Which Language Used in Third Generation Computer

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Which Language Used in Third Generation Computers: An Overview

Third generation computers, which emerged in the 1960s, marked a significant milestone in computing technology. These computers were smaller, faster, and more reliable than their predecessors. They introduced key features such as integrated circuits, magnetic core memory, and operating systems. One crucial aspect of the third generation computers was the programming language. In this article, we will explore the various programming languages used during the third generation of computers.

Key Takeaways:
– Third generation computers revolutionized the computing industry by introducing smaller and more efficient machines.
– Integrated circuits and magnetic core memory were notable advancements of third generation computers.
– Operating systems played a crucial role in managing the overall computer system.
– Programming languages used in third generation computers had a significant impact on software development.

Programming Languages Used in Third Generation Computers

FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) was one of the first high-level programming languages developed during the third generation of computers. **It was primarily designed for scientific and engineering calculations**. FORTRAN provided an easier and user-friendly way of writing complex mathematical equations, which was a major advancement compared to lower-level machine code.

COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) was developed during the same era to cater to the needs of business applications. **It focused on data processing and handled large-scale computations**. COBOL played a crucial role in automating various business processes and enabled faster data processing.

ALGOL (Algorithmic Language) was a language **designed for scientific and mathematical computations**. It introduced the concept of structured programming and emphasized code clarity and maintainability. ALGOL greatly influenced subsequent programming languages, such as Pascal and C.


Table 1: Comparison of Programming Languages Used in Third Generation Computers

| Programming | Application | Advantages | Inventors |
| Language | | | |
| FORTRAN | Scientific and | Easy for | IBM, John |
| | engineering | mathematical | Backus, and |
| | calculations | calculations | team |
| COBOL | Business | Efficient | Grace Hopper |
| | applications | data | and team |
| | | processing | |
| ALGOL | Scientific and | Structured | International|
| | mathematical | programming | ALGOL 60 |
| | computations | and clarity | Committee |

**Table 1** showcases a comparison of the programming languages used in third-generation computers, highlighting their applications, advantages, and inventors.

4. PL/I:
PL/I (Programming Language One) was another language that gained popularity during the third generation. **It aimed to combine the best features of FORTRAN and COBOL**. With PL/I, programmers could handle both scientific and business applications, making it a versatile language.

BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was developed during the mid-1960s as an educational language. **It provided a simple and accessible way for beginners to learn programming**. BASIC played a significant role in introducing programming education to the masses and cultivating interest in computer science.


Table 2: Features of Programming Languages Used in Third Generation Computers

| Programming | Paradigm | Data Structures | Influences |
| Language | | | |
| FORTRAN | Procedural, | Arrays, records, | Assembly, |
| | imperative | files | ALGOL, |
| | | | SHARE |
| COBOL | Procedural | Tables, records, | FORTRAN, |
| | | files | ALGOL |
| ALGOL | Procedural, | Arrays, records, | Fortran, |
| | structured | sets | Simula, |
| | | | PL/I |
| PL/I | Procedural, | Arrays, records, | ALGOL, |
| | imperative, | files | FORTRAN, |
| | structured | | COBOL |
| BASIC | Procedural | Arrays, | FORTRAN, |
| | | strings, files | ALGOL |

**Table 2** provides an overview of the programming languages used in third generation computers, their paradigms, supported data structures, and influential factors.

6. C:
Although the C programming language was not exclusively associated with third generation computers, **its development began during this era**. C became immensely popular due to its efficiency, portability, and low-level programming capabilities. It remained influential in subsequent generations, shaping modern programming practices.

7. Assembly Language:
While not a high-level language, assembly language played a crucial role in third-generation computers. **Programmers used assembly language to write code directly for the computer’s hardware**, taking advantage of its speed and efficiency. Assembly language was essential for optimizing critical sections of programs.


Table 3: Notable Features of Programming Languages Used in Third Generation Computers

| Programming | Notable Features | Influential Factor |
| Language | | |
| FORTRAN | Easy mathematical | Accelerated scientific and |
| | expression evaluation | engineering computations |
| COBOL | Effective data | Efficient business data |
| | processing capabilities | processing and automation |
| ALGOL | Structured programming | Influence on subsequent |
| | and code clarity | programming languages |
| PL/I | Versatility and | Combined benefits of FORTRAN |
| | support for multiple | and COBOL |
| | application domains | |
| BASIC | Beginner-friendly | Introduction to programming |
| | and educational | for the masses |

**Table 3** highlights notable features of the programming languages used in third generation computers and their influential factors.

