Computers between 1959 to 1965 are called second generation computers. In second generation computers, transistors were used as processors instead of vacuum tubes.
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to regulate current or amplify an input signal into a greater output signal.
The transistor was invented in 1947 at Bell Labs. It was much better than the vacuum tube.
Due to the use of transistors, second generation computers were slightly smaller than first generation computers, but still much larger than today’s computers.
In second generation computers, Assembly languages were used instead of machine language. high-level languages like COBOL and FORTRAN were also developed during the second generation.
Computers of this generation still relied on punch cards for input and printouts for output and used magnetic cores as storage.
Magnetic cores were used as primary memory and magnetic tapes and magnetic disks were used as secondary memory devices.
Batch processing and multiprogramming operating systems were used as operating systems in these computers.
Second generation computers were cheaper than first generation computers, Second generation computer consumed less power, and were significantly faster than first generation computers.
New types of careers such as programmers, analysts, computer systems specialists, and the software industry began with the second generation of computers.
History of Second Generation of Computer
The TX-0 was the first computer to use transistors. It was released in 1956. RCA 501 is another example in which transistor is used.
In addition, Philco Corporation’s Transac S-2000 was one of the first transistor-based computing machines, introduced in 1958.
Soon after, IBM released the IBM 7090, which was completely based on transistors, which was the most powerful data processing system at that time.
These second generation machines were used for a variety of business and scientific tasks and used high-level programming and assembly languages such as FORTRAN (Formula Translator) and COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language).
Some other examples of second generation computers include the UNIVAC 1108, CDC 1604, Honeywell 400, CDC 3600, and more.
Features of Second Generation of Computer
The following are the characteristics of second generation computers:
1) Use of transistor-: Transistor was used in place of vacuum tube in the circuit.
2) Punch card as input/output unit-: Punch card was used for input-output operation.
3) Magnetic Tape and disk as secondary storage-: Magnetic tape and magnetic disk were used as secondary storage devices.
4) Size-: The size of these computers is smaller than the first generation computers because transistors were used instead of vacuum tubes which took up a lot of space as compared to vacuum.
5) Programming in high-level language-: High level languages like FORTON, COBOL, BASIC, etc. were used in computers as computer language.
6) Reliability-: These computers were more reliable as the life of transistors was much higher than that of vacuum tubes.
7) Power consumption-: The transistor consumes less power, and also generates less heat.
8) Cost -: were cheaper than the first generation computers.
9) Speed -: Their processing speed was much faster than the first generation computers.
10) Size -: 2nd generation computers were very small in size as compared to 1st generation computers because now transistors were used in them.
11) AC was needed to keep the second generation cool.
Examples of Second Generation of Computer
The second generation computers are:
- IBM 1620 series
- ibm 700 series
- IBM 7094 I
- IBM 7094 II
- PDP (Programmed Data Processor).
Advantages of Second Generation of Computer
The second generation computers had the following advantages:
- Second generation computers were smaller and more portable due to the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes.
- These could calculate data in microseconds.
- Second generation computers used less energy than the first generation computers, which generated much less heat.
- Second generation computers were cheaper than the first generation computers.
- Their size was smaller than that of first generation computers.
- The problem of hardware failure was somewhat reduced compared to the first generation computers.
- The second generation computers were faster than the first generation computers.
- These computers were more reliable because they used transistors which had a much longer life than vacuum tubes.
Disadvantages of Second Generation of Computer
The second generation computers had the following disadvantages:
- A cooling system was required for these computers.
- They required constant maintenance.
- Second generation computers are used only for a specific purpose.
- These were much more expensive than today’s computers.
- Punch cards were used for input in these.
- It had no operating system and used assembly language
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