The Second Generation

In the second-generation computers:

·         Vacuum tube technology was replaced by transistorized technology,

·         Size of the computers started reducing,

·         Assembly language started being used in place of machine language,

·         Concept of stored program emerged,

·         High level languages were invented.

This was the generation of Transistorized Computers. Vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors. As a result, the size of the machines started shrinking. These computers were smaller, faster, more reliable and more energy efficient. The first transistorized computer was TX-0. The first large scale machines that took advantage of the transistor technology were the early supercomputers, Stretch by IBM and LARC by Sperry Rand. These machines were mainly developed for atomic energy laboratories. Typical computers of the second generation were the IBM 1400 and 7000 series, Honeywell 200 and General Electric.


IBM 1401 was universally accepted throughout the industry and most large businesses routinely processed financial information using second generation computers. The machine language was replaced by assembly language. Thus the long and difficult binary code was replaced with abbreviated programming code which was relatively easy to understand.

The stored program concept and programming languages gave the computers flexibility to finally be cost effective and productive for business use. The stored program concept implied that the instructions to run a computer for a specific task were held inside the computer’s memory and could quickly be modified or replaced by a different set of instructions for a different function. High level languages like COBOL, FORTRAN and AL- GOL were dev eloped. Computers started finding vast and varied applications. The entire software industry began with the second-generation computers.

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