The advance of semiconductor technology has made computing affordable.
The reduction in price and improvement in performance has made computer much more affordable and powerful.
The first important improvement of so-called computer is from mechanical to electronic in 1930s.
The first large-scale digital computer ENIVAC was built in 1946 by University of Pennsylvania.
The first generation computer, built between 1939 and 1957, used vacuum tubes, which consumed a lot of power and space. They tend to overheat and burn out quickly; as a result they were expensive and unreliable. They are mainly for scientific use due to its high costs.
The second-generation computers use transistors instead of vacuum tubes. They use less power, take up less space, and become more reliable and less expensive. Now the computers become more affordable and more business can use them.
The third-generation computers use integrated circuit (IC) technology that integrates many electronic components into a single silicon chip, to make computers faster, smaller, and cheaper.
The forth generation computers take one step further and introduce Large-scale integration (LSI) and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) so that we can package an entire processor into a single chip.
Programming has evolved from a tedious error-prone job to machine-assisted, semi-automatic process.
Computers are classified according to their sizes and speed. They are microcomputer, minicomputers, mainframe computers, and super computers.
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