Original Publication Date: 1996-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Software Patent Institute
Eric Weiss: AUTHOR [+2]
AbstractKonrad Zuse, creator, in 1941, of the first fully automated, program- controlled, and freely programmable computer for binary floating-point calculations, and later, of the basic programming system, Plankalkul, died in Hunfeld, Germany on December 18, 1995. He was 85.
THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.
Copyright ©; 1996 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Konrad Zuse, creator, in 1941, of the first fully automated, program- controlled, and freely programmable computer for binary floating-point calculations, and later, of the basic programming system, Plankalkul, died in Hunfeld, Germany on December 18, 1995. He was 85.
Zuse was born in Berlin-Wilniersdorf on June 22, 1910 his parents' second child. His father, Emil, was a Prussian beamter, or civil servant, a life-long post office administrator His mother, Maria Crohn, was his father's niece. From the age of two he was brought up in Braunsberg in East Prussia. After three years at the Evangelische Hohere Madcher Schule he was enrolled in the Gymnasium Hosianum at the age of nine. For his entire Scholl career he was always about two years younger than the rest of his classmates which he said made him feel physically inferior. In his fifth year at the Gymnasium his father was transferred to Hoyerswerda where Zuse went to the more modern, progressive Realgymnasium which stressed modern languages, mathematics, and science. Being both artistically and technologically talented, he was torn between these two fields, but in the end engineering won out and he postponed serious sketching and painting until much later in his life.
He passed the Abitur when he was 17, and entered the Technische Hochschule (Technical College), Berlin-Charlottenburg, first majoring in mechanical engineering then switching to architecture and then to civil engineering. Here his friends gave him his lifetime nickname, Kuno.
While a student, he dreamt of automatic machinery for vending and money machines, movie projection, space travel, and his concept of Metropolis, a city of the future. He read widely in economics and the classics. His student club, the Akademische Herein Motiv, originally founded in 1847, had a humorous theatrical tradition in which he participated as an artist, an actor, and the designer of stage machinery. It was in 1933 or 1934 that he started to think about the universal computing machine, thoughts that continued throughout his life.
Z1 and Z2
In 1935, after obtaining his Dipl. -In". in civil engineering, he became a structural engineer (Statiker) with Henschel Flugzeugwerke but soon left this job to devote himself entirely to the electro- mechanical computer he had started to assemble in his parents' Berlin apartment. It was intended to do tiresome engineering calculations and was financed by his parents and his school friends, many of whom participated in the work.
IEEE Computer Society, Jun 30, 1996 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 18 Number 2, Pages 3-5
Between 1935 and the start of the war in 1939, he and his helpers built two successive machines, later referred to...