History of Computer Development & Generation of Computer

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An amazing machine! We are living in the computer age today and most of our day to day activities cannot be accomplished without using computers. Sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly we use computers. Computer has become an indispensable and multipurpose tool. We are breathing in the computer age and gradually computer has become such a desire necessity of life that it is difficult to imagine life without it.


For most of the people, computer is a machine used for a calculation or a computation, but actually it is much more than that.

Precisely, “Computer is an electronic device for performing arithmetic and logical operation.” Or “Computer is a device or a flexible machine to process data and converts it into information.”

To know about the complete process that how computer works, we will have to come across the various terms such as Data, Processing and Information. First of all we will have to understand these terms in true sense.

“Data” is nothing but a mare collection of basic facts and figure without any sequence. When the data is collected as facts and figure, it has no meaning at that time, for example, name of student, names of employees etc.
‘Processing’ is the set of instruction given by the user or the related data to output the meaningful information. Which can be used by the user? The work of processing may be the calculation, comparisons or the decision taken by the computer.
‘Information ’is the end point or the final output of any processed work. When the output data is meaning it is called information


Actually speaking electronic data processing does not go back more than just half a centaury i.e. they are in existence merely from early 1940’s. In early days when our ancestor used to reside in cave the counting was a problem. Still it is stated becoming difficult.

When they started using stone to count their animals or the possession they never knew that this day will lead to a computer of today. People today started following a set of procedure to perform calculation with these stones, which later led to creation of a digital counting device, which was the predecessor the first calculating device invented, was know as ABACUS.


Abacus is known to be the first mechanical calculating device. Which was used to be performed addition and subtraction easily and speedily? This device was a first develop Ed by the Egyptians in the 10th century B.C, but it was given it final shape in the 12th century A.D. by the Chinese educationists.

Abacus is made up of wooden frame in which rod where fitted across with rounds beads sliding on the rod. It id dividing into two parts called ‘Heaven’ and ‘Earth’. Heaven was the upper part and Earth was the lower one. Thus any no. can be represented by placing the beads at proper place.


As the necessity demanded, scientist started inventing better calculating device. In thus process John Napier’s of Scotland invented a calculating device, in the year 1617 called the Napier Bones.

In the device, Napier’s used the bone rods of the counting purpose where some no. is printed on these rods. These rods that one can do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division easily.


In the year 1642, Blaise Pascal a French scientist invented an adding machine called Pascal’s calculator, which represents the position of digit with the help of gears in it.


In the year 1671, a German mathematics, Gottfried Leibniz modified the Pascal calculator and he developed a machine which could perform various calculation based on multiplication and division as well.


In the year 1833, a scientist form England knows to be Charles Babbage invented such a machine. Which could keep our data safely? This device was called Analytical engine and it deemed the first mechanical computer.

It included such feature which is used in today’s computer language. For this great invention of the computer, Sir Charles Babbage is also known as the father of the computer.


As the time passed, the device of more suitable and reliable machine was need which could perform our work more quickly. During this time, in the year 1946, the first successful electronic computer called ENIAC was developed and it was the starting point of the current generation of computer


ENIAC was the world first successful electronic computer which was develops by the two scientists namely J. P. Eckert and J. W. Mauchy. It was the beginning of first generation computer. The full form of ENIAC is “Electronic Numeric Integrated And Calculator” ENIAC was a very huge and big computer and its weight was 30 tones. It could store only limited or small amount of information. Initially in the first generation computer the concept of vacuum tubes was used. A vacuum tube was such an electronic component which had very less work efficiency and so it could not work properly and it required a large cooling system.


As the development moved further, the second generation computers knocked the door. In this generation, transistors were used as the electronic component instead of vaccum tubes .A transistors is much smaller in the size than that of a vaccum tube. As the size of electrons components decreased from vaccum tube of transistor, the size of computer also decreased and it became much smaller than that of earlier computer.


The third generation computers were invented in the year 1964. In this generation of computer, IC (Integrated circuits) was used as the electronic component for computers. The development of IC gave birth to a new field of microelectronics. The main advantage of IC is not only its small size but its superior performance and reliability than the previous circuits. It was first developed by T.S Kilby. This generation of computer has huge storage capacity and higher calculating speed.


This is the generation where we are working today. The computers which we see around us belong to the fourth generation computers. ‘Micro processor’ is the main concept behind this generation of computer.

A microprocessor is a single chip (L.S.I circuit), which is used in a computer for any arithmetical or logical functions to be performed in any program. The honaur of developing microprocessor goes to Ted Hoff of U.S.A. He developed first micro-processor, the Intel 4004, as he was working for Intel Corporation, U.S.A with the use of microprocessor in the fourth generation computers, the size of computer become very fast and efficient.

It is evident that the next generation of computer i.e. fifth generation will be developed soon. In that generation, computer will possess artificial intelligence and it would be able to take self decisions like a human being.


