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Installation of the German Computer Z4 in Zurich in 1950

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129347D
Original Publication Date: 1980-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 4 page(s) / 23K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

KONRAD ZUSE: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Computer developments in Germany before and during World War II were nearly unknown until 1949. In 1950 the model Muse Z4, the only one that could be rescued from Berlen, was leased by Eduard Stiefel for the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule at Zurich. This was the beginner of a friendly cooperation. Some stories of this pioneer time are reported.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1980 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Installation of the German Computer Z4 in Zurich in 1950

KONRAD ZUSE

(Image Omitted: © 1980 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's across Im Haselgrund 21, 6418 Huenfeld 1, Germany. © 1980 AFIPS0164-1239/80/030239-241S01.00/0)

Computer developments in Germany before and during World War II were nearly unknown until 1949. In 1950 the model Muse Z4, the only one that could be rescued from Berlen, was leased by Eduard Stiefel for the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule at Zurich. This was the beginner of a friendly cooperation. Some stories of this pioneer time are reported.

Keywords and phrases: German computer development, model Muse Z4, electromechanical relay computer, Eduard Stiefel, Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (ETH), conditional orders, switching algebra, algorithmic languages Plankalkul. CR category: 1.2

After World War II the advancement of scientific ideas and new inventions were generally analyzed. At that time we trusted in the blessings of innovations and tried to adapt them for civil purposes. The nuclear explosion of Hiroshima shook up mankind. Physics got great impetus and we believed that the dreams of the writers of science fiction stories could now become reality. The V-weapons had created a sensation, and during peacetime space travel seemed to be possible.

Two Germans, Otto Hahn and Wernher van Braun, who had stimulated the development, slowly changed from enemies into cooperators and friends in the opinion of their former opponents.

Step by step, the world was informed about other innovations that were kept secret during the war. Information concerning the big calculating machines, developed in the United States, was disclosed. Especially, the machines of Aiken (Mark I) and Stibitz and the ENIAC made headlines beyond the technical press.

At first glance, this seemed to be a purely American development without a European equivalent. The picture of the history of the "computer," as these machines were now called, slowly became clearer.

Surely, the Americans could be proud of their results; nevertheless, it may be good to take a look at the European scene in this field.

Besides the well-known early work of the Englishman Babbage, there was an interesting development in England with the name Colossus, stimulated by the cryptological war. Its electronic logical circuits were in some as...