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Alwin Walther, IPM, and the Development of Calculator/Computer Technology in Germany, 1930-1945

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129523D
Original Publication Date: 1986-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 21 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

WILFRIED DE BEAUCLAIR: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The article discusses the work of the Institut fur Praktische Mathematik (IPM) at the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt, Germany, from 1930 to 1945, and how Alwin Walther (1898-1967) guided IPM in developing calculator and computer technology during that period.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 5% of the total text.

Page 1 of 21

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Alwin Walther, IPM, and the Development of Calculator/Computer Technology in Germany, 1930-1945

WILFRIED DE BEAUCLAIR

(Image Omitted: © 1981 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 the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Rabenkopfstrasse 2/449, D-7800, Freiburg, West Germany. © 1986 AFIPS 0164 1239/86/040334-350

Alwin Walther, IPM, and the Development of Calculator/Computer Technology in Germany, 1930-1945

WILFRIED DE BEAUCLAIR .00100)

The article discusses the work of the Institut fur Praktische Mathematik (IPM) at the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt, Germany, from 1930 to 1945, and how Alwin Walther (1898-1967) guided IPM in developing calculator and computer technology during that period.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: A.0 [General] -- biographies/autobiographies, A. Walther;
K.2 [History of Computing] -- hardware, people, software General Terms: Design Additional Key Words and Phrases: analog devices, calculators, IPM, Technische Hochschule

1. Mathematics for Engineers

In the 1930s, as technology turned from mere technical skill and knowledge to the use of scientifically based design computations, so the emphasis of pure mathematics shifted from theory to tangible solutions, with engineering as an auxiliary science, having ways and means of dimensioning structural components by numerical calculations. This, in turn, enormously boosted mathematical research. As mathematical processes evolved, the number of entirely new mathematical problems to be resolved increased -- for example, the problems of precision, convergence, and the propagation of rounding errors in approximation processes. Such interaction between mathematics and technology occurs frequently and in many forms. To the extent to which designers adopted mathematical methods, mathematicians were confronted with technical problems and were forced to develop new concepts with which engineers could work and be trained.

For many problems that cannot be solved by mathematical formulas alone, numerical solutions are possible, if analog or approximate numerical approaches (for example, using iteration) are adopted. In the age of the computer, which can work only in numeric and finite steps, nobody seems to remember that such approaches yield approximate results for the pure mathematician. For engineers, merely to set up equations without being able to solve them and obtai...