It is in the twentieth century that we enter into the computer age in the real sense. The two most important factors for this are the rapid technological improvements from the early 1900s, and the availability of vast sums of money for computer development as a result of World War II. The first digital computer was completed in 1944. The men responsible for this invention were Professor Howard Aiken and some people from IBM. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathematical problems, all at a very fast rate. In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsylvania, J. Eckert and J. Mauchly, built the first digital computer using parts called vacuum tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC, an acronym in computers came in 1947, when John von Newmann developed the idea of keeping instruction or the computer inside the computer’s memory.
The first-generation of computers, which used vacuum tubes, came out in 1950. These computers could perform thousands of calculations per second. In 1960, the second-generation of computers was developed and these could perform work ten times faster than their predecessors. The reason for this extra speed was the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Second-generation computers were smaller, faster and more dependable than first-generation computers. The third-generation computers appeared in the market in 1965. These computers could do a million calculations a second, which is 1000 times as many as first-generation computers. Unlike second-generation computers, these are controlled by tiny integrated circuits and are consequently smaller and more dependable. Fourth-generation computers have now arrived, and the integrated circuits that are being developed have been greatly reduced in size. Now as many as 1000 tiny circuits fit into a single chip. A chip is a square or rectangular piece of silicon, usually from 1/10 t°1/4 inch, upon which several layers of an integrated circuit are etched or imprinted, after which the circuit is encapsulated in plastic ceramic and metal. Fourth-generation computers are 50 times faster than third-generation computers and can complete approximately 10,000,000 instructions per second.