The Four Generations of Computers

2014 - 2015 Edition


Throughout history many computers have been made all having different speeds, power, memory, sizes, capacity and cost. All computers can be placed into four different generations in four different times. This leaflet will guide you through these generations and teach you about them.

First Generation


Colossus was the world first electronic digital computer that was programmable. It was made to help British workers decode German Enigma codes during World War II. It ended the war early because it decoded and determined what the Germans next move would be. It saved millions of lives. It was made by Tommy Flowers but Alan Turing use of probability in cryptanalysis contributed into its design. Turing's machine that helped decode Enigma was electromechanical Bombe, not Colossus. A replica of it was finished in 2007 and is based The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.
Colossus: The World's First Electronic Computer - The Four Generations of Computers (1/4)

Alan Turing

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Alan Turing - Celebrating the life of a genius

The Second Generation

The Beginning

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 older computers, allowing computers to become smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient and more reliable than their first-generation predecessors. But the transistor still generated a great deal of heat that subjected the computer to damage, it was a vast improvement compared to the older generations. Second-generation computers still relied on punched cards for input and printouts for output.Second generation computers moved from cryptic binary machine language to symbolic, or assembly, languages, which allowed programmers to specify instructions in words.

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Elliott 803: Second Generation Computers - The Four Generations of Computers (2/4)

The Third Generation

Here we go again...

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.

Instead of punched cards and printouts, users interacted with third generation computers through keyboards and monitors and interfaced with an operating system, which allowed the device to run many different applications at one time with a central program that monitored the memory. Computers for the first time became accessible to a mass audience because they were smaller and cheaper than their predecessors.

Integrated Circuits: Third Generation Technology - The Four Generations of Computers (3/4)

The Fourth Generation

Todays World

The microprocessor brought the fourth generation of computers into our world, as thousands of integrated circuits were built onto a single silicon chip. In the first generation what filled an entire room could now fit in the palm of the hand. The Intel 4004 chip, developed in 1971, had all the components of the computer from the central processing unit and memory to input/output controls on a single chip.

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BBC Micro: Fourth Generation Computers - The Four Generations of Computers (4/4)

Desktop Computers

In 1981 IBM introduced its first computer for the home user, and in 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh. Microprocessors also moved out of the realm of desktop computers and into many areas of life as more and more everyday products began to use microprocessors. As these small computers became more powerful, they could be linked together to form networks, which eventually led to the development of the Internet. Fourth generation computers also saw the development of GUIs, the mouse and handheld devices.
Apple - Mac 30 - Thirty years of innovation

Time to go Beyond

The Future

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. Quantum computation, molecular and nanotechnology will radically change the face of computers in years to come. The goal of fifth-generation computing is to develop devices that respond to natural language input and are capable of learning and self-organization.

Power of Nanotechnology Video #Blow Mind

Tim Burners Lee

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Computer Components

How it Works

A computer is made up of many components all serving a different purpose. Without one of these parts a computer would not be able to function. Here are all the parts:
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Extra Info

Everything connects into the motherboard. Its is the heart of the computer and helps all the parts run. The hard drive is like the brain of the drive and stores everything needed such as files.

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