What are the characteristics of first generation computers?
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In first generation computers (1945-1956) the operating instructions or programmes were specifically built for the task for which the computer was manufactured.
The computers of first generation used vacuum tubes as the basic components for memory and circuitry for CPU (Central Processing Unit). These tubes, like electric bulbs, produced a lot of heat and were prone to frequent fusing of the installations, therefore, were very expensive and could be afforded only by very large organisations.
They relied on machine language to perform operations, and they could only solve one problem at a time. The input was based on punched cards and paper tape, and the output was displayed on printouts. It was very difficult to programme these computers, and they were difficult to repair when something went wrong.
Data was stored in vacuum tubes and magnetic drums. First generation computers were often enormous, taking up entire rooms. They were very expensive to operate, and in addition to using a great deal of electricity, generated a lot of heat, which was often the cause of malfunctions.