This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
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)...
View Full Document
This document was uploaded on 04/07/2014.
- Spring '14