Skip to content
Step by Step Internet 🌐 Guides for learning to surf the Net

Fifth Generation of Computers: Origin, History and Evolution

Fifth Generation of Computers: Origin

Approaching a more current moment, and offering, in fact, news that many of us have experienced, we have the fifth generation of computers .

This is a stage of computer technology that covers two decades, from the eighties to two thousand , and that includes very different aspects framed in a special moment for the sector.

This moment, long in time but stable at the same time, has brought us many things and we want to let you know showing you how it was, who stood out and what inventions echoed at the time. See all computer generations in full.

What characteristics define the fifth generation of computers?

The first and defining part of this stage is the appearance of the laptop . It is precisely this milestone that makes us leave behind, but not forgotten, the desktop PC. Thus, we see that the fifth generation of computers is when the IBM laptop is launched.

The second element that also characterizes this stage is the project that Japan embarks on (called Fifth Generation Project ) and which seeks the creation of equipment based on artificial intelligence . Indicate that this failed completely but still serves as a framework for the generation.


In addition, we have the following:

  • The best-selling clones of computer models become popular again, something that had been forgotten in previous years.
  • You work very hard on the softwares , so that they can offer much more, without errors and becoming increasingly versatile and easy to use both to be understood by the user and by the rest of the software of the machine.
  • The speed takes over of the devices, which become fully functional for all types of users.
  • The amount of memory for accessible devices gives an equally spectacular jump.
  • There is a new miniaturization of the parts.
  • You work with several processors in the same system.
  • The programming languages ​​used they are LIPS and PROGOL.
  • The immediate translation of languages ​​ is possible.
  • Aspects of artificial intelligence are worked with mo robotics, natural language, voice recognition and expert systems . In this way, the devices become functional, capable of learning and working according to previous actions.
  • The inclusion of different ports means that we could connect with different networks and devices.
  • Storage devices become popular and accessible to be able to store information.
  • Multimedia begins to gain strength.
  • The DVD is set as standard for content recording.

What was the evolution and history of the 5th generation of computers?

The stage begins with the view of a laptop at a fair, the Osborne 1, which is already seen in 1981 , although it makes us wait to see it for sale; It really wasn’t a useful device, having many shortcomings. This is followed by an Epson team, the Epson HX-20, much more effective .

In 1982, the first supercomputer appears in parallel. It is also time to see the Compaq Portable appear, a thick screen and separate keyboard compatible, for the first time, one hundred percent, with the famous IBM PC desktop computer (excluding those of the signature IBM, of course). The same goes for Commodore 64 , a home game computer that went around the world.

Although not related to the milestones of the stage, Apple launches what would be the replacement of the well-known Lisa, the Macintosh . It included, for the first time, a graphical interface, the desktop concept that we know and integrated the mouse. Interestingly, its acceptance was minimal.

In 1991 IBM was responsible for designing and creating an atom-sized switch , something of zero interest at the time but essential for the development of dwarf computers. DEC also launches a supercomputer that follows 26 billion basic instructions in a second.

NCR, meanwhile, launches Notepad NCR 3125, a microcomputer with pen and without keyboard , folio size, only 3 cm thick. It includes a multitude of functions and its access requires manual writing. This is the predecessor of tablets and touch smartphones.

A year later the WWW is launched , World Wide Web or World Computer Network, the hypertext and hypermedia document distribution system via the Internet par excellence.

Notepad NCR 3125, un invento impropio de la época

In 1993 IBM manages to burn data to an optical disc using blue light laser . At the same time as all the above, since 1982, the Japanese are immersed in a project that, as we have said, also serves as a framework for the time .

The aim of this was to develop computers that used artificial intelligence in software and hardware to work on much more complex problems at the same time as customized ones.

This was an astronomical outlay, development of the number of prototypes and final devices and, unfortunately, a failure and abandonment after 11 years in which, despite making significant progress in different aspects, the The results were identical to those obtained with conventional computers and sometimes even counterproductive.

What computers and featured items appeared in the 5th generation of computers?

The most significant devices of the fifth generation of computers were:

  • PIM : A prototype hardware based on the union of several PSI machines that were networked. It is part of the Japanese artificial intelligence project. In the end, we find five machines of the type. Its main feature was the group of 256 coupled processing elements.
  • Osborne 1 : First portable microcomputer that appears in 1981 at the West Coast Computer Fair to go on sale, but without much success, two years later. With 13 kg, a CP / M OS, detachable keyboard and a tiny screen, it was too inspired by the 1976 Xerox PARC. It included two ports, the IEEE-488 and the still usable RS-232.
  • Epson HX-20 : It is announced in 81 and launched in 83. It has a high value for collectors because, unlike the previous one, its characteristics made it much more functional. It had a dual Hitachi 6301 processor, a matriarchal printer, expandable RAM, microcassette for data storage and LCD screen.

Epson HX-20

  • Compaq Portable SLT / 286 1903 : Very bombastic to include a significantly larger screen that allowed to work with much greater comfort. Its graphics chip was superior, displaying 9 × 14 characters and included a Compaq BIOS, designed by reverse engineering and the famous Intel 8088 processor.
  • Flexible disk : A storage tool that It is completely disused but, interestingly, it is the save button in the computer programs. It is a removable square piece in which certain information worked on the computer is stored.
  • Windows 95 : Version of an operating system based on MS-DOS but with an attractive graphical interface for the user. Perhaps, the best known operating system in history.

windows 95

Best inventors of the fifth generation of computers

We are talking about a time when inventions do not stand out (with the clear exception of the laptop, which is no longer a development or improvement of what has already been invented).

Even so, we can highlight Von Neumann , not for his activity in these years but for his work in previous decades , starting point and support and inspiration for the development of storage elements .

Of course, Epson, Microsoft and IBM did a spectacular job, each in their own, launching essential computer products.