In addition to improved processing and storage

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Unformatted text preview: eneration, there were significant advancements in the area of large-scale computer systems. In addition to improved processing and storage capabilities of mainframe systems, the fourth-generation saw the advent of supercomputers based on parallel vector processing and symmetric multiprocessing technologies. A supercomputer based on parallel vector processing technology contains a small number of custom-designed vector processors which are connected to a number of high-speed data access shared memory modules through a custom-designed, high-bandwidth crossbar switch network. On the other hand, a supercomputer based on symmetric multiprocessing technology uses commodity microprocessors, which are connected to a shared memory through a high-speed bus or a crossbar switch network. Primary builders of the supercomputers of the former category included Cray Research and ETA Systems, whereas of the latter category included IBM, Silicon Graphics and Digital Equipment Corporation. Another significant development during the fourth-generation period was the spread of high-speed computer networking, which enabled multiple computers to be connected together so that they could communicate and share data. Local area networks (LANs) became popular for connecting several dozen or even several hundred computers within an organization or within a campus, and wide area networks (WANs) became popular for connecting computers located at larger distances. This gave rise to network of computers and distributed systems. On the software front, there were several new developments that emerged to match the new technologies of the fourth generation. For example, several new operating systems were developed for PCs. Notable among these were MS-DOS and MS-Windows, which were, used on IBM PCs and its clones, and Apple's propriety OS, which was used on Apple's PCs. Because PCs were to be used by individuals who were not computer professionals, to make computers more user friendly (easier to use), companies developed graphical user interfaces. A graphical user interface (GUI)...
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This document was uploaded on 04/07/2014.

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