Evolution of Computers

Topics: Integrated circuit, Microprocessor, Computer Pages: 11 (2151 words) Published: September 22, 2014
College of Engineering and Architecture
Ateneo de Davao University
E. Jacinto St., Davao City

CPE 420:
Computer Systems Architecture

[Evolution of Computers – From 1st Generation to Present]

November 13, 2012

Prepared for:
Engr. Eleonor Palconit

Prepared by:
Jhunorjim C. Zandueta

The evolution of computers is considered one of the most rapid technological development in the history of human innovation. Within just 50 years, computers had evolved from bulky military hardware that computed ballistic trajectory to compact personal devices that aids in our day-to-day routine.

This development stretched within five generations. Each generation follows a common thread in computer design and functionality – decreased size and increased speed. The evolution of computers is greatly influenced by the innovations and development in field of electronics. New technology in the field of electronics are assimilated and adopted in the design and development of computers. Each generation of computer 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 devices.

1st Generation

General Characteristics
The first generation of computers dated from the late 1940’s until 1958. The main component used in these computers are vacuum tubes which contributed to these computers big and bulky size. Vacuum tubes produced excessive heat and frequently burnout with use. They are programmed directly with machine language (binary) and used magnetic core memory. Data input and storage in these computers are done with the use of punch cards and tapes.

Other characteristic of 1st Generation Computers are as follows: Big, bulky and clumsy design
Consumed excessive space; usually consumes an entire room
High energy consumption
Electric failure occurred regularly which made computers not very reliable Large ventilation system or air conditioning was necessary for excessive heat Task are done with Batch Processing

Important Developments

1951, UNIVAC
Stands for Universal Automatic Computer
Developed by Eckert and Mauchly
First commercial computer in the USA
First computer built for business
Used Short Code – set of instructions used by UNIVAC Programmers 1951, SAGE
Stands for Semi-Automatic Ground Environment
Developed by IBM
Used for US air defense system
Heavy and occupied an acre of floor space
First large computer network to provide man-machine interaction in real-time 1952, EDVAC
Stands for Electronic Discreet Variable Computer
Developed by John Von Neumann
Used to solve logical and mathematical problem
Used a Central Control Unit which performs all calculations
Used a read and write memory which stores both data and program EDVAC’s architecture used as a basis for other computer design 1953, The Whirlwind
Developed in Servomechanisms Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946 A large scale general purpose computer
Became the basis for the improvement of IBM’s SAGE Computer.

2nd Generation

General Characteristics
The second generation of computers dated from the late 1959 - 1964. 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 50s. 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. Though the transistor still generated a great deal of heat that subjected the computer to damage, it was a vast improvement over the vacuum tube. Second-generation computers still relied on punched cards for input and printouts for output. Second-generation computers moved from binary machine language to symbolic, or assembly, languages, which allowed...
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