In conclusion, the third generation of computers introduced a range of programming languages to accommodate diverse applications. FORTRAN, COBOL, ALGOL, PL/I, BASIC, and assembly language were some of the prominent languages used during this era. Each language offered unique features and advantages, enabling programmers to develop software more efficiently for scientific, business, and educational purposes. These languages paved the way for subsequent generations of programming languages, leaving a lasting impact on software development and computer science as a whole.

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Which Language Used in Third Generation Computer

Common Misconceptions

First Misconception: High-level programming languages were exclusively used in third-generation computers

One common misconception is that only high-level programming languages were used in third-generation computers. However, this is not entirely true. While high-level languages like COBOL, FORTRAN, and BASIC became popular during this era, assembly language programming was also prevalent. Assembly language allowed programmers to work more closely with the computer’s hardware, providing increased control and efficiency for specific tasks.

  • Assembly language programming was widely used in areas requiring greater performance and specific hardware access.
  • High-level programming languages like COBOL were used for creating business applications.
  • FORTRAN was commonly utilized for scientific and engineering computations.

Second Misconception: Third-generation computers only supported sequential programming

Another misconception is that third-generation computers were limited to sequential programming only. While it is true that early third-generation computers lacked capabilities for parallel processing, later models introduced multiprocessing and multitasking features. These advancements allowed for concurrent execution of multiple tasks, significantly enhancing overall performance and efficiency.

  • Later third-generation computers introduced multiprocessor architectures, leading the way for parallel processing.
  • Multitasking, wherein multiple programs could run simultaneously, was a significant feature of advanced third-generation computers.
  • These improvements were crucial in expanding the capabilities and speed of computer systems during this era.

Third Misconception: Third-generation computers were solely built using one programming language

One prevalent misconception is that third-generation computers were built using a single programming language. In reality, during this era, computer manufacturers and users had the flexibility to choose from a wide range of programming languages suitable for different applications and requirements.

  • Various high-level languages like COBOL, FORTRAN, and BASIC were used in different industry sectors
  • Assembly language played an important role in system-level programming and low-level hardware interactions.
  • These languages provided different approaches and capabilities, allowing programmers to choose what best suited their needs.

Fourth Misconception: Third-generation computers were limited to a specific group of users

Another misconception is that third-generation computers were exclusively accessible and used by a specific group of users, often associated with large organizations or scientific communities. However, as third-generation computers became more affordable, compact, and accessible, their usage expanded across various industries and even into personal computing.

  • Third-generation computers found applications in sectors such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  • These computers began to reach smaller businesses, educational institutions, and eventually individual consumers.
  • The widespread adoption of third-generation computers marked a significant shift towards mainstream computing.

Fifth Misconception: Third-generation computers only used punched card input

One common misconception is that third-generation computers solely relied on punched card input for data entry. While punched cards were a prevalent method of data input during the early stages of third-generation computers, other mediums and devices were also widely used, including magnetic tape, magnetic disks, and even early keyboard input.

  • Punched cards were popular due to their compatibility with existing systems and ease of handling large volumes of data.
  • Magnetic tapes and disks were used for more efficient storage and retrieval of data.
  • Early keyboard input and terminal systems began to replace punched cards as user interfaces.

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In this article, we explore the use of different programming languages in the third generation of computers. Third generation computers, which emerged in the late 1950s until the mid-1960s, marked a significant advancement in computing technology. These computers utilized integrated circuits and were smaller, faster, and more reliable than their predecessors. The choice of programming language played a crucial role in harnessing the power and potential of these computers. Let’s dive into our analysis of the popular programming languages used during this era.

Assembly Language

Assembly language was widely used in third-generation computers due to its low-level nature and direct control over the hardware resources. It allowed programmers to write instructions using mnemonic codes, which were then translated into machine language by an assembler. The ease of accessing hardware features made it an excellent choice for system-level programming tasks.


FORTRAN (Formula Translation) was developed for scientific and engineering calculations, making it an essential language for third-generation computers. Its strong mathematical capabilities and efficient numerical processing made it popular among scientists and engineers. FORTRAN introduced advanced features like subroutines and functions, enhancing code reusability.


COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) was primarily designed for business data processing. It offered a comprehensive range of features for handling large data sets and file management. Due to its English-like syntax, COBOL was easy to understand and widely used in commercial applications, making it a significant language in third-generation computers.


