History of Computers - Timeline of Computer Technology

History of Computers - Timeline of Computer Technology

History of Computer

Computer today has become an important part of our lives. Infact today we are living in the age of Information Revolution which is much to be owed, to the ability of computers of disseminating information at an incredible speed. From education to entertainment and from communication to business, computers are present everywhere. Thus in this, era of Information, it is crucial to have the basic knowledge of computer, its parts, its components and its application find way in a variety of fields. A sound theoretical base of computer and its applications would enhance the knowledge level of the reader and would definitely make the journey in the colorful world of computers, an exciting one. 
Generations of Computer: The first four generations of computers were based on, vacuum tube technology; the transistor and integrated circuit technology; and the very large scale integrated (VLSl) technology, respectively. 
The important feature of the fourth generation VLSI technology was the use of a microchip weighing a few grams. A thin silicon chip using 0.13 micron technology has a memory capacity of one Gigabyte (1 09bit). Today the development has entered the area of "artificial Intelligence' These are generally called as fifth generation of computers. 


The genesis of mechanical/digital computing can be traced back to Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and GW Liebnitz (1646-1716). However, Charles Babbage (1792-1871) was the first to imagine a machine that could process data. He designed 1st difference engine and analytical engine and an all purpose calculating machine. He is rightly known as the father of computer science. 


  • Zero and one in their endless combination constitute binary system on which computers are based. A scheme of numeration with base ten requires, ten symbols or ciphers (including zero), whereas arithmetic with the base two requires only two ciphers: 0 and 1. 
  • The binary numbers for the following numbers are written as 0-0, 1-1,2-10,3-11,4-100,5-101,6-110,7-111,8-1000, 9-1001,10-1010,11-1011,15-1111,16-10000. 
  • Under the binary system all ordinary arithmetical operations are reduced to its simplest form. The binary system of numeration was used early in the 17th century by Thomas Harriot.


Computer can be classified into five types – Portable Computer, Mini Computer, Mainframe Computer, Micro Computer and Super Computer

Portable Computer: These are the computers which be carried from one place to another in the form of a briefcase or diary. It includes Laptop, Notebook and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

Micro Computer: These are single user computers. Micro computers are often called as personal computers (PCs). The home computer is a PC providing education, entertainment, information and communication facility at home.

Mini Computer: They are medium level, multiuser computers. As compared to Mainframe Computers, these computers operate at slower speeds and have lesser memory. These are used by Insurance companies, Bank, Factories for keeping the records. 

Mainframe Computer: Mainframe computers are expensive, large centralized computers. It is a multiuser computer and has large memory. It is capable of having speeds of the order of several billions of floating point operations per second. These computers help in railway reservation and such other operations. 

Super Computer: Super computers are extensively used for solving very large computational problems in scientific research, engineering, industry, defense and business for variety of applications like molecular dynamics, aerospace, nuclear-weapon, seismic studies, oil-explorations, geology etc. ANUPAM, Cray-1, Param Padma are some super computers. 


  • 1938: Konrad Zuse built the World's first binary diigital-computer, the Z1. 
  • 1948: Claude Shannon identified the bit as the fundamental unit of data and the basic unit of computation. . 
  • 1955: The first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC developed. 
  • 1958: Jack Kilby created the 1st integrated circuit.
  • 1960: COBOL designed for business use. 
  • 1964: BASIC Created. 
  • 1965: PDP-8, the first commercially successful mini computer developed. 
  • 1973: Ethernet technique of network connection devised 
  • 1984: Apple Computer launched the Macintosh, the 1st successful mouse driven computer. 
  • 1989: Virtual Reality, a computer generated 3-D environment developed. 
  • 1993: Intel introduces Pentium Processor. 
  • 2000: Microsoft unveils Windows 2000. Intel announces Pentium 4. 
  • Microsoft unveils its C# (C-sharp) language.


  • The CraY-1 is the 1st super-computer. It was designed and built by Seymour Cray in 1976. 
  • The first multiprocessor super computer is Cray X-MP. It was developed in 1988. 
  • The first wireless super computer is Cray- T 90. 
  • In India, BARC, since 1991 is involved in developing series of parallel computing architectures to meet high performance computing needs of in-house researchers. 
  • Super computers developed in India are PARAM, ANUPAM, MTPPS, PACE, CHIPPS, FLOSOLVER MK5. 
  • In 2003, India developed 'Param Padma'. It was developed after four years of research and at a total cost of Rupees fifty crore.


  • e-book: An electronic book that is published in a formal that is small in size, portable and at the same time has all, the features of a print version of book. 
  • e-paper: It is a portable, reusable storage and display medium that can be repeatedly written on several times. It is use for applications such as e-book, e-Newspaper etc. 
  • e-library: It is a virtual library that stores and delivers exclusive content. Collection of articles, reports, features & tools. 
  • e-tailware: It is the software for creating on-line catalogues, ordering forms, credit checking and similar services for Web sites that sell goods and services to consumers. 
  • e-mail: Electronic mail it is the act of sending and receiving messages through internet. 
  • e-governance: It is the application of Information and Communication Technologies to the process of government functioning. Its objective is to provide speedy, responsive and transparent governance. Various e-governance projects have been launched in India. These include, 'Gyandoot' (Madhya Pradesh), “FRIENDS” (Kerala), “AKSHAYA” (Kerala)

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