Certain characteristics of computer interaction can make computers well suited for distance learning. The features listed below the prospect of the computer use look more promising:

  • Access to expert and respected peers.
  • One to One and much communication.
  • Active learner participation.
  • Linking of new learning to concrete on the job problems.
  • Follow up, feedback and implementation support from pears or experts.
  • Self direction control over stop or start, time, pace and place of learning or communication activity.


A computer is used in all human life. It has revolutionized all phases of human activities. The most important have been given as follows:

Routine job handling
the routine classical and stenotype jobs calculating and formality bits, salaries, updating stocks, tax return, reservation records and information.
Traffic control
Controlling traffic, traffic lights. Television cameras are used to maintain traffic light routine.
Electronic money
Automatic tellers machine (ATM) is very common in banks. You can deposit and withdraw money with the ATM.
Electronic office
All type information are stored, manipulated and utilized in the electronic form. A document is sent to different place with FAX, internet and e-mail.
Industrial Application
It plays an important role in production control. It is bringing efficiency it trade and industry.
With help computerized telephone through satellites STD and IST services have been introduced. It maintains the record of calls and does the billing for you.
Every type of trade computer is used successfully. It is used in Banks, stock exchanges to control stocks and accounts.
Scientific research
In every science, the research work becomes economical from time, energy, money point of new. A large data is analyzed very quickly.
There is wide use in medical science e. g. ECG, CAT scan, Ultra sound. The proper and accounts diagnosis is done with the help of computer. The medical apparatus are controlling computerized.
Space Science
The satellite controlling I the space with the help of computer. The information’s are collected by using the computer from the space satellite.
The composing work is done speedily and economical with the help of computer. The designing work is also done by computer. The quality is maintained is publication by computer.
The computer is used for sending message example printer, FAX, e-mail, Internet. The import and export work is done on internet.
Film industry
It had influenced film industry such as animation; titling etc.The multimedia approach is used in film production with the help of computer. The cartoon films are developed by computers.
The computer is widely used in the field of education and independent study field of computer science has developed which is popular these days. At every stage computer is compulsory. The distance education is using computer for instructional purpose as multimedia approach. The computer makes teacher learning process effecting by involving audio and visual sense of learners.


A language is defined as the medium of expression of thoughts . All the human beings in this world communicate with each other by a language. Similarly, computer also needs some expression medium to communicate with others

A computer follows the instructions given by the programmer to perform a specific job. To perform a particular task, programmer prepares a sequence of instructions, know as programmed. A program written for a computer is known as Software. The programmed is stored in RAM. The CPU takes one instruction of the programmed at a time from RAM and executes it. The instructions are executed one by one in sequence and finally produce the desired result.

The Journey of computer software machine language to high level languages to modern 4GL / 5GL languages is an interesting one. Let us talk about this in detail.


When the human being stared programming the computer the instruction were given to it in a language that it could easily understand. And that language was machine language. The binary language a language, a language of Is and Os is known as Machine language. Any instruction in this language is given in the form of string of 1s and 0s. Where the symbol I stand for the presence of electrical pulse and 0 stands for the absence of electric pulse. A set of 1s and 0s as 11101101 has a specific meaning to a computer even through it appears as binary number to us.

The writing of programmer in machine language is very cumbersome and complicated and this was accomplished by experts only. All the instructions and input data are fed to the computer in numeric form, specifically a binary form.


Lots of efforts are made during last 50 years to obviate the difficulties faced for using the machine language. The first language similar to English was developed in 1950 which was known as Assembly Language or Symbolic Programming Languages. After 1960, the High Level Languages were developed which bought the common man very to the computer. And this was the main reason for tremendous growth in computer industry. The high level languages are also known as Procedure Oriented Languages.


The assembly language was easier to use compared with machine la language as it relieved the programmer from a burden of remembering the operation – codes and addresses of memory location. Even though the assembly languages proved to be great help to the programmer, a search was continued for still better languages nearer to the conventional English language. The languages developed which were nearer to the English language, for the use of writing the programmer in 1960 were known as High Level languages.

The different high level languages which can be used by the common user are FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, PASCAL, PL-1 and many others. Each high level language was developed to fulfill some basic requirements for particular type of problems. But further developments are made in each language to widen its utility for different purposes.


The 3GLs are procedural in nature i.e., HOW of the problem get coded i.e., the procedures require the knowledge of how the problem will be solved . Contrary to them, 4GLs are non procedural. That is only WHAT of the problem is coded i.e., only ‘What is required’ is to be specified and rest gets done on its own.

Thus a big program of a 3GLs may get replaced by a single statement of a 4GLs. The main aim of 4GLs is to be cut down on developed and maintenance time and making it easier for users.


With the invention and popularity of GUI based interfaces. GUI based languages include:

  1. TCL/Tk
  2. Visual basic
  3. Visual C++
  4. C# (Pronounced as C sharp)
  5. Visual basic.NET
  6. Visual basic 2005