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An Experimental Model of an Electronic Computer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129667D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 9 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

HELMUT T. SCHREYER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Helmut Schreyer describes the development and construction of a model to test the feasibility of an electronic computer. This work was done, in association with the computer pioneer Konrad Zuse, in the isolation of wartime Germany during the period 1941-1943. Schreyer relates the circumstances and events which led up to this project and he comments on the similarity of his basic electronic circuits to those which he subsequently found were used in electronic computers developed elsewhere.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

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

An Experimental Model of an Electronic Computer

HELMUT T. SCHREYER

   (Image Omitted: Editorial note: This translation from the original German, printed with the permission of the original publisher, combines two papers by Helmut Schreyer, both of which were published in 1983 in Report No. 143 of the German Society for Mathematics and Information Processing (Schreyer 1983a and Schreyer 1983b). The manuscript for the first paper, from which the 'History' and 'Concluding Remarks' sections are taken, is signed by the author and dated August 1, 1977; the second, from which the 'Basic Circuits section was taken, is undated but presumably was written about 1980. The combination has been edited for style and continuity. The translation was done for the Annals of the History of Computing by Werner Buchholz with the help of F. L. Bauer. Helmut Schreyer's original diagrams were redrawn by Jo- Anne Lee Bogner, Blacksburg, VA.)

Helmut Schreyer describes the development and construction of a model to test the feasibility of an electronic computer. This work was done, in association with the computer pioneer Konrad Zuse, in the isolation of wartime Germany during the period 1941-1943. Schreyer relates the circumstances and events which led up to this project and he comments on the similarity of his basic electronic circuits to those which he subsequently found were used in electronic computers developed elsewhere.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing -- hardware, people. B 6. 1 [Hardware]: Logic design -- design styles -- sequential circuits. General Terms: Design, Experimentation Additional Terms: Konrad Zuse, Vacuum-tube technology, neon tubes, basic circuits, vacuum-tube relay

History

When in 1934, I began my study of telecommunications engineering at the Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg (now Technical University, Berlin), I also joined the academic society "Motiv." All active members of the Society met every Thursday for a merry round of drinking in the Leibnitzstrasse, where the climax was always the performance of a short play that one of us had written -- we called it mimicry. An especially zealous mime, known to Society members as Kuno but really named Konrad Zuse, took part in almost all the mimicry, and when the audience failed to laugh because the play lacked humor, he would right on stage pour a pail of water over his head. Since I wrote and took part in many such plays, we soon got to know each other, and Zuse invited me to his home to admire the model of a mechanical computing machine he was then constructing.

I looked at this marvel, which consisted of parts of roller bearings, glass plates, sheet metal, and rods, and we rejoiced together when a single input moved from one position to another in a mechanical...