Before leaping onto the five generation of computers and thier history, you should first learn what generation means in computer science.

The Five Generation of computers and their history

As the computers got better and better, we began writing down their modifications. We can recognize how much computer systems have advanced from the beginning.

It is a data report which tells you ways computer systems got smaller, inexpensive, faster, and less complicated to use.

In computer science, generation refers to modifications or enhancements in computer systems that have been made at that time. Those modifications encompass software programs and hardware as well.

There aren’t any specific names for the computer generation, and we name them via their generation number, like first-generation computers, second-generation computers, etc.

So how many generations of computers are there?

  1. First generation computers systems (1946-1959)
  2. Second generation computers systems (1959-1965)
  3. Third generation computers systems (1965-1971)
  4. Fourth generation computers systems (1971-1980)
  5. Fifth generation computers systems (1980-present)

First-generation computers systems (1946-1959): 

First generation computers

From the year 1946 to 1959 is referred to as first of the FIVE Generation of Computers and their history. The first generation computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. And those computer systems were humongous in size. Nearly as big as a room.

The first generation computers used batch processing operating systems, and Punched cards, Paper tape, Magnetic tape Input & Output tools were used. 

Even though making computer systems with vacuum tubes was a massive thing in computer systems, there have been many dangers of first-generation computer systems. 

Benefits and drawbacks of first-generation computer systems:


  • First generation computers systems have been primarily based totally on vacuum tubes.
  • Machine language was used for programming.


  • The OS of first-gen computer systems was very slow.
  • They were big.
  • They generated an excessive amount of heat.
  • Hard to program and use
  • The first-gen computer systems were unreliable.

Computer systems of this generation :


Second-generation computers systems (1959-1965):

second generations computers

From 1959 to 1965, the second generation of computer systems became advanced. 

In the second generation of computer, to lessen the dimensions and price of preceding-generation computer systems, transistors have been used that turned into inexpensive, devouring much less power, more excellent dependability, and faster.

In the second generation of computer, high-level programming languages like FORTRAN, COBOL have been used.

The computer systems used batch processing and multiprogramming operating systems.

Benefits and drawbacks of second generation of computer systems:


  • Use of transistors
  • Reliable in comparison to first-generation computer systems
  • More miniature in comparison to first-generation computer systems
  • Generated much less heat in comparison to first-generation computer systems
  • Consumed much less electricity in comparison to first-generation computer systems
  • Faster than first-generation computer systems
  • Supported machine and assembly languages


  • Very costly
  • AC power required

Some computer systems of this generation were :

IBM 1620
IBM 7094
CDC 1604
CDC 3600

Third-generation computers systems (1965-1971):

Third generation computers

From the year 1965-1971 is referred to as the third generation of computer.

During this era, the third generation of computer systems evolved and started using Integrated Circuits (ICs) in place of transistors.

An integrated circuit was used withinside the third generation of computer systems.

An integrated circuit (IC) is a set of many transistors, resistors, and capacitors alongside the related circuitry.

In this generation, Remote processing, Time-sharing, Real-time, Multiprogramming Operating Systems have been used. High-level languages (FORTRAN-II TO IV, COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, BASIC, ALGOL-68, etc.) have been used for the duration of this generation.

Benefits and drawbacks of third-generation computer systems:


  • IC used
  • More dependable in contrast to the preceding two generations
  • Smaller size
  • Generated much less heat
  • Faster
  • Lesser maintenance
  • Consumed lesser power
  • Supported high-level language


  • AC required
  • Costly

Some computer systems of this generation have been:

IBM-360 series
Honeywell-6000 series
PDP (Personal Data Processor)

Fourth-gen computers systems (1971-1980):

Fourth generation computers

Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits were used in the fourth generation of computer systems.

During the years 1971-1980, the fourth generation of computer systems became advanced. As opposed to integrated circuits computer systems, fourth-generation used Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits.

VLSI turned into a sophisticated model of incorporated circuits.

VLSI circuits having approximately 5000 transistors and different circuit factors with their related circuits on an available chip made it possible to have microcomputers of the fourth generation of computer.

The fourth generation of computer systems turned into loads higher than the preceding generation computer systems and as a result it gave upward thrust to the Personal Computer (PC) revolution.

In this generation, time-sharing, real-time networks, and distributed operating systems have been used. All the high-level languages like C, C++, DBASE, etc., have been utilized in this generation.

Benefits of fourth-generation computer systems:


  • VLSI generation used
  • Very cheap
  • Portable and dependable
  • Use of PCs
  • Minimal size
  • Pipeline processing
  • No AC required
  • The concept of the internet introduced
  • Significant trends withinside the fields of networks
  • Computers have become readily available


  • DEC 10
  • STAR 1000
  • PDP 11
  • CRAY-1 (Supercomputer)
  • CRAY-X-MP (Supercomputer)

Fifth-gen computers systems (1980-present):

Fifth generation computers

The duration of the fifth generation of computer is 1980-present, and they’re still improving.

In the fifth generation of computer, VLSI generation has become ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) generation, ensuing withinside the manufacturing of microprocessor chips with ten million electronic components.

The fifth generation of computer is primarily based totally on parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software programs. 

AI is a rising department in computer science, which translates the approach and strategies of creating computer systems to think like human beings. 

All the high-level languages like C and C++, Java, .Net, Python, etc., are utilized in this generation including fast, responsive, and beautiful operating systems.

AI includes:

Neural Networks
Game Playing
Development of professional structures to make choices in real-life situations
Natural language understanding and generation


  • ULSI technology
  • Development of genuine artificial intelligence
  • Development of Natural language processing
  • Advancement in Parallel Processing
  • Advancement in Superconductor generation
  • More user-friendly interfaces with multimedia functions
  • Availability of very practical and compact computer systems.


  • Can be expensive.

Some computer styles of this generation are :


So these were the five generation of computers and their history. The generation that we’re living in, i.e., the fifth generation, is very advanced and way ahead of its time.  Maybe that’s why we never needed the sixth generation yet! But what happens when Super AI kicks in? Maybe we’ll need the sixth-gen then.