The Computer - My Life
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Konrad Zuse is one of the great pioneers of the computer age. He created thefirst fully automated, program controlled, freely programmable computer using binary floating-point calculation. It was operational in 1941. He built his first machines in Berlin during the Second World War, with bombs falling all around, and after the war he built up a company that was taken over by Siemens in 1967. Zuse was an inventor in the traditional style, full of phantastic ideas, but also gifted with a powerful analytical mind. Single-handedly, he developed one of the first programming languages, the Plan Calculus, including features copied only decades later in other languages. He wrote numerousbooks and articles and won many honors and awards. This is his autobiography, written in an engagingly lively and pleasant style, full of anecdotes, reminiscences, and philosophical asides. It traces his life from his childhood in East Prussia, through tense wartime experiences and hard times building up his business after the war, to a ripe old age andwell-earned celebrity.
memory unit. Encouraged by this success, I believed that meehanical solutions were to be preferred, even for the other components of the machine - the arithmetic unit in particular. After some early successes I had to admit, however, that mechanical solutions were not flexible enough for such tasks . For two years I had battled with mechanical constructions until I finally had to give up . U nfortunatcly, these devices were destroyed in the air raids, but I was able to develop and test the basic
15 Ch apter 3 The ea rly yea rs of th e comp ute r (a nd a digression on its prehistor y) - Colleagu es rem em ber - From mech anics to electro mec hanics - Schreyer's elec tro nic compu ting mach in e - First ou tside con tacts - Thou ghts on the future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Chapter 4 Outbreak of the war a nd (first) ca ll-up - Structural enginee r in airc raft construction - T he Z2 a nd Z3 - Second ca ll-up -