History of Computers

Here you find the brief of history of computers, this is the most important thing to know for every computer background person.

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Evaluation of computers

In ancient times, men performed calculations with the help of sticks, pebbles, bones, etc. The concept of a computer in medieval times was limited to a machine through which some calculations or computing could be carried out.

Let us now see how the computer has evolved from simple calculating machines over the centuries.

Abacus first computers in the history

history of  Abacus computers

Abacus was the first calculating device in the history of computers invented around 5000 BC in China. It was used in business as well as in scientific areas such as astronomical calculations, trigonometrically calculations, etc. In the present time, the abacus is popular among kids in many parts of the world.

Napier’s bones second computers in the history

history of Napier's Bones computers

In 1617, John Napier invented a calculating device called Napier’s bones. This tool was used for multiplication and division of numbers. He is most remembered as the inventor of logarithms and Napier’s bones, and for popularizing the use of the decimal point.


history of Pascaline computers

In 1642, Blaise Pascal invented the adding machine called Pascaline. The Pascaline was a decimal machine. This device was used to perform addition and subtraction.

In 1694, Leibnitz improves pascal’s machine so that it could perform multiplication and division also.

 Analytical engine

history of Analytical Engine computers

The invention of computers as we know today started with the efforts of English and mathematics professor Charles Babbage. In 1821, Babbage invented the difference engine to perform mathematical calculations.

In 1834, Charles Babbage designed a machine called the analytical engine. It could add, subtract, multiply and divide automatically. Charles Babbage is called the father of computers.

Lady Ada Augusta was an assistant to Charles Babbage. She came up with the idea of giving instructions to the computer in a step-by-step manner. She is known as the world’s first programmer.

Generation of computers

The history of computer development is often referred to with reference to the different generations of computing devices. A major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operate, resulting in increasingly smaller, cheaper and more powerful and more efficient and reliable devices characterize each generation of computers.

First-Generation (1940-1956): Vacuum Tubes

Vacuum Tubes

The first computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. They were huge in size and occupied the entire room. They were very expensive to operate, consumed much electricity and generated a lot of heat, which was often the cause of malfunctions.

The first-generation computers relied on machine language to perform operations, and they could only solve one problem at a time. The input was based on punched cards and paper tape. The output was provided as printouts.

UNIVAC and ENIAC computers are examples of first-generation computing devices.

The UNIVAC was the first commercial computer delivered to a business client, the US Census Bureau in 1951.

Second-Generation (1956-1963): Transistors


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.

Even though the transistor 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 the input and printout for the output.

Second-generation computers moved from cryptic binary machine language to symbolic, or assembly languages, which allowed programmers to specify instructions in worlds. High-level programming languages were also being developed at this time, such as early versions of COBOL and FORTRAN. These were also the first computer that stored their instruction in their memory, which moved from a magnetic drum to magnetic core technology.

Third-Generation (1964-1971): Integrated Circuits

Integrated Circuits

The development of the integrated circuits was the hallmark of the third generation computers. Transistors were miniaturized and were places with silicon chips, called semiconductors, which drastically increased the speed and efficiency of computers.

In place of punched cards and printouts, users interacted with third-generation computers through keyboards and monitors, interfaced with an operating system, which allowed the device to run many different applications at a 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.

Fourth-Generation (1971-Present): Microprocessors


The microprocessors brought the fourth generation of computers, as thousands of integrated circuits were built onto a single silicon chip. 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.

In 1981, IBM introduced its first computer for the home users, and in 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh. Microprocessors also moved out of the realm of desktop computers into many areas of life as many products began to use microprocessors.

As the 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.

Fifth-Generation (Present and Beyond): Artificial Intelligence

AI the future of computers

Fifth-generation computing devices, this is the latest computers that never ever in the history of computers. It is 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 helps to make artificial intelligence a reality. Quantum computation, molecular and nano-technology would radically change the face of computers in the years to come.

The goal of fifth-generation computing is to develop devices that respond to natural language input and are capable to learn and self-organize.

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