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First and Second Generation of Computers

Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by Mayank Dham

In the modern era, technology has made the world fashionable. We frequently use computers to complete a variety of tasks. Because of the use of computers, every business is now online. Life is made easier and more comfortable by the use of computers. We do not believe the computer was invented. Computers are now small, cheap, and everywhere. When computers were fully developed, they were far larger, more significant, and less common. The history of computers begins with the abacus, which was invented over 5000 years ago. Following this, the development of computers started.

The initial generation of computers used vacuum tubes to carry out computations. 1946–1959 made up the first generation’s span. ENIAC produced the first generation of laptops (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator). Computers from the first generation were powerful and enormous. They used vacuum tubes to do mathematical computations. Their programming was quite frustrating. They used a great deal of electricity. Computers from the first generation had more drawbacks than advantages. The ENIAC and UNIVAC-1 were the two most important computers. The first commercially available electronic computer was called UNIVAC. The most popular first-generation laptop was the IBM 650. Here is a list of early computers, including the ENIAC, EDVAC, IBM-701, and IBM-650.

What is a Vacuum Tube?

A device that regulates the passage of electrical current between electrodes in the presence of high vacuum, also known as a vacuum tube or valve, in order to apply an electrical potential is known as an electron tube.

What is the First Generation of Computers?

ENIAC served as the first-generation laptop (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator). William Mauchly and John Eckert envisioned it to be the first all-purpose electronic computer in 1942. But the device was finished in 1945. It was created to compute artillery firing tables for the US Army’s Trajectory Research Lab to use in supporting North American nation soldiers during World War II.

First Generation of Computers Structure

The ENIAC computer was enormous and very serious. It had a basement space of 50 feet long and weighed thirty tonnes. More than 17,000 vacuum tubes were present. Computers with vacuum tubes consumed a lot of electricity. A total of 150 kilowatts were utilised by ENIAC, of which 85 kilowatts were needed to heat the tubes, 45 kilowatts for DC power, 20 kilowatts for ventilation fans, and 5 kilowatts for punched-card electronic devices.

Calculations of First Generation Computers

ENIAC was first used to do arithmetic calculations. ENIAC could do 5000 additions every second. The ENIAC was a decimal machine as opposed to a binary one. As a result, calculations were done using the decimal numeration method, and numbers were represented in decimal form. Twenty accumulators, each able to store a 10-digit decimal range, made up the memory of the device. A ring of 10 vacuum tubes displayed each numeral.

Drawback of ENIAC

The primary drawback of ENIAC was its sophisticated and time-consuming programming. It was without a doubt not a laptop for general usage. Its software needed to be changed, effectively being rewritten using punch cards and switches in wiring plugboards. The machine might need two days for a team to reprogram.

UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer)

It was the first electronic computing device used for commerce. Eckert and Mauchly unquestionably invented it in 1947. It was unquestionably given to the North American Bureau of the Census in 1951.

Advantages of First Generation of Computers :

The advantage of the primary generation of computers was that these computers quick and will calculate knowledge in milliseconds.

Disadvantages of First Generation of Computers

The disadvantages of First Generation of computers are as follows:

  • Computers had more power.
  • They used an excessive amount of energy.
  • The vast number of vacuum tubes caused them to heat up quite quickly.
  • They weren’t exactly trustworthy.
  • Air education is required.
  • It required constant upkeep.
  • Cannot be transported.
  • expensive business output.
  • very low work capacity
  • and limited capacity for programming.
  • using punch cards

What is Second Generation of Computer

As interest in computer technology grew quickly in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the second generation of computers—which employed transistors instead of vacuum tubes—was released. Second-generation computers were entirely built with transistors rather than vacuum tubes. The transistor was developed at Bell Labs in 1947 by Walter H. Brattain (1902-1987), John Bardeen (1908-1991), and William B. Shockley (1910-1989), although it was not widely used in computers until the late 1950s. Many people realised by 1948 that transistors would likely replace vacuum tubes in gadgets like television sets, computers, and radios.

The transistor was much superior than the vacuum tube as a means of enabling computers to become more dependable, smaller in size, quicker in speed, more energy-efficient, and more affordable as compared to the first generation of computers. The transistor was a far more practical and significant advancement than the vacuum tube. However, because transistors produce a lot of heat, it was possible for the computer to be damaged. Additionally, punch cards and printouts were employed as inputs and outputs in second-generation computers. The first computer to employ transistors was the TX-0. It became available in 1956. Another example of a transistor-based device is the RCA 501.

The second generation of computers differs somewhat from the previous generation’s vacuum tube-based computers due to the arithmetic circuits and the set of index registers. The second generation of computers include separate input and output procedures that have allowed both fixed-point and floating-point operations to be managed with the aid of this circuit.

