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Tuesday, 9 July 2013 | 08:57:00 | 0Comment

The history of computer development is often referred to in reference to the different generations of computing devices. Each of the five generations of computers is characterized by a major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operate.

The history of computer development is often referred to in reference to the different generations of computing devices. Each of the five generations of computers is characterized by a major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operate, resulting in increasingly smaller, cheaper, more powerful and more efficient and reliable computing devices.
In this Webopedia reference article you'll learn about each of the five generations of computers and the technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Our journey starts in 1940 with vacuum tube circuitry and goes to the present day -- and beyond --  with artificial intelligence.

First Generation (1940-1956) Vacuum Tubes

The first computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory, and were often enormous, taking up entire rooms. They were very expensive to operate and in addition to using a great deal of electricity, generated a lot of heat, which was often the cause of malfunctions.
A UNIVAC computer at the Census Bureau
A UNIVAC computer at the Census Bureau.
Image Source: United States Census Bureau

Second Generation (1956-1963) Transistors

Transistors replaced vacuum tubes and ushered in the second generation of computers. The transistor was invented in 1947 but did not see widespread use in computers until the late 1950s. The transistor was far superior to the vacuum tube, allowing computers to become smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient and more reliable than their first-generation predecessors.
Third Generation (1964-1971) Integrated Circuits
The development of the integrated circuit was the hallmark of the third generation of computers. Transistors were miniaturized and placed on silicon chips, called semiconductors, which drastically increased the speed and efficiency of computers.
Fourth Generation (1971-Present) Microprocessors
The microprocessor brought the fourth generation of computers, as thousands of integrated circuits were built onto a single silicon chip. What in the first generation filled an entire room could now fit in the palm of the hand. The Intel 4004 chip, developed in 1971, located all the components of the computer—from the central processing unit and memory to input/output controls—on a single chip.

Fifth Generation (Present and Beyond) Artificial Intelligence

Fifth generation computing devices, based on artificial intelligence, are still in development, though there are some applications, such as voice recognition, that are being used today. The use of parallel processing and superconductors is helping to make artificial intelligence a reality. 

Picture of a desktop computer system
                              SYSTEM UNIT                                                                                HARD DISK DRIVE
Picture of a system unit Picture of a hard disk drive
CD                                                                                                FLOPPY DISK
Picture of a CD                               Picture of a floppy disk

Picture of a computer mouse        
          Picture of an LCD monitor and a CRT monitor
Picture of an inkjet printer and a laser printer
SPEAKERS                                                          MODEM
Picture of computer speakers                                        Picture of a cable modem


At present computers are usually used in many walks of our life. What they mean for us? They have many applications in science, technology. Since they were invented in 1948 they have became necessary in our life. Even so computers have also some disadvantages.
Using computers offers many pros. Firstly, owning to computers we can keep accounts, write personal letters and do our homework. It is much easier and more aesthetic to write something in computer and print it than type or pen. Also, computer can be useful in office. When you use it you have less paperwork and mess. Then your work is more efficiency and organised, so your boss is glad. What is more computers are being increasingly used in medicine. They are very helpful in medical diagnosis, patient monitoring and general hospital administration. 
On the other hand using computers has several disadvantages. They are very bad for health. For example screens destroy eyes even with a low radiation screen. Many people complain for that issue, because then they have to pay for oculists and wear glasses. Also there are a lot of viruses which can influence a computer and destroy the data bank. It is a problem for banks and big concerns which store many of information inside their computers.

In conclusion, computers obviously has both good and bad points. We should remember that computers is especially important to the young generation, that’s why young people ought to know how to use new technology keeping safeness.