Basic Computing Series Part 1 (History of Computers and Types of Computers )

First Generation Computers:

Year: 1946-59

Primary Device used: Vacuum Tubes

Famous computers at the time: Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator(ENIAC) and Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer(EDVAC)

Type of Programming Language: Machine Level. (Programming was done in binary form)

Cons: They were very bulky in weight. They were very big in size.  Their speed is very low.They consume more electricity hence, they dissipate more heat. Difficult to remember codes.

Second Generation Computers:

Year: 1959-64

Primary Device used: Transistor

Famous computers at the time: IBM 1920 and IBM 1401

Type of Programming Language: Assembly Level. (Short codes were used to in program)

Pros: Better than first generation computers in terms of speed and consumption of energy.They are smaller in size and weight than first generation computers.

Cons: They still dissipate heat.Hence, coolers were needed. Maintenance cost of the computer were high.

Features developed: Programming language such as FORTAN and COBOL were developed during this generation.

Third Generation Computers:

Year: 1964-71

Primary Device used: Integrated Circuit

Famous computers at the time: IBM 370 and VAX 750

Type of Programming Language: High Level.

Pros: Better than second generation computers in terms of speed and consumption of energy.They are smaller in size and weight than second generation computers.

Cons: Maintenance cost of computer were still high. It cannot do complicated operations.

Features developed: OS was used for the first time to interface the software and Hardware.

Fourth Generation Computers or Modern Computers:

Year: 1964-71

Primary Device used: Microprocessor

Type of Programming Language: High Level.

Pros: Computer became small in size due to emergence of VLSI (very large scale integration) Technology. A microprocessor can have millions of integrated circuits in it. Thus Computer became extremely small. Due to fabrication millions of integrated circuits in single microprocessor, It can do advanced operations within seconds.

Cons: It cannot take a decision. In other words computers does not have Intelligence.

Features developed: Graphic Interface was developed. Mini and micro computer were developed during this period.

Fifth Generation Computers

Year: Future

Features to be developed: Artificial Intelligence. Computers to possess intelligence.

Types of computers:

Computers are classified into three types based on the type of data they handle: 1.Analog 2.Digital 3.Hybrid

Analog computer handles the analog data. Analog data means data that are continuously available over a time.Examples of analog data are ECG, Weather reports, etc

Digital computer handles the digital data. Analog data means data that are constant.Examples of digital data are temperature at particular time, number of messages received in particular day, etc .In computer terms, Digital computers handles only two data:1,0.

Hybrid Computer handles both the analog and digital data.

Computers can also be classified into 4 types based on their memory capacity and speed

Microcomputers: They are also called as personal computers intended for single person use. Microcomputers includes desktop, laptop, palmtop ,Tablets, PDA and Smartphones

Minicomputers: They have more memory and speed than that of Minicomputer. They are intended for the use of computer by more than person at the same time.

Mainframe computers: They are used by research organisation and big corporate to handle vast amount of data at the same time. They can handle millions of instrucion per second

Super Computers: They are the fastest class of computers. They are used in critical research areas such as remote sensing ,Nuclear reactor and satellite launching. PARAM is a series of supercomputers developed by India. Prithivi is India’s fastest supercomputer capable of doing 790 trillion floating point calculations per second.

Embedded computers is a special type of computer that are included in a machine to do specific task. Examples of Embedded computers are  electronic voting machine, Traffic signal and Washing machine.

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