History, Generation, Hardware of Computers

History generations of Computers

Today, in the series of #IT, #Business Software, #Office Automation and Database management Systems Lecture 3, we will try to summarize the history of computer, #Generations of Computer and Hardware and its types used in the Computer.

History of Computer

The story of compute begins with the same principle of  “Thirsty Crow’s Story” that is “necessity is the mother of invention”. Its story starts from ABACUS,  a mechanical device being used in Japan and China for calculations about 3000 years ago. The major pacy advancements in computer science are not so long before. It is in 20th century in which Modern PC was designed by IBM in 1940s.

After ABACUS, the second name found in this historic era is the name of John Napier Who discovered logarithms for computational purposes. He prepared a small tabular type arrangement of bones called “Napier bones” to perform computations on the basis of logarithms. Many considerable efforts were made by inventors and scientists in making calculating tools as per their need with the technology at that time.

Around 1640, Blaise Pascal, a leading French mathematician, known as founder of computer , constructed a mechanical adding device called “Pascaline”. The Pascaline was the first successful mechanical calculator. It was developed in the 1640’s by the mathematician Blaise Pascal.In 1672 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz invented the Stepped Reckoner which he completed in 1694.

History of Pascaline Computer

Then, In 1837, Charles Babbage designed a machine to reduce its overnight working. He invented “Difference Enigne ” and proposed model for the first time “Analytical Engine”  which is accepted as the first design for a modern computer. Today’s computer has all the components that were presented by Charles Babbage for his analytical engine like memory, an arithmetic unit, and logic processing capabilities able to interpret a programming language with loops and conditional branching. Although it was never built, but this design had established a base for extensive research in the filed of computer science.

Charles Difference Enigne

Charles Babbage is often regarded as one of the first pioneers of computing. Beginning in the 1810s, Babbage had a vision of mechanically computing numbers and tables.

Ada Lovelace (Augusta Ada Byron) is credited as the pioneer of computer programming and is regarded as a mathematical genius. Lovelace began working with Charles Babbage as an assistant while Babbage was working on his “Analytical Engine”, the first mechanical computer. During her work with Babbage, Ada Lovelace became the designer of the first computer algorithm.

Generations of Computers

Generation means a step in computer technology. During the historic moments of computing, different eletronic technologies were being used. Invention of new electronic components presented new generation of computers. Here is the list of that components on which these generations are being divided.

  1. Vacuum Tubes (1950s) – one bit on the size of a thumb;
  2. Transistors (1950s and 1960s) – one bit on the size of a fingernail;
  3. Integrated Circuits (1960s and 70s) – thousands of bits on the size of a hand
  4. Silicon computer chips (1970s and on) – millions of bits on the size of a finger nail.

The First Generation

In first generation computers, ” vacuum tube” was used to build it. It was the best available technology at that time. These computers were very large in size with limited speed. ENIAC was the first computer. These computers are very expensive, large, and air conditioned was compulsory for their operations. ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) used more than 2,000 vacuum tubes, using nearly 18,000 vacuum tubes. Its size was 167 square meters (1800 square feet) of floor space. Its speed was 0.0002 seconds/ read-write register storage.

The Second Generation

With the invention of transistor the size of computer decreased and speed, memory and reliability increased a lot as compared to first generation computers. The second generaion computers replaced vacuum tube with transistor. Although these computers were generated less heat than first generation but still Air conditioned environments was mondatory. Still it can not be made commercially due to transistor technology.

The Third Generation

In 1958, Jack St. Clair Kilby from Texas Instruments manufactured the first integrated circuit (IC) or chip which was a collection of tiny transistors. It became possible to integrated hundreds of transistors into single IC. This invention made the computer more smarter and portable with saving space, increasing speed as computers all previous generations. Manufacturing ICs was not as much easy hence still it can not be commercialized and computes were made in limited and were very expensive and AC was still required for thier operations.

The fourth Generation

In 1970s, following ICs, Micro Processor chips was designed to control the computer basic operations. A Microprocessor was also a IC but integrating thousands of transistors in it. It also had input/output modules. today’s computers belongs to this fourth generation. IBM launched the first Digital PC and Apple followed IBM. Now to on wards the story of computer changed dramatically and computer had replace almost every other electronic machines. Forth Generations computers are very cheap to buy, portable in size, very very fast as compared to previous generations and with huge gigantic storage options. No AC is required to operate them.

The fifth Generation

The period of fifth generation is 1980-till date. In the fifth generation, the VLSI technology became ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology, and artificial intellegence. The computers of this generation can talk, listen, watch and sense. Robots are best examples of the fifth generation. Japan and Russia leaders in the research race of this generation. parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software are the basic tools being and will used in this.

AI includes:

  • Robotics
  • Neural Networks
  • Game Playing
  • Development of expert systems to make decisions in real life situations.
  • Natural language understanding and generation.

Computer Hardware

All physical parts of computers are called hardware. All devices attached with computer are examples of hardware. There are four types of hardware;

  1. input devices
  2. Central processing unit
  3. output devices
  4. Storage devices

theITeducation.com References



Author: Habibullah Qamar

Its me Habib Ullah Qamar working as a Lecturer (Computer Sciences) in Pakistan. I have an MS(M.Phil) degree in computer sciences with specialization in software engineering from Virtual University of Pakistan Lahore. I have an experience of more than 15 years in the filed of Computer Science as a teacher. Blog Writing is my passion. I have many blogs, This one is special made with the aim of providing 100% Free online coaching and training to the students of under-graduate and postgraduate classes. Most of the students enrolled in computer sciences, information technology, software engineering and related disciplines find it difficult to understand core concepts of programming and office automation. They find difficult in understanding and solving their assignments.

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