The history of computers is divided into 5 generations:
First generation (1951. – 1959.):
The first computers were constructed for scientific purposes only. In 1951 computers have started to be used in commercial use too. The basic element of this generations computers is the electron tube. The computers dimensions where big, their speed slow and they were undependable. The first general-purpose electronic computer was ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator). It’s weight was over 30 tons, it consisted of 18.000 electron tubes, 70.000 resistors, 10.000 capacitors and 1.500 relays. It consumed roughly 174 kWh of electric power and his speed was about 300 calculations per second and had a volume of 100m^3. It’s existence was published on the 16.02.1946 and that date is considered the start of the computer revolution.
Another computer from that generation was the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) Computer System. It was the first commercial computer which processed text and numbers. It was build by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. Those two started the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation back in 1946. These two experts worked earlier on ENIAC and EDVAC together. Their mathematical consult was John von Neuman who created the logical computer structure with input output devices, memory and a central processing unit.
Second generation (1959. – 1965.):
The computer science development benefited greatly with the invention of the transistor in 1947. in Bell Lab in the USA. The second generations basic element was the transistor. The dimensions of computers became much smaller than the first generations computers. The computing speed and the work safety was increased. The RAM (Random Access Memory) was invented. Some high level programming languages appeard, such as FORTRAN (Formula Translation), ALGOR (Algoritmic Language) and COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language).
Third generation (1965. – 1971.):
Basic element of the third generation was the integrated circuit. It was introduced in the 60’s. The computers became smaller and worked faster. Small scale integration (SSI) circuits became a consistent part of the computer. In 1968 medium scale integration (MSI) circuits where introduced. The number of operations which a computer could do in a second increased to 50-100 million. The IBM 360 computer system indicated the start of third generation of computers.
Forth generation (1971. – …)
The reason that there isn’t an end year is because there hasn’t been an agreement on which year it ended.
The characteristic of this generation is the large scale integration (LSI) circuit. The greatest invention of the silicon integrated technology, the microprocessor was published on the 15. 11. 1971. The first microprocessor was Intel’s 4004 with over 1000 transistors. Microprocessors are still in use as central processing units (CPU). In 1976 very large scale integration (VLSI) circuits where introduced with more than 100 000 transistors.
Fifth generation (now)
The fifth generation’s most noticeable are the 5G systems, artificial intelligence, sample recognition, cloud computing (in the near future) and more.