ALGOL (Algorithmic Language) was a high-level language developed for scientific and mathematical computing. It provided powerful control structures and influenced the design of subsequent programming languages. Although not widely adopted commercially, ALGOL played a significant role in shaping the evolution of programming languages.


BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was developed to make programming accessible to beginners and non-scientists. Its simplicity and ease of use attracted a wide audience, thereby popularizing programming among hobbyists and enthusiasts. BASIC played a critical role in education and early personal computing.


LISP (List Processing) was an influential language in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Its unique list-processing capabilities made it suitable for symbolic manipulation and problem-solving tasks. LISP was primarily used in AI research and development, contributing to the progress of intelligent systems.


PASCAL was developed as a teaching language with a focus on structured programming principles. Its strong typing system and ability to define complex data structures made it a favorite among educators. PASCAL’s emphasis on readability and clarity laid the foundation for future programming languages.


PL/I (Programming Language One) aimed to combine the strengths of FORTRAN, COBOL, and ALGOL. It was a versatile language used for both scientific and commercial applications, providing advanced string manipulation and extensive input/output capabilities. Despite its complexity, PL/I found widespread use in various domains.


The third generation of computers witnessed the development and adoption of various programming languages tailored to specific needs. Assembly language granted low-level control, FORTRAN excelled in scientific calculations, COBOL revolutionized business applications, ALGOL shaped future languages, and BASIC made programming accessible. LISP contributed to AI, PASCAL focused on structured programming, and PL/I combined multiple strengths. Each language catered to different domains and played a crucial role in advancing computer technology. The diversity and evolution of programming languages paved the way for the continued progress of computing systems.

Which Language Used in Third Generation Computer

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is a third generation computer?

A third generation computer refers to computers that were developed and used between 1965 and 1971. These computers were characterized by the use of integrated circuits and transistors, offering improved speed, reliability, and smaller physical size compared to earlier generation computers.

Question 2: What programming languages were used in third generation computers?

Various programming languages were used in third generation computers. Some popular programming languages during this period included Fortran (Formula Translation), COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), and ALGOL (Algorithmic Language). These languages were designed to enhance the capabilities of third generation computers and make programming more efficient.

Question 3: How were programming languages implemented in third generation computers?

Programming languages were implemented in third-generation computers through compilers and interpreters. Compilers are software programs that convert high-level programming languages into machine code that the computer can execute. Interpreters, on the other hand, directly execute the high-level code line by line without the need for compilation.

Question 4: What were the advantages of using high-level programming languages in third generation computers?

The use of high-level programming languages in third generation computers offered several advantages. Firstly, it increased programmer productivity by providing more intuitive and easier-to-understand code. Secondly, it promoted code reusability, allowing programmers to write modular code and save time. Lastly, high-level languages abstracted the underlying hardware, making software development more portable across different computer systems.

Question 5: Was assembly language still used in third generation computers?

Yes, assembly language was still used in third-generation computers, although its usage decreased compared to earlier generations. Assembly language allowed programmers to have greater control over the hardware and write more efficient code. However, the adoption of high-level languages became more prevalent for most programming tasks during this era.

Question 6: Did third generation computers support multitasking?

Some third-generation computers had limited support for multitasking, although it was not as advanced as in later computer generations. Multitasking refers to the ability of a computer to execute multiple tasks or programs simultaneously. Third-generation computers often relied on batch processing, where a series of tasks were submitted and executed in sequence.

Question 7: Were third generation computers still used in the 21st century?

Third generation computers are obsolete and no longer used in the 21st-century mainstream computing. However, some older systems may still be operational in specialized environments or for historical purposes. The advancements in computer technology have led to the development of higher generation computers with significantly improved performance and capabilities.

Question 8: How did third generation computers contribute to the development of modern computing?

Third generation computers played a crucial role in the progression of modern computing. The use of integrated circuits significantly increased computing power and reduced the physical size of computers, making them more accessible and practical. The development of high-level programming languages in this era paved the way for easier software development and drove innovation in the field of computer science.

Question 9: Can third generation computers still run modern software?

Third generation computers were not designed to handle modern software. Their hardware and architecture would not be compatible with the software and computing demands of the modern era. Additionally, advancements in software development have outpaced the capabilities of third-generation computers. Therefore, running modern software on these machines would not be feasible.

Question 10: Which generation computers succeeded third generation computers?

The fourth generation of computers succeeded third-generation computers. This generation, which emerged in the early 1970s, saw advancements such as microprocessors, semi-conductor memories, and the development of personal computers. These advancements led to the proliferation of computers in various sectors and further propelled the evolution of computing technology.