Computer Applications Essay

1514 WordsJul 10, 20137 Pages
GENERATIONS OF COMPUTERS As a result of the improvements that have taken place in computer technology computers have been divided into generations: FIRST GENERATION (1940 - 1958) First generation computers were programmed in machine Language (consisting of string of 0's and 1's) which was cumbersome and error prone. Used vacuum tubes as the principal electronic components, although they demonstrated the usefulness of the computer as a tool for information processing, First generation computers had numerous design shortcomings i.e. * Inefficient control of I/O operations resulting in overall system performance; * Address modification schemes were inefficient; * Because the instruction set was oriented toward numeric computation, programming of nonnumeric and logical problems was difficult; * Facilities for linking programs such as instructions for calling subroutines that automatically save the address of the calling program were not provided; * Floating point arithmetic was not implemented, mainly due to the cost of hardware needed. Characteristics * Use of Vacuum tubes in electronic circuits and mercury delay lines, * Use of magnetic drum as a primary storage medium, * Had limited main storage capacity(1000-4000 bytes), * Used low level symbolic programming language, * Had heat and maintenance problems, * Used for scientific computations, payroll processing, record keeping. * Processing speed very slow-2000 instructions per second), * Very costly. SECOND GENERATION (1959 - 1960) With the introduction of solid state devices principally transistors, vacuum tube computers were replaced. The invention of the transistor and adoption made the computers more widespread because of its dependability, small size and lower power requirements. The computers were faster, increased storage capacity and required less power to
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