Computing Generations, 5/9/2009, 3:00 pm
Reminder from: Artificial-Awakening Yahoo! Group Title: Computing Generations Date: Saturday May 9, 2009 Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Repeats: This event repeats every year. Notes: Computing Generations
The balance of the history of computing has been divided into
generations. The First Generation (1951-1959), was brought about by
the needs of the military during World War II to calculate the
trajectories of new weapons systems. John Eckert and John Mauchly
invented the ENIAC, (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator)
It required 18,000 vacuum tubes and occupied 1,800 square feet. Its
main drawback was that in order to reprogram it for a different task
required rewiring its hardware. John von Neumann, a professor of
mathematics at Princeton described a method where new programs could
be stored electronically, and not require rewiring of the hardware.
This brought about the concept of software as something distinct
from hardware and greatly enhanced the efficiency and commercial
viability of computers.
The Second Generation (1959-1963) was brought about by the use of
transistors instead of vacuum tubes as the basic switching devices
in computers. Transistors were faster, more reliable and more
efficient than vacuum tubes and made computers practical for
The Third Generation (1963-1975) was characterized by the use of
integrated circuits which were many transistors produced on one
small circuit. These made complicated computers easier and more
practical to produce and brought the cost down to the point where
computers were beginning to be affordable to the average person.
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