks thanks to the internet.This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 at 7:52 am and is filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.