The Transac S-2000 from Philco Corporation, which debuted in 1958, was one of the earliest computers built on the transistor. The most potent data processing system at the time, the transistor, formed the basis for the IBM 7090, which was soon introduced by IBM. These second-generation computers employed high-level assembly and programming languages like FORTRAN (Formula Translator) and COBOL for a range of corporate and scientific tasks (Common Business Oriented Language). These computers frequently employed tape and magnetic discs for data storage. Additionally, they employed batch processing and a multiprogramming operating system. The UNIVAC 1108, CDC 1604, Honeywell 400, CDC 3600, and other models are some other examples of second-generation computers.

The IBM 7090 had a completely transistorised system and a six-times quicker computation speed than its predecessor, the IBM 709, which used vacuum tubes. Although the IBM 7090 was a general-purpose data processing system, it was specifically created for the construction of jet engines, missiles, supersonic aircraft, and nuclear reactors. Over 50,000 transistors and an innovative, very quick magnetic core storage were features of the IBM 7090. The new system can read and write three million bits per second when eight data channels are active. It can locate and make ready for use any of 32,768 data or instruction numbers stored in the magnetic core storage in 2.18 millionths of a second. The IBM 7090 can also carry out the below tasks in a single second: 229,000 additions, subtractions, 39,500 multiplications, 32,700 divisions, and additions or subtractions.

Features of the Second Generation of Computers

The following are some of the features of the second-generation computers:

  • Compared to the first generation of computers, the second generation’s computers were more dependable, smaller in size, quicker in speed, more energy-efficient, and less expensive since they utilised transistors.
  • They have magnetic core memory and magnetic storage discs.
  • They made use of high-level languages like Fortran and Cobol and permitted telephone-based communication.
  • Comparing second-generation computers to first-generation computers, the second generation’s computers are faster and more reliable, with data processing times dropping from milliseconds to microseconds.

Advantages of Second Generation of Computer

  • Smaller in size compared to the first generation of computer.
  • The second generation of computers were more reliable.
  • Used less energy and were not heated as much as the first one.
  • Better speed and could calculate data in microseconds.
  • Used faster peripherals.
  • Better portability as compared to the first generation.
  • Accuracy improved.
  • Used assembly language as well.

Disadvantages of Second Generation of Computer

  • A cooling system was necessary.
  • confined to specific uses only
  • Constant upkeep was necessary.
  • Commercial production presented challenges.
  • expensive and unadaptable
  • For input, Punch cards were employed.

Difference Between First Generation of Computer and Second Generation of Computer

Below is the difference between the first generation of computer and the second generation of computer.

S.No First Generation of Computers Second Generation of Computers
1 Vacuum tubes were employed in the first generation of computers. Transistors were a component of the circuitry in the second generation of computers.
2 1940-1956 1956-1963
3 Magnetic drums were employed as storage in First generations of computers. Magnetic core technology was employed in the second generation of computers as a storing method.
4 They understood computer language. They included assembly language, binary language, and high-level programming languages.
5 Enormous in size and form. smaller in size than a computer from the first generation
6 Consumed more power and electricity. Power and electric consumption were incredibly low.
7 They were not portable. They were portable and could be shifted from one place to another.
8 They were slow in operation. They were considerably faster machines.
9 Magnetic drums were used for storage RAM and ROM were used for storage.
10 They were not commercial products. They were designed and developed for commercial use.
11 Low-level languages were used. High-Level Languages were used.
12 J.P.Eckert and J.W. Mauchly invented the first successful electronic computer called ENIAC. The transistor was designed and invented in 1947 by three physicians Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley.
13 They are expensive. They are cheaper compared to a first-generation computer.

So with this, we came to an end of the conversation about the 1st generation of computers and the 2nd generation of computers. We hope this information will help you to knowing more about the generations of computers. Let us look at some FAQs for better understanding.

FAQ Related to 1st and 2nd Generation of Computer

1. Who invented the 2nd generation of computers?
William B. Shockley (1910-1989), John Bardeen (1908-1991), and Brattain (1902-1987) in 1947.

2. What was the speed of the 2nd Generation of computers?
The speed of the second generation computers (1956–1963), which utilised transistors manufactured of semiconductors, was about 10 microseconds.

3. What is the capacity of the 2nd generation of computer?
The second generation of computers were produced between 1955 and 1964. Computers from the second generation employed technology based on transistors. range of microseconds. The internal storage capacity of second-generation computers can now hold a maximum of one million characters.

4. Which is the first generation of computer in India?
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, commissioned the TIFRAC, a first-generation main-frame computer designed for scientific calculations, on February 22, 1960, becoming India the first nation in Asia and Japan to have constructed such a machine.

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