Feature Post

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inventor of the Modern Computer

Konrad Zuse (1910-1995) was a civil engineer for the Henschel Aircraft Company in Berlin, Germany at the beginning of World War II. Konrad Zuse earned the unofficial title of "inventor of the modern computer" for his series of automatic calculators, which he invented to help with his long engineering calculations. Zuse has modestly refused the title of the new inventions praise many of his contemporaries and successors, to be equally if not more important than his.

One of the most difficult to make a calculation is large with a slide rule or mechanical calculator is keeping track of all intermediate results and use them to their rightful place in the later stages of the calculation. Konrad Zuse tried to overcome this difficulty. He realized that a self-calculator would require three basic elements: control, memory, and a calculator for math.

In 1936, Zuse made a mechanical calculator called the Z1, the computer binary. Zuse used it to explore several groundbreaking technologies in calculator development: floating-point arithmetic, high-capacity memory and modules or relays operating on the yes / no principle. Zuse ideas, not fully implemented in the Z1, succeeded more with each Z prototype

In 1939, Zuse completed Z2, the first fully functioning electro-mechanical computer.

Konrad Zuse Z3, built in 1941, and recycled materials donated by university staff and students. This was the world's first electronic, fully programmable digital computer based on a binary floating-point number and switching system. Zuse used old movie film to save his programs and data Z3 instead of using paper tape or punched cards. The paper was a shortage in Germany during the war.

According to "The Life and Work of Konrad Zuse"

In 1941, the Z3 contains almost all the features of a modern computer as defined by John von Neumann and his colleagues in 1946. The only exception was the ability to store the program in data memory. Konrad Zuse did not implement this feature in the Z3, for his word memory 64 is too small for this mode of operation. Due to the fact that he wanted to calculate thousands of instructions in a meaningful order, which makes the memory used to store the values ​​or numbers.

Block structure Z3 is very similar to a modern computer. Z3 consisted of separate units, such as a punched tape reader, control unit, floating point arithmetic units, and input / output.

Konrad Zuse wrote the first algorithmic programming language called "Plankalkül 'in 1946, he used to program its computers. He wrote first in the world of chess with the program Plankalkül.

Zuse was unable to convince the Nazi government to support their work in a computer-based valves. The Germans thought they were about to win the war and was not considered necessary to support new research.

The Z1 through Z3 models were destroyed during the war with Apparatebau Zuse, the manufacturer of computer Zuse was formed in 1940. Zuse went to Zurich to complete his work on the Z4, the smuggling of Germany, the Z4 in a military truck, who hid in the stalls on the way to Zurich, Switzerland. The completed and installed the Z4, Division of Applied Mathematics Institute of the ETH Zurich in the use of it until 1955. The Z4 had a mechanical memory with a capacity of 1,024 words and several card readers. Zuse had no use moving images to store programs, you can now use punch cards. The Z4 had punches and various facilities to allow flexible scheduling, including address translation and conditional branching. In 1949 he returned to Germany to form a second company called Zuse KG to build and market their designs. Models Zuse was rebuilt in 1960 in the Z3 and Z1 in 1984.

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