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first-generation computers were mainly used for scientific computations. But in the
second generation an increasing usage of computers was seen in business and industry for
commercial data processing applications like payroll, inventory control, marketing, and
The ease of use of second-generation computers also gave birth to the new profession of
programmers and systems analysts in computing, which is more oriented towards usage rather than design of computers. This also triggered the introduction of computer science
related courses in several colleges and universities.
The characteristic features of second-generation computers are as follows:
1. They were more than ten times faster than the first-generation computers. They were
able to reduce computation times from milliseconds to microseconds.
2. They were much smaller in size than first-generation computers, requiring smaller
space for installation.
3. Although the heat dissipation was much less than first-generation computers, still the
rooms/areas in which the second-generation computers were located had to be properly
4. They consumed much less power than the first-generation computers.
5. They were much more reliable and less prone to hardware failures than the firstgeneration computers.
6. They had faster and larger primary and secondary storage devices as compared to
They were much easier to program and use than the first-generation computers.
Hence they had wider commercial use.
8. In these computers, thousands of individual transistors had to be assembled manually
by hand into functioning circuits. Hence commercial production of these computers was
difficult and costly.
(a) A Vacuum Tube
(b) A Transistor
(c) An lC Chip
Third Generation (1964-1975)
Advances in electronics technology continued and in 1958, Jack St. Clair Kilby and
Robert Noyce invented the first integrated circuit. Integrated circuits (called ICs) are
circuits consisting of several electronic components like transistors, resistors, and
capacitors grown on a s...
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This document was uploaded on 04/07/2014.
- Spring '14