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Third Generation Computers (1964-1971)

Third Generation Computers (1964-1971)

The third generation computers were introduced in 1964. Transistors were miniaturized and placed on silicon chips, called semiconductors, which drastically increased the speed and efficiency of computers. They used Integrated Circuits (ICs). The development of ICs proved to be a milestone in the field of computer and electronics. These ICs are popularly known as chips.

Silicon is the basic material used to make computer chips, transistors, silicon diodes and other electronic circuits and switching devices because its atomic structure makes the element an ideal semiconductor. Silicon is commonly doped, or mixed, with other elements, such as boron, phosphorous and arsenic, to alter its conductive properties. A typical chip is less than ¼-square inches and can contain millions of electronic components (transistors). Computers consist of many chips placed on electronic boards called printed circuit boards. There are different types of chips. For example, CPU chips (also called microprocessors) contain an entire processing unit, whereas memory chips
contain blank memory.

A single IC, has many transistors, registers and capacitors built on a single thin slice of silicon. Development in ICs ranges from small scale integration (SSI) to medium scale integration (MSI). Multilayered printed circuits were developed and core memory was replaced by faster, solid state memories. The IC technology was also known as “microelectronics” technology, since large number of circuit could be integrated on a single chip.

Computers of this generation were small in size, low cost, large memory and processing speed is very high. Higher level language such as BASIC (Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was developed during this period. Integrated solid-state circuitry, improved secondary storage devices, and new input/output devices were the most important advantages in this generation. The new circuitry increased the speed of the computer. Arithmetic and logical operations were now being performed in microseconds or even nanoseconds. The development of mini computers also took place during this generation.

Examples: NCR 395, B6500, IBM 360,370

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