Generation in computer terminology is a change in technology a computer is/was being used. Initially, the generation term was used to distinguish between varying hardware technologies. Nowadays, generation includes both hardware and software, which together make up an entire computer system.
There are five computer generations known to date. Each generation has been discussed in detail along with their time period and characteristics. In the following table, approximate dates against each generation have been mentioned, which are normally accepted.
The following are the main five generations of computers.
The period of the first generation: 1946-1959. Vacuum tube-based.
The period of second generation: 1959-1965. Transistor based.
The period of third generation: 1965-1971. Integrated Circuit based.
The period of fourth generation: 1971-1980. VLSI microprocessor based.