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COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology

Oxford University Press, 2007


TYPES OF
COMPUTERS
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
The modern computing era began in the 1940s as
eIectronic circuits, reIays, capacitors and vacuum
tubes repIaced mechanicaI equivaIents, and digitaI
caIcuIations repIaced anaIog caIcuIations. The
computers designed and constructed during this
time have sometimes been caIIed first generation
computers.
First generation computers were usuaIIy buiIt by
hand using circuits containing reIays or vacuum
vaIves (tubes), and often used punched cards or
punched paper tape for input and as the main (non-
voIatiIe) storage medium.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
This circuit board bIock is one of hundreds of bIocks
that heId the 4000 vacuum tubes for IBM's ModeI 701,
it's first computer intended for scientific work.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Punched Cards were
used wideIy in the
computers of the 1950's,
1960's and 1970's.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
John MauchIy and J. Presper Eckert designed the
ENIAC (ectronic Numerica Integrator and
Computer), often caIIed the first eectronic generaI-
purpose computer.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
It was a 1,000 times faster
than its contemporaries. This
was cruciaI for the
deveIopment of modern
computing, partIy because of
the enormous speed
advantage, but more
importantIy because of the
potentiaI for miniaturization.
Work began on the computer
in 1941 and was compIeted in
1945.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
The invention of the transistor in 1947 proved to be
the next major step. This repIaced the fragiIe and
power-consuming vaIves with a much smaIIer and
more reIiabIe component. Computers with
transistors are caIIed second generation computers
and were quite popuIar in the Iate 1950s and earIy
1960s. Inspite of using transistors and printed
circuits these computers were stiII Iarge and mainIy
meant for universities, governments, and Iarge
corporations.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
In 1964 IBM announced the $ series, which was the
first of its kind that couId run the same software at
different combinations of speed, capacity and price. It
aIso was the first system to process different types of
data, not just mathematicaI caIcuIations.
The use of computers became widespread with the third
generation computers. They were based on Jack St.
CIaire KiIby's and Robert Noyce's independent invention
of the integrated circuit or the microchip.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
The integrated circuit aIIowed the deveIopment of much
smaIIer computers that began to bring computing into
many smaIIer businesses.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
The fourth generation computers began with Marcian
Hoff's invention of the microprocessor.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
On November 15, 1971, Inte reIeased the worId's first
commerciaI microprocessor, the . CoupIed with
InteI's # chip, which was based on an invention by
Bob Dennard of IBM, the microprocessor made it
possibIe for fourth generation computers to be smaIIer
and faster than ever before. The 4004 was deveIoped
and improved upon, and today we have the Pentium 4
and the Iatest chip from InteI, the Pentium 4 Extreme
Edition with Hyper-Threading TechnoIogy.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
There are now four types of computers today, nameIy,
supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers and
microcomputers.
Supercomputers
A supercomputer is a computer with a huge processing
capacity and a very high speed of caIcuIation. The first
supercomputers, introduced in the 1960s, were
designed by Seymour Cray and his team at ControI
Data Corporation (CDC). Cray Iater Ieft to form his own
company, Cray Research.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
A Cray supercomputer might Iook Iike a set of
Iarge futuristic fiIing cabinets. But the SV1 is
among the fastest computers on earth.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
$peciapurpose supercomputers are high-performance
computing devices with a hardware architecture
dedicated to a singIe probIem. They are used for
appIications such as astrophysicaI caIcuIations or for
codebreaking. For exampIe, Deep BIue for pIaying
chess, GRAPE for astrophysics.
The fastest supercomputer today is the arth $imuator
at the Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences, Japan.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
PARAM is a series of supercomputers deveIoped by the
Centre for DeveIopment of Advanced Computing (C-
DAC) in Pune, India. The newest supercomputer in this
series is the PARAM Padma. Others incIude PARAM
10000 and PARAM 9000/SS. PARAM 10000 is India's
first TFLOPs (one triIIion fIoating point operations per
second) computer.
PARAM 10000 is used mainIy for
Iong-range weather forecasting,
remote sensing, drug design and
moIecuIar modeIIing.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Mainframes
ainframes are Iarge, powerfuI, and expensive
computers used mainIy by Iarge companies for buIk
data processing (such as bank transaction
processing).
The term arose during the earIy 1970s with the
introduction of smaIIer computers which became
known as minicomputers, so the term mainframe was
coined for the Iarger, earIier types.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
These machines can and do run successfuIIy for years
without interruption, with repairs taking pIace whiIe
they are in operation. Often, mainframes support
thousands of simuItaneous users.
The distinction between supercomputers and
mainframes is quite bIurred. In generaI,
supercomputers are meant for compIicated caIcuIations
that take pIace IargeIy in memory, whiIe mainframes are
meant for simpIe computations invoIving huge amounts
of externaI data accessed from databases.
Supercomputers tend to focus on processing scientific
and miIitary data, whiIe mainframes tend to be used for
business and civiIian government appIications
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Minicomputers
inicomputers was a term evoIved in the earIy 1970s to
describe the third generation computers that became
possibIe with the use of the newIy invented microchip.
Few minicomputers are stiII in use, having
been repIaced by fourth generation computers
buiIt using a more advanced version of the
microprocessor technoIogy than is used in
personaI computers. These are referred to as
servers, taking the name from the server
software they run (typicaIIy fie server and
backend database software, incIuding emai
and eb server software).
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Microcomputers
GeneraIIy, a microcomputer (now commonIy caIIed a
persona computer or a PC) is a computer with a
microprocessor as its CPU. They are very compact
and can be easiIy accommodated on a study tabIe.
After the Iaunch by IBM of their IBM
personaI computer (IBM PC), the term
persona computer became popuIar for
a consumer-friendIy microcomputer.
The second generation of
microcomputers (8-bit, earIy 1980s)
were often referred to as home
computers.
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Supercomputer A supercomputer is a computer with a
huge processing capacity and a very high speed of
caIcuIation, mainIy meant for scientific purposes.
Mainframe A mainframe is a Iarge, powerfuI computer
used mainIy by companies for buIk data processing.
Minicomputer A minicomputer describes a third
generation computer which uses microchip technoIogy.
They are obsoIete now as they have been repIaced by
servers.
Tricky Terms
COMPUTER SCIENCEInIormation Technology
Oxford University Press, 2007
Server A server is a fourth generation computer buiIt
using a more advanced version of the microprocessor
technoIogy.
Microcomputer A personaI computer or a home
computer.