Computer Generations

Overview Computer technology has undergone many major advances in the last 60 years. Computer historians have attempted to categorize the different technological advances into "generations", that is, eras of computer technology grouped by age and technological advancement. However, the exact number of generations of computer development is unclear. Experts have suggested that the number of generations range from three to five, or more. Regardless of the exact number of computer generations, there are distinct leaps in technology that have lead to the development of modern computers. A keen observer may even be able to identify, or even predict, the next generation of computers. 

Computer History Resources To fully understand the distinct generations in the development of the computer, knowledge of computer history is essential. For a basic introduction, visit the computer history timeline found at inventors.about.com/library/blcoindex.htm. A slightly more in-depth history can be accessed at www.webopedia.com/. Here, you can also find links to other sites with computer history information. The portal ftp.arl.mil/~mike/comphist/ allows you to research many different aspects of computer history, including early computer prototype information and online computer museums.

Generations of Modern Computers How many changes has the computer undergone to reach its current state? No one knows for sure, but there have been distinct phases in technological development. These technological developments include the invention of the vacuum tube, the transistor, and the microprocessor. Any of the following links will provide you with information of the importance of these technologies in the development of today’s PC.

Future Generations of Computers What trends in today’s computer technologies will lead to the next generation of computers? What other technologies will play an important role in the development of the next generation of computers? Answers to these questions and more are available at any of the following Web pages, including information ranging from robotics, to programming computers with emotion recognition.