Third Generation of Computer

The time period of the third (3rd) generation computer was 1965-1971. Mainly transistors were used in the second generation of computers to develop computers, but in the third generation of computer Integrated circuits were introduced.

Jack Kilby was the inventor of the Integrated Circuit. Integrated Circuit used in place of transistors. in a single Integrated Circuit many transistors, capacitors, and resistors can be used. It provided the associated security.

Due to the use of integrated circuits, the computer was smaller in size, efficient, and more reliable. Third-generation computers having remote processing, time-sharing, and multiprogramming operating systems. Many programming languages like COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, FORTRAN-2 to 5, and ALGOL-68 were also used in the 3rd generation computers.

Punch cards, printouts, and monitors were used as input and output devices. punch cards and printouts were switched to keyboards and the monitor was added to the operating system. The Digital Equipment Corporation introduced the first commercial computer.

integrated circuit
Integrated Circuit
Table Of Contents

Third Generation of Computer History

  • In 1961, the first Monolithic Integrated Circuit computer was made by Texas Instruments for the US Air Force. At that time, many Integrated Circuit computers were used by the military.
  • Many computers like Martin MARTAC-420,  AC Spark Plug MAGIC, and Librascope L-90 series were built in 1962. Martin MARTAC-420 was built by an American company:- Martin Marietta Corporation.
  • The UNIVAC-1824 computer was built in 1963.  UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) is a line of electronic digital storage-programmed computers.  It starts with Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation products.
  • In 1965, SDS (Scientific Data Systems) computer model was built by an American computer company, veterans of Packard Bell Corporation and Bendix. This computer was the first commercial 3rd generation computer.
  • Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was developed in 1965. This computer was a digital computer. It could navigate and control the spacecraft.
  • BRLESC-2 (Ballistic Research Laboratories Electronic Scientific Computer model-2) was developed in 1967. BRLESC-1 was a first-generation computer built-in 1962 for the United States Army. BRLESC-2 was a developed version of BRLESC-1. BRLESC-2 was developed using integrated circuits.
  • In 1970, the ROLM 1601 (AN/UYK-12 (V)) computer was built by the ROLM Corporation company. This company was founded in Silicon Valley in 1969. AN/UYK-12 (V) computer developed for military use.
  • In 1971, AN/GYK-12 was developed by Litton Industries for the United States Army. This was an obsolete 32-bit minicomputer. 
third generation computer
Third Generation Computer

Third Generation Computer Name

Many computers have been developed in the 3rd generation. The name of popular third generation computers are,

  • Honeywell-6000 series
  • IBM-360 series 
  • IBM-370/168
  • PDP (Personal Data Processor)
  • TDC-316
  • ICL 2900

Features and Characteristics of Third Generation Computer

Compared to the first and second generation computer the main features / characteristics of third generation computers are,

  • Integrated Circuits were used
  • Consumed less power 
  • Produced less heat
  • AC required in the computer system 
  • Supported multiprogramming operating systems 
  • Used high-level language 
  • Smaller in size
  • Faster work compared to previous generation computer
  • Lesser maintenance 
  • More reliable 
  • Cheaper

Third Generation Programming Language

The third generation language was developed by improving the second generation language, which made it easier to use computers. Many programming languages like FORTRAN, ALGOL, COBOL, C and PASCAL were used in third generation.

The third-generation languages were more powerful than the previous generation languages. Therefore, Third-generation computers had become very programmer-friendly and more-machine-independent. The main advantage of high-level programming languages is that it is easy to read, write and maintain.

FORTRAN, ALGOL, and COBOL are examples of early third generation programming language. The first beginning of this language was started at the end of 1950.

  • FORTRAN programming language was developed by IBM in 1956. This was designed by John Backus, and it was derived from Formula Translation. For the first time this programming language was used in 1957. It was a compiled imperative programming language.
  • ALGOL (Algorithm Language) was developed in 1958. It was designed by many scientists like Bauer, Bottenbruch, Rutishauser, Samelson etc. The ALGOL programming language is a family of imperative computer programming languages. 
  • COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) was developed by Codasyl in 1959. It was designed by many scientists like Howard Bromberg, Norman, Jean E. Sammet etc. COBOL programming language was mainly used in business, finance, universities, and administrative systems for companies and government.
  • Pascal programming language was designed by Nikalas wirth in 1970. Pascal programming language was named after Blaise Pascal who was a French mathematician of the seventh century. Blaise Pascal had built one of the first mechanical joints machines. Pascal programming language is an imperative and procedural programming language. 
  • The UNIX operating system was developed by Kenneth Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. The development of Unix started in 1969 but was published in November 1971. UNIX was written in C language. The UNIX operating system could be installed on any computer.

Advantages of 3rd generation of computer

There were many advantages of the 3rd generation of computers over the previous generation of computers.

  • Due to the presence of Integrated Circuits in the computer, the size of the computer becomes small.
  • Operating systems were used in the third generation computers. 
  • Big storage capacity was there.
  • Punch cards, keyboards, and mouse are used in these computers.
  • Better performance as compared to previous generation computers.
  • Better resource management 
  • Concept of time-sharing
  • High-level language and Multiprogramming language was used in this generation of computers.
  • More reliable as compared to previous generation computers.
  • Faster working power 
  • Generated less heat as compared to previous generation computers 
  • This generation of computers was cheaper than the previous generation of computers.


Some disadvantages were there and due to this fourth generation of computers were introduced. Mainly disadvantages are,

  • Due to the use of Integrated Circuits in the computer, it is difficult to maintain.
  • The high technology required for the manufacturing of IC chips. 
  • Third-generation computers need AC for cooling the system.

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