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The WEIZAC Years (1954-1963)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129686D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 26 page(s) / 98K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

GERALD ESTRIN: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The WEIZAC was built for the Applied Mathematics Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel during 1954-1955. It is an early example of successful technology transfer, with the design of the von Neumann machine moving from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. WEIZAC's existence, its intense application to physical problems and the cadres trained in digital hardware, software and computational methods opened a market of concepts and practices outside of the United States and Europe. The author, who worked on and directed the WEIZAC project, discusses its history, results, and impact.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1991 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The WEIZAC Years (1954-1963)

GERALD ESTRIN

(Image Omitted: Author's address: Department of Computer Science, 3732 Boelter Hall, University of California. Los Angeles, CA 90024.)

The WEIZAC was built for the Applied Mathematics Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel during 1954-1955. It is an early example of successful technology transfer, with the design of the von Neumann machine moving from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. WEIZAC's existence, its intense application to physical problems and the cadres trained in digital hardware, software and computational methods opened a market of concepts and practices outside of the United States and Europe. The author, who worked on and directed the WEIZAC project, discusses its history, results, and impact.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K 2 [Computing Milleux]: History of Computing- applications, hardware, people, software. General Terms-Design, technology transfer, classical physics. Additional Terms-WEIZAC, GOLEM, IAS family, ISRAEL, Weizmann Institute of Science.

Introduction

Israeli computer scientists and engineers are active contributors to computer technology, including design, application and theory. In many countries of the world, the original influx of computers and their consequent impact came as a result of marketing computer products which had been manufactured in more developed countries. The sellers offered purchase incentives which included training programs in both the seller's and the customer's countries. Job markets grew in developing countries and a flow of people to university and postgraduate programs in the developed countries swelled. Many of them returned to become leaders and form cadres in their home countries. All of the above events occurred in Israel but, in addition, they were preceded by a process which accelerated Israeli participation in the information revolution. That process began with the WEIZAC decade followed by the GOLEM years; it was triggered by the determination of Dr. C. L. Pekeris to solve, in Israel, some important long-standing problems in applied mathematics and classical physics.

In 1945, Dr. Chair Weizmann asked Dr. Chaim Leib Pekeris to establish a Department of Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. During Chaim Pekeris' boyhood, the Zionist goal to build a Jewish State offered an important liberation concept to all eastern-European Jews and he had dreamed of going to Palestine. Pekeris had come from the small town of Alytus, Lithuania and was admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1926 after completing his high school education in Kaunas, Lithuania. He received his B.Sc.(1929) and his D.Sc.(1934) from MIT; s...