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Generations of Computer

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First to Fifth Generations of Computer

Computers are essential devices that you must have used while growing up. There are also pretty good chances that you still use a computer daily. Have you ever wondered what a computer really is? Do you know what the generation of computers is?

If you are curious to know the answer to these questions, that is great. In this article, we will answer both of these questions in great detail.

Let’s first begin with what the meaning of computers is. According to experts, a computer can be defined as an electronic device used for manipulating information or data. Computers also have the ability to store, retrieve and process information.

These days, people use computers for typing documents, playing games, sending emails and browsing the internet. One can also use these devices to create or edit presentations, spreadsheets and videos.

You might also be interested to know that the evolution of computers began sometime during the 1940s. At that time, the first generation of computers was created. Since then, experts have also developed other generations of computers. As of now, there are five generations of computers.

In the field of electronics and technology, generation is computer terminology. This term refers to the change that a computer goes through. Earlier, the term generation was used to differentiate between different hardware technologies. However, these days, generation can be used to refer to both software and hardware; these together form the entire computer system.

In the rest of the article, we will discuss these five computer generations. Before we jump on to the details, it is important to go through an overview of these generations. 

The Generation of Computer Evolution is Generally Divided Into 5 Categories.


Generations of Computer

Evolving Hardware




Vacuum-Tube Based



Second generation

Transistor Based



Third generation

Integrated-Circuit Based



Fourth Generation




Fifth Generation

Artificial Intelligence Based

The First Generation of Computers- (the 1940s-1950s)

  1. The main electronic component used in the computers of the 1940s to 1950s era were vacuum tubes.

  2. The main memory storing units were magnetic tapes and magnetic drums.

  3. The machine language was used as the programming language.

  4. The sizes used to be very large which could take up entire rooms and the speed was very slow.

  5. The only input/output devices were paper tape and punched cards.

  6. Around 100 different vacuum tubes were used in order to produce the computers.

  7. Examples are UNIVAC1, ENIAC, IBM 701 and IBM 650, etc.

The Second Generation of Computers- (the 1950s-1960s)

  1. The main electronic component used in the computers of the 1950s to 1960s era were transistors.

  2. The main memory storing units were magnetic tape or disk and magnetic core.

  3. The assembly language was used as the programming language.

  4. The sizes were smaller as compared to those of the first generation and they used to consume low power and generate less heat.

  5. There was an improvement in speed.

  6. The input/output devices were magnetic tape and punched cards.

  7. Examples are IBM 1401, IBM 7094 AND IBM 7090, UNIVAC 1107, and so on.

The Third Generation of Computers- (the 1960s-1970s)

  1. The main electronic components used in the computers of the era 1060s to 1970s were integrated circuits ICs.

  2. The memory storing units were the magnetic disk or take and a large magnetic core.

  3. High-level languages such as BASIC, COBOL, Pascal were used as the programming language.

  4. The sizes were smaller and efficient and the computers were called minicomputers.

  5. There was an improvement in reliability and speed as compared to the second generation of computers.

  6. The input/output devices were keyboards, magnetic tape monitor, printer, etc.

  7. Examples are IBM 370, IBM 360, UNIVAC 1108 and so on.

The Fourth Generation of Computers- (1970s-present)

  1. The main electronic components used in the fourth generation of computers are microprocessors and very large scale integration (VLSI).

  2. When thousands of transistors are attached to a single microchip, it is known as VLSI.

  3. Semiconductor memory storage units such as RAM, ROM, etc were introduced.

  4. RAM (random-access memory)- Temporarily stores the programs and data and the contents are lost when the computer is shut down.

  5. ROM (read-only memory)- Permanently stores the data and programs and the contents are retained even after shutting down the computer.

  6. High-level languages such as C#, JAVA, Python, JavaScript are used as programming languages.

  7. The sizes are smaller and the speed has improved.

  8. The input/output devices are a monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, and so on.

  9. Examples are STAR 1000, APPLE II, IBM PC, and so on.

The Fifth Generation of Computers- (present and the future)

  1. The main electronic components that are used in the present generation of computers is Artificial Intelligence which uses the parallel processing method and the Ultra-Large Scale Integration (ULSI).

  2. The fifth generation of computers understands the natural human language.

  3. The speeds are really fast and the sizes are also small.

  4. The fifth-generation computers are portable and have a huge storage capacity.

  5. The input/output devices are keyboards, monitors, touchscreen pens, printers, light scanners, and so on.

  6. Examples are laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

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FAQs on Generations of Computer

1. What is Artificial Intelligence?

When machines, mainly computer systems, simulate the human intelligence processes, the technology is called artificial intelligence or AI. AI has various applications such as natural language processing, machine vision, expert systems, and speech recognition. The artificial language mimics human intelligence by using machine learning. Artificial Intelligence has intelligent computer programs but it does not confine itself to biologically observable methods. AI adapts by learning progressive algorithms and gives out incredible accuracy. AI techniques can be used to pinpoint cancer on medical images as well with the help of object recognition and deep learning.

2. What are the benefits of using computers?

The benefits of using computers involve multitasking. With the help of computers, people can do multiple works at the same time. Computers have the tendency to perform millions or billions of tasks in 1 second which help the users to finish their tasks in just a few seconds. The data is secured on the computer without any risk. People can store a great number of files on the computer instead of carrying so many paper files. With the use of computers the level of productivity of a person gets doubled or tripled since the work can be done really fast. To learn about computers, students can visit Vedantu or download the app.

3. What are the threats while using a computer?

Everything has a pro and a con at the same time. Computers are expensive and many people can not afford them. Computers can get viruses or get hacked and if they do, it may be a threat to the personal information of an individual or a company or bank, and many other institutions. Computers can create disruptions and since they have high entertainment value as well, they can distract the people as well by spending so many hours on the web.

4. Why is the computer taught in school?

Computers help to improve the performance of students as they help them to engage better with their school work. Computers not only make the work easier for the students but also help with their education by enhancing their mathematical knowledge, problem-solving and critical thinking. Along with all this, students will also learn technical skills which are very important to learn in today's date. Therefore, since computers play an important role in the career development of students it is very important to be taught in schools.

5. Why were computers introduced?

In order to automate the mathematical calculations that were done by people previously, computers were introduced. Charles Babbage who is known as the father of computers saw a need to negate the human errors in computations and the requirement of an automated system that would help with those errors. Before people used to sit for hours to perform mathematical calculations by hand and record them in books and since these calculations were vitally important, there was no possibility of any errors. Therefore, in order to help with those calculations computers were introduced in the first place.

6. How many Generations of Computers are there?

There are five generations of computers. These generations of computers are:

  • The first generation of computers.

  • The second generation of computers.

  • The third generation of computers.

  • The fourth generation of computers.

  • The fifth generation of computers.

7. What was the First Computer?

The ENIAC or the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was the first electronic programmable computer. This computer was built in the United States of America.

8. Who is Known as the Father of Computers?

Charles Babbage is known as the father of computers. He was an English inventor and mathematician. He is credited with having conceived the first automatic digital computer. Charles Babbage also developed the plans for the first Analytical Engine during the mid-1830s.