The development of electronic computers had clearly helped to visualize the concept of computer. The computer system has teken a big leap forward with each technological breakthrough during the development process. The functions performed by the computers and speed of their operations have been changing. There have been a great variation in size and cost of the computers.
Technological breakthrough in hardware and software resulted into more and more advanced computer system belonging to one particular technological class (or trend) is said to belong to a particular computer generation.
FIRST GENERATION COMPUTER ( 1945 - 1955)
First generation computer used vacuum tubes as memory devices. The computers were large size and very costly and used the assembly language for programming.
- Colossus was the first electronic computer of this era. It's every aspect was kept secret by British Government.
- In 1945, Von Neumann Architecture was introduced. Eckert and Mauchley began working on EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) but it never completed. Later Von Neumann developed his own EDVAC (IAS machine).
- In 1946, the development of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), which was started in 1943, was completed.
- Some other computers of this generation are UNIVAC, MARK II, MARK III, Z2, Z4, SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic calculator) and some IBM computers series such as IBM 604, IBM 650, IBM 701, IBM 702.
- In 1954, first version of FORTRAN (Formula Translator) was published by IBM.