Since the time we wake up in the morning and read newspaper to the end of the day activity like watching TV, whatever we do, in all the activities directly or indirectly we make use of computers in one or the other way. Let us go through the evolution of modern computers in brief.
The computer can be defined as an electronic device which can accept information, process it according to the instructions given and produce the result in a desired format. A Computer can perform task accurately, efficiently and very fast. It can also store lots of information for future purpose.
Charles Babbage is called the father of Modern Computers. He developed first mechanical computer in 1822 which led to more complex designs later. The first electronic computer ENIAC was developed in 1946 followed by EDVAC and others. They were developed using electronic valves and known as first generation computers. Those computers were very large in size, dissipated lots of heat, complicated and not easy to work with. With the invention of transistors in 1948, in a very short time transistors took the place of electronic valves and came the age of second generation computers. These computers were small in size compare to first generation of computers, were more reliable and dissipated less heat.
With advancement in technology, number of transistors were fabricated on a small chip called integrated circuit (IC) in nineteen sixties. This further reduced the size and complexity. Some more computers were developed which were being used by defense and research institutes. Computers developed using IC were known as third generation computers.
With VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) technique, it became possible to fabricate a complete central processing unit of a computer, known as a microprocessor, on a single chip. This led to fourth generation of computers. Computers developed using microprocessors are known as micro computers or personal computers. And with these computers became available for general purpose and at affordable prices. Many powerful processors also were developed which were used to develop powerful mini frame and mainframe computers which were used by large industries, research laboratories, science institutes etc.
The computers, a common man is using today is a fourth generation microcomputer. It is available in many varieties such as desktop computer, laptop, palmtop etc., and are quite efficient and powerful computers. Computers equipped with sophisticated varied input devices and output devices, and with the advancement in internet technology coupled with use of multimedia has revolutionized the way of doing things. Some of the examples are electronic fund transfer, net banking, online teaching, online exams, sales and purchasing things sitting home, rail, air reservation, paying bills, way of communications and entertainment etc.
Since early 1984 , lots of work is being done for development of fifth generation computers and to some extent have succeeded in doing so. The initiative was by Japan. The fifth generation computers work on artificial intelligence. They will be able to take commands in audio and visual way and carry out instructions. Many of the operations which require low human intelligence will be performed by these computers. There are numerous applications of the computers being used today, we can't think of life without computers!
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