Second Generation Computers (1956-1963) The invention of Transistors marked the start of the second generation.

These transistors took place of the vacuum tubes used in the first generation computers. First large scale machines were made using these technologies to meet the requirements of atomic energy laboratories. One of the other benefits to the programming group was that the second generation replaced Machine language with the assembly language. Even though complex in itself Assemly language was much easier than the binary code. Second generation computers also started showing the characteristics of modern day computers with utilities such as printers, disk storage and operating systems. Many financial information was processed using these computers. In Second Generation computers, the instructions(program) could be stored inside the computer's memory. Highlevel languages such as COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) and FORTRAN (Formula Translator) were used, and they are still used for some applications nowdays. ead More....


SECOND GENERATION COMPUTERS During the period of 1956 to 1963 second generation of computers were developed. The second generation computers emerged with development of Transistors. The transistor was invented in 1947 by three scientists J.

Bardeen, H.W. Brattain and W. Shockley. A transistor is a small device made up of semiconductor material like germanium and silicon. Even though the Transistor were developed in 1947 but was not widely used until the end of 50s. The transistor made the second generation computers faster, smaller, cheaper, more energy-efficient and more reliable than their first-generation computers. Even though the transistor used in the computer generated enormous amount of heat which ultimately would lead to the damage of the computers but was far better than vacuum tubes. Second generation computers used the low level language i.e. machine level language and assembly language which made the programmers easier to specify the instructions. Later on High level language programming were introduced such as COBOL and FORTRAN. Magnetic core was used as primary storage. Second generation computer has faster input /output devices which thus brought improvement in the computer. CHARACTERISTICS 1) Transistors were used in place of vacuum tubes. 2) Second generation computers were smaller in comparison with the first generation computers. 3) They were faster in comparison with the first generation computers. 4) They generated less heat and were less prone to failure. 5) They took comparatively less computational time. 6) Assembly language was used for programming. 7) Second generation computers has faster input/output devices. IBM 7000, NCR 304, IBM 650, IBM 1401, ATLAS and Mark III are the examples of second generation computers.


Second Generation Computers (1956-1963)
The computers built in the 1950s and 1960s are considered the 2nd generation computers. These computers make use of the transistors invented by Bell Telephone laboratories and they had many of the same components as the modern-day computer. For instance, 2nd generation computers typically had a printer, some sort of tape or disk storage, operating systems, stored programs, as well as some sort of memory. These computers were also generally more reliable and were solid in design.

FORTRAN, an acronym for Formula Translator was the first successful programming language. This language used words and sentences instead of the binary machine codes that had been commonplace in computers prior to the 1950s. FORTRAN could be read by ordinary people with no previous programming experience or knowledge, and it made it easier for computers to be programmed. FORTRAN was extremely useful in that given a single statement, many instructions would be produced. FORTAN created programs that were just as good as those produced by human programmers. Not only was it one of the most successful programming languages ever, but it also dominated many other languages for years.

1959: COBOL
COBOL, the Common Business Oriented Language, was invented in 1959. This is a business programming language that allowed for computer programs to be easily read.

1960: PDP-1
DEC, or the Digital Equipment Corporation was founded by Kenneth Olsen and Harland Anderson in 1957. In 1960, DEC introduced the Programmed Data Processor, or PDP-1. The PDP-1 was a mainframe computer famous for its low costs. Compared to other computers that generally cost more than $1 million dollars, at "only" about $120,000 the PDP-1 was considered really cheap! The PDP-1 could be sold at such a low price because it did not contain many advanced peripherals and software. In other computers, these advanced systems amounted to nearly 80% of the computers' cost.

1961: IBM 1400 Series
The IBM 1400 Series were a major breakthrough for IBM. The first computer in this series is the IBM 1401. The 1401 was a computer system that used transistors instead of the vacuum tubes found in previous IBM computers. The system contained many peripherals, which included, among others, a new high-speed printer. This printer could print 600 lines per minute! The total cost of an IBM 1401 was $150,000. 12,000 of these computers were produced.

1962: SpaceWar!
Space War is the first interactive computer game. It was developed by MIT students Slug Russell, Shag Graetz, and Alan Kotok for the PDP-1 computer. In this game, players must battle against enemy spaceships and face obstacles like the gravity of the sun. The players used primitive joysticks to maneuver their ships. SpaceWar has helped to inspired future video games.

Late 1960s: Integrated Circuit
Introduced in the 1960s simultaneously by Texas Instruments and by Fairchild Semi-Conductor, the integrated circuit combines many tiny transistors and other electrical components onto a small silicon chip. It replaced the need for individual transistors. Later, these integrated circuits were refined so that one small chip could contain thousands of transistors, as well as other similar components. As more and more components were squeezed into a small silicon chip, the size of computers gradually decreased.

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Ferrite core memory and magnetic drums replaced cathode ray tubes and delay-line storage for main memory. Index registers and floating point arithmetic hardware became widespread. Machine-independent high level programming languages such asALGOL, COBOL and Fortran were introduced to simplify programming. I/O processors were introduced to supervise input-output operations independently of the CPU thus freeing the CPU from time-consuming housekeeping functions. The CPU would send the I/O processor an initial instruction to start operating and the I/O processor would then continue independently of the CPU. When completed, or in the event of an error, the I/O processor sent an interrupt to the CPU. Batch processing became feasible with the improvement in I/O and storage technology in that a batch of jobs could be prepared in advance, stored on magnetic tape and processed on the computer in one continuous operation placing the results on another magnetic tape. It became commonplace for auxiliary, small computers to be used to process the input and output tapes off-line thus leaving the main computer free to process user programs. Computer manufacturers began to provide system software such as compilers, subroutine libraries and batch monitors. With the advent of second generation computers it became necessary to talk about computer systems, since the number of memory units, processors, I/O devices, and other system components could vary between different installations, even though the same basic computer was used. The instruction repertoire of the IBM 7094 (a typical second generation machine) had over 200 instructions including data transfer instructions for transferring a word of information between the CPU and memory or between two CPU registers; fixed-point and floating point arithmetic instructions; logic instructions (AND, OR etc.); instructions for modifying index registers; conditional and unconditional branching; subroutines; input-output operations for transferring data between I/O devices and main memory.

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