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On the Beginnings of Computer Development in Poland1

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129653D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 5 page(s) / 28K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

LEON LUKASZEWICZ: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Development of computers in Poland began at the end of 1948 with the formation of the Group for Mathematical Apparatus of the Mathematical Institute in Warsaw. The beginning was not easy because at that time Warsaw was still rebuilding after the destruction of World War 11. The first analogue computer, called the ";Analyzer of Differential Equations,"; was completed in 1954 and then regularly used for several years. The first successful digital computer, called XYZ, was completed in 1958. It performed about 800 operations per second and became a milestone in the development of Polish computers. Soon the XYZ computer was improved and, under the name ZAM 2, was manufactured and installed in many places in Poland and abroad. As asset of XYZ and ZAM 2 was the system of Automatic Coding, introduced in 1960 and often called a Polish FORTRAN.

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Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

On the Beginnings of Computer Development in Poland1

1

LEON LUKASZEWICZ

(Image Omitted: Author's Address: Institute of Computer Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 00-901, Poland.)

Development of computers in Poland began at the end of 1948 with the formation of the Group for Mathematical Apparatus of the Mathematical Institute in Warsaw. The beginning was not easy because at that time Warsaw was still rebuilding after the destruction of World War 11. The first analogue computer, called the "Analyzer of Differential Equations," was completed in 1954 and then regularly used for several years. The first successful digital computer, called XYZ, was completed in 1958. It performed about 800 operations per second and became a milestone in the development of Polish computers. Soon the XYZ computer was improved and, under the name ZAM 2, was manufactured and installed in many places in Poland and abroad. As asset of XYZ and ZAM 2 was the system of Automatic Coding, introduced in 1960 and often called a Polish FORTRAN.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2. [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing -- hardware, people, software. General Terms -- Design. Additional Terms -- GAM, AFIAL, POLAND, ARR, EMAL, XYZ, ZAM 2, SAKO.

Youth is the rapture of continuity: it is the fever of reason. -- La Rochefoucauld maxime, no. 279

Forty years have already gone by since seemingly ordinary events in which I participated initiated the computer development in this country. As a result, of those events the Group for Mathematical Apparatus, GAM, (Grupa Aparatow Matematycznych) of the Mathematical Institute in Warsaw was constituted in December 1948. The history of this group has already been described in detail (see Marczynski 1980, and references in Lukaszewicz 1989) and so I will only present the most important facts and try to evoke the atmosphere of those memorable and lovely days.

For me everything began in the following way. Having just received my N.Sc. in radio engineering, I started my first job in the Institute of Telecommunication in Warsaw and simultaneously continued studying mathematics at the University of Warsaw. For this reason a number of my colleagues at the Institute used to ask me to solve various mathematical problems and do the relevant computations. In doing this I used only a pencil, paper, and a slide rule. Professor Janusz Groszkowski, the Director of the Institute, often asked my assistance when working on his theory of nonlinear oscillations. During one session Professor Groszkowski told me about the construction of an electronic computer which was then being planned at the Institute of Mathematics in Warsaw. He advised me to contact Professor Kuratowski, who was organizing the Institute, if I was interested. I was thrilled with the news, all the mo...