The Fourth Generation

The general features of the fourth-generation computers were:

·         Use of Very Large-Scale Integration,

·         Invention of microcomputers,

·         Introduction of Personal Computers,

·         Networking,

·         Fourth Generation Languages.


         The third-generation computers made use of ‘Integrated Circuits that had 10- 20 components on each chip, this was Small Scale Integration (SSI).

The Fourth Generation realized Large Scale Integration (LSI) which could fit hundreds of components on one chip and Very Large-Scale integration (VLSI) which squeezed thousands of components on one chip. The Intel 4004 chip located all the components of a computer (central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on a single chip and microcomputers were introduced. Higher capacity storage media like magnetic disks were developed. Fourth generation languages emerged, and applications software’s started becoming popular.

Computer production became inexpensive and the era of Personal Computers (PCs) commenced. In 1981, IBM introduced its personal computer for use in office, home and schools. In direct competition, the Macintosh was introduced by Apple in 1984. Shared interactive systems and user-friendly environments were the features of these computers.

As the computers started becoming more and more powerful, they could be linked together or networked to share not only data but also memory space and software. The networks could reach enormous proportions with local area networks. A Global web of computer circuitry, the Internet, links the computers worldwide into a single network of information.

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