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The Fifth Generation of Computers

Computer Generations - Fifth Generation

The Fifth Generation of Computers

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Fifth Generation of Computer

Up to the fourth generation we saw how computers evolved as the switching devices improved. Fifth generation computers are future computers.

In 1982 Japan started a project named Fifth Generation Computer Systems Project (FGCS) initiated to create a “fifth generation computer” which was supposed to perform much calculation using massive parallel processing.

 The project was to create the computer over a ten year period, after which it was considered ended and investment in a new, Sixth Generation project, began. Opinions about its outcome are divided: Either it was a failure, or it was ahead of its time. Anyway, it’s out of our context for the moment. I just wished to make you aware you of this fact.

Fifth generation computers are anticipated new type of computer based on emerging microelectronic technologies with high computing speeds and parallel processing. Other major expectations out of this generation are the ability to use natural language and acquire artificial intelligence (AI). 

Computers will be able to learn by its experience. These computers are being made using ULSI (Ultra Large Scale IC) and Bio-Chips.

We can see some development in achieving these features already. Parallel processing, voice recognition systems and some level of intelligence is been already realized.

CLARIFICATION: Use natural language – computers will be able to understand and use the language that we use in speaking rather than the specially structured commands we are still using in computers.

Examples of Fifth Generation Computers

If you are looking for the examples of fifth generation computers, PIM/m, PIM/p, PIM/i, PIM/k, PIM/c are the names of fifth generation computers.

Points to Remember for Computer Generations Chapter

  • An international conference in 1962 divided the development of computers into five distinct generations based on main electronic component used on them.
  • The computers that used vacuum tubes are first generation computers and they range the date 1946 to 1958.
  • Vacuum tube diode was first developed by the English physicist Sir John Ambrose Fleming.
  • Vacuum tube triode was invented in 1906 by the American engineer Lee De Forest.
  • First generation computers were very large, consumed a lot of power producing excessive heat. They had low level of accuracy and reliability.
  • Machine language was used to program first generation computers.
  • Because thousands of vacuum tubes were used, they produced a lot of heat. Cooling facility was required in any room where computers were installed. Vacuum tubes were burnt out frequently and maintenance cost was very high. This was the main drawback of first generation of computers.


  • Second generation computers used transistors as their main electronic component. Transistor Was much smaller, produced almost no heat and thus, they had a tremendous impact in development of computers and other electronic devices.
  • Second generation computers were developed in 1959 to 1964
  • Transistors were invented in 1947 by trio Bell Lab scientists – Walter Brattain, John Bardeen, and William Bradford Shockley.
  • Assembly language was used to program second generation computers.
  • Magnetic tapes and disks were used as main secondary storage media.
  • Third generation computers were developed in 1965 to 1974 that used integrated circuits (ICs) also called microchip as main electronic component.
  • Transistors were invented by two scientists independently in 1958 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation.
  • Monitors and Keyboards were introduced in third generation for input and output of data.
    • High level languages were use to program in third generation.
    • Fourth generation computers are developed during 1975 to 1990 which used LSI and VLSI microprocessors.
    • Invention of microprocessors is the most startling development in fourth generation.
    • Personal Computers (PCs) were introduced and are very popular. GUI was developed in fourth generation.
    • The first microprocessor called Intel 4004 was developed by American Intel Corporation in 1971.
    • The fifth generation computer project conducted jointly by several Japanese computer manufacturers under the sponsorship of the Japanese government, emphasized artificial intelligence.
    • Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with designing intelligent computer system that possesses reasoning, learning and thinking capabilities resembling those of a human being.
    • Fifth generation computers will use super conductor technology – Gallium Arsenide chips or Biochips.
    • Quantum computation and nanotechnology will radically change the face of computers in years to come.

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