History of Computer:
Almost 5000 years, the abacus was invented to help people make calculations and it is among the earliest machines to be designed. In 1642, a French mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the computing machine (adding the machine) that was founded on mechanical gears with numbers being presented by cogs on wheels.
Charles Babbage from England invented the Difference Engine in 1822 that was made out of brass along with rods and gears. He further designed the Analytical Engine that had an input & output device, a control unit for controlling the task, a processor for calculating numbers, and storage for numbers awaiting processing. John Atanasoff and Berry of Iowa State University created the initial digital computers that could work electronically. This was in late 1930’s and it was called the ABC or the Atanasoff-Berry Computer. It was a basic form of calculator.
History of Computers & Generations of Computers Explained on YouTube:
Herman Hollerith of America developed the first device driven electrically in 1890 using punched cards along with metal rods. The machine helped complete the U.S. 1890 census in just six weeks in comparison to the manual count that took seven and half years to complete for the 1880 U.S. census. The history of computers may be classed in three generations with each generation lasting for a certain period. The different generations either brought in new inventions or improved the existing concepts.
How Many Generations of Computers are there?
There are five generations of computers, they are:
- First Generation – 1940 – 1956.
- Second Generation – 1956 – 1963.
- Third Generation – 1964 – 1971.
- Fourth Generation – 1972 – 2010.
- Fifth Generation – 2010.
First generation – 1940 to 1956 – Thermionic Vacuum Tubes
The first generation of computers was in the period running from 1940 to 1956 and this is the period when we saw the development of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), the Colossus built for military use, and the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). In this period, there was also the Turing Machine by Alan Turing. The ENIAC weighted around 50 tons and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes to process information. It is said that when the ENIAC was first switched on, sections of Philadelphia went into dim lights. The computers of the first generation had no operating system and could only execute a single task.
Second generation – 1956 to 1963 – Transistors
The second generation of computers ran in the period from 1956 to 1963. The computing machines of this time used transistors rather than vacuum tubes meaning they were more reliable. The Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC 1) was introduced in 1951 for commercial use. In 1953, IBM or the International Business Machine came up with the 650 and 700 series of computing devices. In the second generation, more than 100 computer programming languages became created. The computers of this era had a memory as well as an operating system. We also had storage media like disk and tape and output devices like printers.
Third generation – 1964 to 1971 – Integrated Circuits
The third generation of computers runs from the period 1964 to 1971. It is in this period that we have had the integrated circuit (IC) introduced in making computers by replacing transistors.
Fourth generation – 1972 to 2010 – Micro Processors
In the year 1971, the Intel developed a chip called Intel 4004, which is called a microprocessor. This technology replaced the integrated circuits with the microprocessor. Computers also became small with this generation and they were more powerful and reliable. The computers could run different programs at a go. The Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) was introduced in 1980 and the personal computer (PC) was introduced in 1981 by IBM for both home and office usage. Apple came up with the Macintosh computer a few years later. In the 1990s, we had the Windows operating system being introduced into the world of computers. Until recently, most computers were regarded as serial computers. They had a single processor chip having only one processor. Parallel computing was born of the idea that a program could run rapidly and efficiently if you had one task being processed simultaneously within multiple processors. By 2008, we had laptops and desktops containing more than one processor within a single chip, for example, the Core 2 Duo and the Core 2 Quad.
Fifth generation – 2010 – Artificial Intelligence
The fourth generation microprocessors will be replaced by the artificial intelligence in the fifth generation computers. But this technology is still under developing stage.