Konrad Zuse’s Contributions to the modern Computer
Ambros Speiser /SPEI98/ and F.L. Bauer /ROJA98a/ say that Konrad Zuse must be credited with the following fundamental inventions in the area of computing development, where most of them were implemented in the machines Z1 (1938), Z3 (1941) and Z4 (1945), with the exception of the Plankalkül:
* The use of the binary number system for numbers and the circuits.
* The use of floating point numbers, along with the algorithms for the translation between binary and decimal and vice versa.
* An algorithm for the non-
* The carry-
* Special values (Sonderwerte): If a result exceeds the capacity of the arithmetic unit, it is designed as Sonderwert. This principle guarantees that the machine always calculates correctly.
* The most unusual feature was undoubtedly the mechanical binary cells that made
up the memory. The memory has 64 words with 32 bits (Z1 and Z4). These devices were
completely different from mechanisms in contempory cash registers or desk-
* The Plankalkül as the first complete high-
All these ideas were Konrad Zuses personal achievements. In one or two cases he was perhaps not the first inventor, but he certainly had no knowledge what was done elsewhere;
Until 1950 he lived in complete isolation from the world outside Germany. I think, that Giloi /GILO97/ writes very correctly: Through Brian Randell’s book /RAND73/, an English translation of Zuse’s first patent application of 1936 /ZUSE36/ has become more widely known, proving that Zuse had already developed many of the major concepts of the digital computer years before John von Neumann, Arthur Burks, and Herman Goldstine wrote their famous report /BURK46/.
/ROJA98a/ Rojas Raul (Editor): Die Rechenmaschinen von Konrad Zuse, Springer Verlag, 1998.
This is a detailed analysis of a Konrad Zuses machines Z1 and Z3 with many new details. It also contains the report of the fight of Konrad Zuse for his patents from 1938 till 1967. Konrad Zuse lost this fight in 1967.
/SPEI98/ Speiser, Ambros: The Early Years of the Institute: Aquisition and Operation
of the Z4, Planning of the ERMETH. Departement of Computer Science, ETH-
|Zuse KG (1949-1964)|
|Zuse KG - Computer|
|Z1- Metal Sheets|