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Unformatted text preview: computers were manufactured using transistors instead of vacuum
tubes. Due to the properties of transistors listed above, the second-generation computers
were more powerful, more reliable, less expensive, smaller, and cooler to operate than the
first-generation computers. The second generation also experienced a change in storage
technology. The memory of the second-generation computers was composed of magnetic
cores. Magnetic cores were small rings made of ferrite which could be magnetized in
either clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. Several magnetic cores were strung on a
mesh of wires to construct large random access memories having storage capacity of few
tens of kilo bytes.
In 1957, magnetic tape was introduced as a faster and more convenient secondary storage
medium. At that time, a single tape could hold the contents of approximately 1000
punched cards. Later magnetic disk storage was also developed, and magnetic disk and
magnetic tape were the main secondary storage media used in second-generation
computers, although punched" cards were still popular and widely used for preparing
programs and data to be fed to the computer.
On the software front, the second generation saw the emergence of high-level
programming languages and batch operating systems. High-level programming languages
like FORTRAN, COBOL, ALGOL and SNOBOL were developed during the second
generation period, which were much easier for people to understand and work with than
assembly or machine languages. Hence second-generation computers were easier to
program and use than first-generation computers. The introduction of batch operating
system allowed multiple jobs to be batched together and submitted at a time, and
automatic transition from one job to another as soon as the former job finished. This
concept helped in reducing human intervention while processing multiple jobs, resulting
in faster processing, enhanced thoughput, and easier operation of second-generation
The second generation also saw an increase in the type of computer applications....
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This document was uploaded on 04/07/2014.
- Spring '14