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completed in 1946 It was typical of first generation computers it weighed 30 tonnes contained 18000 electronic valves and consumed around 25KW of electrical power It was however capable of an amazing100000 calculations a second The next major step in the history of computing was the invention of the transistor in 1947This replaced the inefficient valves with a much smaller and more reliable component Transistorised computers are normally referred to as Second Generation and dominated the late 1950s and early 1960s Despite using transistors and printed circuits these computers were still bulky and strictly the domain of Universities and governments The explosion in the use of computers began with Third Generation computers These relied Jack St Claire Kilbys invention - the integrated circuit or microchip the first integrated circuit was produced in September 1958 but computers using them didnt begin to appear until 1963 While large mainframes such as the IBM 360 increased storage and processing capabilities further the integrated circuit allowed the development of Minicomputers that began to bring computing into many smaller businesses On November 15 1971 Intel released the worlds first microprocessor the 4004 - and a technology on which the fourth generation of computers are based The microprocessor locates much of the computers processing abilities on a single small chip Coupled with another of Intels inventions - the RAM chip Kilobits of memory on a single chip - the microprocessor allowed fourth generation computers to be even smaller and faster than ever before The 4004 was capable of 60000 instructions per second but later processors such as the 8086 that all of Intels processors for the IBM PC and compatibles is based brought ever increasing speed and ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Bibliography vioa
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