A Brief History of Computers

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The basic purpose of inventing the computer was problem-solving. With the growth of the human population, it was literally impossible to manage things on a large scale. For instance, back in 1880, it took more than 7 years to conduct and tabulate the census results for the US population. The manual collection of data was the reason behind such a long time.

However, in the present era, we can complete much difficult tasks with the help of computer within a few minutes. The computing power has made our lives simple and hassle-free. To know how these amazing machines came into being, just take a look at the brief history and evolution process of computers explained below.

The First Generation (1943-1958)

The first generation marks the delivery of the first commercial computer to the US Bureau of the Census. The basic feature of this generation was the integration of vacuum tubes. Due to the presence of these vacuum tubes in huge number, the computers of that time were too expensive. This generation lasted till 1958 when second generation computers started to replace these computers.

The Second Generation (1959-1964)

During this era, the Bell Labs started to develop transistors. These transistors were small in size and performed similar tasks that first generation vacuum tube computers were capable of doing. Later on, in 1959, the first transistor-based computer came into existence. It was small, fast and consumed less energy.

The development of a specific language (Binary Codes) for computer also relates to this generation. These were the symbolic languages or assembler languages, which helped programmers to give instructions to the computers in specific words. Fortran and Cobol were the two higher-level computer languages of that era.

The Third Generation (1965-1970)

It was in 1965, when we first saw the inception of integrated circuit (IC). It replaced hundreds of computer components and minimized the overall size of these machines. This was a revolutionary invention, which changed the shape, size, and performance of computers for once and all. Computers became powerful and cheaper, which lead to the production of personal computers.

The Fourth Generation (1971-present)

In 1970, the process of achieving large-scale integration was a huge success. This allowed the engineers and developers to integrate thousands of circuits into a single silicon chip. It increased the performance to an unbelievable level.

Now it was possible to manufacture a powerful central processor and integrate it into a single chip. This resulted in the birth of microcomputer, which we now use in Smartphones and other similar devices.

The Fifth Generation (Future Computers)

The major incentive behind building the fifth generation computers is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Hence, the goal is to create such computers that are capable of thinking and performing tasks similar to humans. Moreover, these machines may learn the language and behaviors of humans by interacting with them.

These goals are futuristic and hard to achieve. However, developers are working on these aspects. In fact, they have gained some success in creating robots that are capable of understanding human language, behavior, and interaction. For instance, the invention of A.I robots like ‘Sophia’ (Social Humanoid Robot) is a great success in this field.