Computers have been in existence for close to a century. The technology used in developing the first ever computer has undergone various changes over the years. This has greatly increased the complexity of this machine; however, it maintains the basics through which it was conceived. Many inventors contributed to the invention of the computers. Each had an impact on the complexity of the machine as it changed in structure over time. Prior to the development of the computers, there were other machines created which served the purpose of performing mathematical solutions, such a machine was the abacus. The history of the computers depicts the changes the machine has gone through to become what it is today.
The first generation of computers were developed was in 1940-1950. This machine was the first of its kind (O’Regan, 2008). The first generation computers had huge processors, unreliable and very expensive to build. The inventors were Presper Eckert and William Mauchly who named the first machine ENIAC (Electronic numerical Integrator and Computer). Its major function was to perform mathematical operations with high performance of 1000 additions within a second. The processing unit comprised of many vacuum tubes. The computer developed issues that prompted the development of better and improved models. The problems included overheating of the light bulb, which were the vacuum tubes.
The second generation of computers had a better technology thus performed efficiently. The scientists behind the invention were William Shockley, John Bardeer and Walter Houser Brattain (Ceruzzi, 2012). The technology in the vacuum tubes was transferred to a much smaller device known as the transistor. This technology proved to be much more productive as compared to the first generation of computers. They utilized less energy that in turn produced low heat. In comparison to the predecessors, these computers were reliable and faster. In terms of structure, they were much smaller thus consuming less space and costs in development.
The year 1964 marked the introduction of the third generation of computers. These models of computers were known as the IBM 370 series (O’Regan, 2008). The computers were used to perform scientific and business functions. The processors installed in these machines were silicone chips (Ceruzzi, 2012). They were more complex compared to the transistors as they consisted of integrated circuit technology. This reduced the costs and size of the computers increasing their overall efficiency. They were cheaper, reliable and even more compact. Another major development in the technology of these machines was that their Magnetic Core Memory was replaced by a microchip, which increased the size of the computers storage. The technology was more sophisticated as it allowed several programs to run simultaneously.
55 years later, the development of computers became what it is in the present day. The fourth generation of computers had many models ranging from Dell, Apple Macintosh, Acer and IBM (O’Regan, 2008). The Intel Company was the first to develop a microprocessor. The first Apple computer to be developed was by Steve Jobs in 1976, followed by IBM’s invention of the first personal computer. Unlike the Silicone chips, the microprocessors were more specialized, increasing the logic and memory of the computer. It contained thousands of transistors, which formed a large-scale integrated circuit (O’Regan, 2008). The transistor has enabled the computer to perform various functions. The advantages of the fourth generation of computers were that they were smaller than the first computer, the ENIAC. They had increased speed, storage capacity and reliability. The present day computers are part of the fifth generation. This generation of computers is more complex, advanced and developed. The inventions of programs that can translate languages are one of the many advancement made in improving the functionality of the computers. Though still in the process of more improvement, the fifth generation has been the most important scenario in the current times. The development of the intelligent systems is one of the most sophisticated forms of the recent technology. Artificial intelligence mimics the human intelligence (Ceruzzi, 2012). It is capable of assessing the environment and performing actions, which ensures success.
The evolution of computers has occurred in 55 years up until the recent times. The four generations have each marked the advancement in terms of improving technology. More advancement is yet be established as time progresses, however, the much that has been done has eased and provided more quality to human life.
O’Regan, G. (2008). A brief history of computing. London: Springer.
Ceruzzi, P. E. (2012). Computing: A concise history. Cambridge (Mass.: MIT press.