Fourth Generation of Computer

The time period of the fourth generation of computers was 1971-1980. The fourth generation of computer was developed using VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated) Circuit. Therefore, they are also known as microprocessors. A microprocessor was used for logical and arithmetic functions on a computer. 5000 transistors and other circuit elements were on a single chip. Therefore, it was possible to build a microcomputer in this generation.

The First Personal Computer (PC) was developed by IBM. The use of PCs increased in the fourth generation. Fourth-generation computers were supercomputers compared to the previous generation computers. Many high-level programming languages like C, C++, DBASE, etc., were used in computers. Many different applications like Data management, report generation, GUI development,  mathematical optimization, and web development were included in the fourth generation. Also, a Networking system was added in this generation of computers.

History of Fourth Generation Computer

The Intel 4404 computer was developed by the Intel company in 1971.  It was the first microprocessor computer.  The microprocessor was the beginning of modern computers.  VLSI technology was used in the computers of this generation.  The idea of ​​VLSI technology took a major turn in the computer world.

In 1975, the ALTAIR 8800 was developed by MITS.  Ed Roberts was the head of MITS. The ALTAIR 8800 was the first personal computer (PC).  This computer used a sleek metal and an Intel 8080 CPU chip (previously 16-bit microprocessor). This time the basic language was used in computers, written by Paul Allen and Bill Gates.  This was the first product of the Microsoft company.

fourth generation computer

The Microsoft company was founded on 4 April 1975, by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  It is a software company. The name of this company was derived from microprocessing software. MITS Company was the first partner of Microsoft.  Windows 1.0 was developed by Microsoft in 1985. It was a 16-bit graphical operating environment. Many software and operating systems like Windows 1.0, OS / 2, Windows 3.0, etc. were developed by Microsoft.

The Apple I (Apple Computer) was developed in 1976 by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were co-founders of the Apple company. Apple I was a personal computer. 

Sometime later, Apple II was launched. It was one of the first highly successful mass generating home microcomputers. In addition, Disk II was developed by Apple in 1978.  It is a floppy disk drive for storage. 

Macintosh Computer was developed in 1984.  It was based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor. However, it was not initially commercially successful. In 1980 Apple launched the Apple III series. But, it failed due to overheating problems. Many computers were developed by the Apple company in the fourth generation.

Some popular computers of fourth generation are:-

  • IBM 4341
  • DEC 10
  • STAR 1000
  • PDP 11 
  • CRAY-1 (Supercomputer) 
  • CRAY-X-MP (Supercomputer)
IBM fourth generation computer

Features of Fourth Generation Computer

The main features of fourth generation computer are, 

  • Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) Circuits used in these computers.
  • Use of Personal Computer (PC).
  • Pipeline processing in the computer system.
  • The great development in the field of networks.
  • The concept of the Internet was introduced.
  • Time-sharing added in computer Distributed operating system used.
  • High-level language like C, C++, DBASE, etc., were used.
  • Powerful and reliable.
  • Consumed less electricity.
  • Produced negligible heat.
  • No AC required on the computer.
  • Very small size and portable.
  • Computer becomes easily available in the market.
  • Very cheap as compared to previous generation computers.

Fourth Generation Programming Language

The fourth-generation language was developed by improving the language of the previous generation.  The fourth-generation programming language was used from 1970–1990.  In the fourth generation, several programming languages ​​such as Pascal, Smalltalk, C, SQL, C++, Objective-C, Perl were used.  

Some advanced programming languages ​​such as Python, Ruby, Java, PHP, JavaScript began to be used after some time.  The use of these programming languages ​​is easy in computers.  Fourth generation languages ​​were more powerful than previous generation languages.

The languages ​​of this generation included data management, report generation, GUI development, mathematical optimization, and web development. The main focus of the programming language was the development of reports, databases, and websites in the fourth generation. Therefore, fourth-generation computers had become more programmer-friendly, versatile, and more machine-independent. 

The main advantage of high-level programming languages ​​is that they are easy to read, write and maintain.  The development of the fifth generation programming language began in the 1980s.

C Language

In 1972, the C programming language was developed by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. C language was developed for the UNIX operating system. The UNIX operating system was developed by Kenneth Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. C language was developed based on an earlier language called ‘B’. C is a general-purpose programming language. It has become one of the most popular programming languages. Many programming languages like C++, C#Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and Python are derivatives of the C language.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

SQL was developed in 1972 by two IBM scientists Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlain.  Many companies like Microsoft and Accenture used SQL.  SEQUEL was used to transform and view the information stored in the database.

C++ Languages

In 1983, the C++ language was developed at Bell Labs by Brazen Stroustrup.  C++ language is the developed version of C language. Classes, virtual functions, and templates were added to the C++ language. This programming language is used in the game engines, Adobe Photoshop, MS Office, and other high-performance software. C++ is listed in the top programming language.


Objective-C was developed in 1983 by Brad Cox and Tom Love.  It was used by the Apple company to develop software for iOS and MacOS.

Advantages of Fourth Generation Computer

There are many advantages of fourth generations computers. The main advantages are,

  • Due to the VLSI technology, the computer was very small in size.
  • Distributed operating systems and high level language like C, C++, DBASE etc., were used  in computers. Therefore, computers were more powerful and faster work.
  • Concept of the Internet was introduced.
  • Great development in the field of networks.
  • Time-sharing was also added in fourth generation computers. 
  • Computers were Portable and very Reliable.
  • Use of Personal Computer (PC) was increased in the fourth generation.
  • Heat generated was negligible. Therefore, no AC is required in the computer system.
  • Computers were very cheap in the fourth generation.
  • Computers become easily available in the market.

Disadvantages of fourth-generation computers

  • Due to the use of IC (Integrated Circuits), AC is required in many cases.
  • The Design of microprocessors was very complex.
  • The advanced technology was required for the manufacturing of IC.

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