Computers are indispensable in our daily lives. They have been around for a long time, since the 1940s, to be exact. Our first article regarding the short history of computers was a big hit, so we’ve decided to turn it into an infographic. But first, a quick recap of computer history.
“Who invented the computer?”
“What is a computer made of?”
The first generation of computers were, to be honest, quite massive. First created in 1940s, the computers had to be equipped with magnetic drums in order to store data. They relied on vacuum tubes to control the current of electricity and they were insanely expensive and slow. However, they could run thousands of calculations in one second; for being the first generation, it wasn’t all bad news.
The next stop on the short history of computers takes us to the second generation. These were created in 1956 when the vacuum tubes became a thing of the past and transistors were born. What did the transistors do for the history of computers? Well, they made the computers a lot more reliable than they were previously and they could also be build into smaller, more compact packages. The downside to this generation of computers was the fact so much heat was being generated, which in turn damaged some of the internal components.
Integrated circuits, created in 1964. ushered in the third generation of computers. This creation allowed for sillicon chips to be used in computers; tiny transistors were placed on these. The better the technology gets, the smaller, faster, and more efficient the computer systems become. Seeing a pattern here? Finally, three generations into the short history of computers, keyboards, monitors, and the very first operating system were used.
From a technical standpoint, the fourth generation of computers is the current generation that is used by everyone today. They are smaller and efficient, perfect for the mass usage of technology. This generation began in 1971, which was the year that microprocessors were invented. This form of technology means that there are a lot of integrated circuits packed onto one silicon chip. This chip contains everything that the computer needs to run, including the CPU and the memory. IBM was the first company to make a computer for the normal home user, and then it snowballed from there, leading to Apple making the Macintosh computers and eventually the iPhone.
What could be the fifth generation of computers? Well, if its anything like the previous generations, it will build on what has come before it. Chances are, the technology will continue to get smaller, but at the same time, it will expand into something we can’t possibly imagine now. The short history of computers, being only about 75 years long, has shown that a lot of different things can happen in a relatively short amount of time.