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Friday, June 25, 2010

First Generation of Computer and ENIAC

First Generation of Computer and ENIAC
“Generation” in computer talk is a step in technology. It provides a framework for the growth of the computer industry.

Originally, the term ‘generation’ was used to distinguish between varying hardware technologies. But nowadays, it has been extended to include both the hardware and software which together make up an entire computer system.

The custom of referring to the computer era in terms of generation came into wide use only after 1964. There are totally five computer generations known till today.

First Generation Computers
First generation computer came into existence in late 1940’s which used vacuum tubes. That is switching electric current in valve was used to manipulate symbols and numbers.

The first generation of computer started with development of ENIAC.

ENIAC
ENIAC or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator was the first large scale valve based computer, developed by J. P. Eckert and J. W. Mauchly, in Moore School of Engineering at university of Pennsylvania in United States.

It was the electronic version of the Mark-1. Completed in 1946, ENIAC used electronic components instead of mechanical relays and was too faster than Mark-1.

It speed can be judged by the fact that it look one day to solve a problem which was solved in 30 days by other company at that time. It could perform 5000 additions or 350 multiplications in one second. This was a very huge about 30 tones weight computer fitted with 70,000 resistors, 60,000 capacitors and 60,000 switches and occupied 1500 sq ft space sufficient for big car large.

It is said that when ENIAC was switched on, the lights of Philadelphia city got dimmed. Similarly the heat radiation by this computer was too high. So cooling units were used to cool it.

Due to enormous amount of heat generated by the vacuum tubes fitted in ENIAC one of them would blow every five minutes. So a small group of engineers was there to just replace the blown valves with good ones.
First Generation of Computer and ENIAC
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