Computers play a very important role in the modern world. It is hard to imagine how the world would be without computers. Computers are actively used in almost all work places. They have made work easy for everyone. Although computers have been around for more than 5000 years, it is the modern computers that have a had a huge impact on peoples’ lives. The first full size digital computer, named Mark 1 was developed in 1944. This computer was mainly used for calculations. It was 5 tons in weight. The development of Mark 1 marked the beginning of the evolution of computer to become what they are today. Here are generations that mark different phases in the history of computers;
First generation computers
First generation computers have very little in common with the computers that are used in today’s world. It difficult to compare them with today’s computers in terms of performance and appearance. The first generation of computers were used between 1940 and 1956. These computers were very large in size. They were not as sophisticated as today’s computers. These computers used magnetic drum memories and vacuum tubes. The vacuum tube took a lot of space and they were responsible for the large size of the computers. The vacuum tubes also generated lot of heat when the computer was in use. These computers regularly overheated despite the fact that they had massive cooling systems. A very basic programming language was used to run these computers.
Second generation computers
The second generation of computes existed between 1956 and 1963. The computer engineers managed to do away with vacuum tubes that were in second generation computers. instead of vacuum tubes, these computers used transistors. This made it possible for them to generate less heat and to consume less electricity. These computers were also much smaller than the first generation computers. Second generation computers had faster processing speed than their counterparts in the first generation. They had core memories which were used along with magnetic storage.
Third generation computers
The third generation computers were used from 1964 to 1971. These computers were a significant improvement when compared to the computers in the previous generation thanks to the use of integrated circuits. Integrated circuits, which are also commonly referred to as semiconductors increased the speed of the computers significantly and made them more powerful and less expensive. Keyboards and monitors were developed to make it possible for people to have better interaction with the computers.
Fourth generation computers
The changes that have had the greatest impact in the world of computers have taken place from 1971 to presents. It is during this time that it became possible to place millions of transistors on a single circuit chip. The inventions that took place during this period led to the development of personal computers. Many computer models have made their way in to the market. Companies that make computers have always been working hard to ensure that their next releases are better than the previous releases. Personal computers have the ability to create networks, something that eventually led to the development of the internet in the early 1990s. The fourth generation has also seen the development of small computers such as laptops and smaller hand held devices. The Graphical User Interface(GUI) was also developed during this period. Computer memory, storage capacity and speed have also improved tremendously over this period.
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