3rd GENERATION COMPUTERS  Highlights ▷ 2020

The history of computers It is, by all accounts, really fascinating. As in many other situations, evolution is such that, knowing what we have today, It seems unthinkable to us that these devices come from where they come.

This time we are going to tell you about the third generation of computersAlthough, you should know that there are a total of six and that you can read about all of them on our website, both in the post on computer generation and, of course, in those that we have written so that you know more, separately, about each of them.

In any case, under these words you will know what happened in the computing sector between 1964 and 1971, which are the ones that mark this period. See all generations of computers full.

What characteristics define the third generation of computers?

silicon integrated circuit

As in every generation, there is a main milestone that occurs in the year 1965 and that is what leads us to define the coming years. In addition, we find some others that make these six years can be perfectly defined as a moment in computing.

  • The main feature we have to mention, of course, is the integration of silicon chip circuits as an information processing method. These packaged logic gate, oscillator and amplifier, as well as many transistors in miniature. They happen to unseat the transistors that, in turn, were the ones that marked the second generation.
  • Its introduction was a more capable processing.
  • At the same time, it also reduced the size of computers.
  • They are united in the same element, the chip, components such as diodes, transistors and capacitors.
  • Magnetic ring memories are still being worked on.
  • The cost of this equipment was considerably lower, being able to say, finally, that these devices become commercial use.
  • Processes such as teleprocessing (processing of data coming from a central unit) or the multiprogramming (accommodation of several processes in main memory so that they are executed at the same time by the processor).
  • In general, the machines are much more reliable and flexible.
  • We can already talk about one “software industry“.

What was the evolution and history of the 3rd generation of computers?

Third generation of computers

As we have indicated, this time begins in 1964 with the introduction of the integrated circuit to combine different elements of machines and the substitution of transistors as the only method to process the information that was given immediately afterwards.

We see it for the first time in a IBM computer family, which was the main computing corporation at the time, lEdgar series, better known as 360. These devices were such a sales success that their contribution to the sector is the most important in history so far.

With this new element the devices were capable of working on different kinds of tasks, which meant that they were more flexible when it came to the inclusion of programs, being able to standardize a lot of computer models.

We see that a lot of work is being done on the development of new programming languages so that these were more in line with the new characteristics of the devices, having a new syntax and being easier to understand. The most characteristic were BASIC and L6.

In this bit of history we can already see how the minicomputers are showingConsidering a different product to computers due, of course, to their size and volume, which made these machines much more “manageable” and versatile elements.

The mouse begins to develop mid-decade and its presentation in 1968 makes the machines easier to use and, therefore, that they are more demanded by a greater number of people.

The magnetic memory, the floppy disk, the readers, the floppy disk are also invented … the first pocket calculator and the hypertext system are presented, the da Vinci mechanical calculator and it works on the laser printer. UNIX and C appear.

In 1968 the concept of “personal computer” was discussedAs a result of the great previous development that made possible a much smaller size of the equipment as well as greater versatility and possibilities of that. A year later appears what is considered by many to be the first of these devices, the SCAMP, from IBM.

It is in this year that Intel arises, with the clear objective of designing chips, being one of its partners Noyce, who improved the design of the integrated circuit, so that it was, without a doubt, the one that made the company obtain an incomparable success (so much so that it is, for most, the first to come in the lead if we ask for a brand related to computer parts).

In 1969 the ARPANET emerged, which was the forerunner of today’s internet. A few months later the fiber optic cable is produced. By the end of the time, integrated circuits had developed a lot, having reduced their size, included the so-called MOS technology and became cheaper.

Best inventors of the third generation of computers

inventors third generation computers

There are five prominent personalities of the so-called third generation of computers:

Jack St. Clair Kilby and Robert Norton Noyce

Kilby was who, In 1959, he developed the integrated circuit. Noyve did the same with a creation of his own that solved the problems of the previous design in just six months.

Ted hoff

Ted Hoff is the engineer who invented the microprocessor in 1969. Indeed, you have not read anything about this element because it is not part of the events that mark this third computational story. Although, this invention was a before and after years later and, of course, although we will talk about it when appropriate, we cannot forget that its invention occurred within the second generation, although after it was outlined and began to be used.

Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny

Again we find two personalities who did not really offer anything revolutionary in this generation but it was in it that they invented something that would be a success years later.

Scientist and professor, both worked in 1964 to develop BASIC, a programming language that you surely know very well and that, without a doubt, was the protagonist in the programming of the microcomputers that were to arrive as well as in some minicomputer of the time.

What featured computers appeared in the 3rd generation of computers?

As for the leading computers of this time, we have the following:

Edgar Series

Edgar IBM Series

The Edgar Series or 360 is a suite of IBM computers that transition between this generation and the previous one. Was the first to include integrated circuits in its market machines. The impact of these and what their commercialization entailed are such that their importance in history is incalculable.

From this series, knowing that all the devices ran the same software, although they differed in the rest of the characteristics, in such a way that they adapted to different needs, which made the sales a precedent in the sector.



It was considered the first minicomputer that the company could acquire, released in 1965. It comes from the hand of DEC and 500,000 copies were sold.

It supported Basic, Fortran II / IV, Focal 71 and C ++ as programming languages and worked with macros in order to implement more advanced logical operations than those used to be sold commercially.



Another great machine (minicomputer type) of the DEC PDP series that began to be marketed at the end of this generation and that remained profitable in the market for a whole decade.

It stands out for being the first in which its main elements were interconnected in a single bus which, in addition, was asynchronous (UNIBUS). The result was the sending, reception and exchange of information with other devices without the need to perform an intermediate step in memory.

So important was it that, when microprocessors (fourth generation milestone), this device was not obsolete but was modified to have these.

CDC 6600

CDC 6600

It does not cause any revolution like the previous case but it is certainly the most powerful supercomputer released in these six years, able to properly follow three million instructions in one second. This is made possible by a 60-bit processor and its 10 peripheral units. It is used by CERN to conduct research related to nuclear energy.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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