In the evolution of computers, each of the passing computer generations had its own technology which was an improvement of the previous technology. Below is a match of computer generations with their processor technology and what each of the processors were capable of.
01. FIRST GENERATION COMPUTERS
They used thermionic valves
This is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric potential difference has been applied. as a thermionic tube or thermionic valve uses the phenomenon of thermionic emission of electrons from a heated cathode and is used for a number of fundamental electronic functions such as signal amplification and current rectification. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube]
02. SECOND GENERATION COMPUTERS
They used transistors
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit.
How does a transistor work ?
By turning a small input current into a large output current, the transistor acts like an amplifier. But it also acts like a switch at the same time. When there is no current to the base, little or no current flows between the collector and the emitter. Turn on the base current and a big current flows.
03. THIRD GENERATION COMPUTERS
They used Integrated Circuits (ICs)
A collection of transistors make up an Integrated Circuit
An integrated circuit (IC), sometimes called a chip or microchip, is a semiconductor wafer on which thousands or millions of tiny resistors, capacitors, and transistors are fabricated. An IC can function as an amplifier, oscillator, timer, counter, computer memory, or microprocessor. A particular IC is categorized as either linear (analog) or digital, depending on its intended application. [Source: https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/integrated-circuit-IC]
04. FOURTH GENERATION COMPUTERS
They used very large scale integrated (VLSI)
VLSI is an acronym that represents Very Large Scale Integrated.
A collection of Integrated Circuits (ICs) Make up VLSI
An Integrated Circuit is the circuit in which all the Passive and Active components are fabricated onto a single chip. Initially the Integrated Chip could accommodate only a few components. As the days passed, the devices became more complex and required more number of circuits which made the devices look bulky. Instead of accommodating more circuits in the system, an Integration technology was developed to increase the number of components that are to be placed on a single chip. This Technology not only helped to reduce the size of the devices but also improved their speed. Depending upon the number of components (Transistors) to be integrated, they were categorized as SSI, MSI, LSI, VLSI, ULSI & GSI.
Small Scale Integration (SSI):