Fourth Generation (1971-Present)
Fourth Generation computers are the modern day computers. The Size started to go down with the improvement in the integerated circuits. Very Large Scale(VLSI) and Ultra Large scale(ULSI) ensured that millions of components could be fit into a small chip. It reduced the size and price of the computers at the same time increasing power, efficiency and reliability. "The Intel 4004 chip, developed in 1971, took the integrated circuit one step further by locating all the components of a computer (central processing unit, memory, and input and output controls) on a minuscule chip."
Due to the reduction of cost and the availability of the computers power at a small place allowed everyday user to benefit. First came the minicomputers, which offered users different applications, most famous of these the word processors and spreadsheets, which could be used by non-technical users. Video game systems like Atari 2600 generated the interest of general populace in the computers.
In 1981, IBM introduced personal computers for home and office use. "The number of personal computers in use more than doubled from 2 million in 1981 to 5.5 million in 1982. Ten years later, 65 million PCs were being used." Computer size kept getting reduced during the years. It went down from Desktop to laptops to Palmtops. Machintosh introduecd Graphic User Interface in which the users didnt' have to type instructions but could use Mouse for the purpose.
The continued improvement allowed the networking of computers for the sharing of data. Local Area Networks(LAN) and Wide Area Network(WAN), were potential benefits, in that they could be implemented in corporations and everybody could share data over it. Soon the internet aand World Wide Web appeared on the computer scene and formented the Hi-Tech revolution of 90's.