Konrad Zuse and the first digital computer

At least Zürich has an interesting nightlife with the rattling of the Z4, even if it is only modest.”

Konrad Zuse


(1910 – 1995) was a German civil engineer, inventor and computer pioneer. His greatest achievement was the world’s first programmable computer; the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3 became operational in May 1941.


Thanks to this machine and its predecessors, Zuse has often been regarded as the inventor of the modern computer.

Zuse was also noted for the S2 computing machine, considered the first process-controlled computer. He founded one of the earliest computer businesses in 1941, producing the Z4, which became the world’s first commercial computer.

From 1943 to 1945  he designed the first high-level programming language, Plankalkül.

In 1969, Zuse suggested the concept of a computation-based universe in his book Rechnender Raum (Calculating Space).

Much of his early work was financed by his family and commerce, but after 1939 he was given resources by the Nazi German government. Due to World War II, Zuse’s work went largely unnoticed in the United Kingdom and the United States. Possibly his first documented influence on a US company was IBM’s option on his patents in 1946.

There is a replica of the Z3, as well as the original Z4, in the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin has an exhibition devoted to Zuse, displaying twelve of his machines, including a replica of the Z1 and several of Zuse’s paintings.

libro zuse

Z3 (computer)


The Z3 was an electromechanical computer designed by Konrad Zuse.

It was the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer. The Z3 was built with 2000 relays, implementing a 22-bit word length that operated at a clock frequency of about 5–10 Hz. Program code and data were stored on punched film.

The Z3 was completed in Berlin in 1941. The German Aircraft Research Institute used it to perform statistical analyses of wing flutter. Zuse asked the German government for funding to replace the relays with fully electronic switches, but funding was denied during World War II since such development was deemed “not war-important”. The original Z3 was destroyed in 1943 during an Allied bombardment of Berlin. A fully functioning replica was built in the 1960s by Zuse’s company, Zuse KG, and is on permanent display in the Deutsches Museum. The Z3 was demonstrated in 1998 to be, in principle, Turing-complete.

Thanks to this machine and its predecessors, Konrad Zuse is often regarded as the inventor of the computer.

Z4 (computer)



Z4 on display at the Deutsches Museum, Munich
The Z4 was the world’s first commercial digital computer, designed by German engineer Konrad Zuse and built by his company Zuse Apparatebau between 1942 and 1945.[1] The Z4 was Zuse’s final target for the Z3 design, and like it, was an electromechanical machine.

BIO http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Zuse.html


The Z4 Computer
The goal of the Z4, which was developed between 1942 and 1945, was to build the prototype for a machine that was intended to be produced in the thousands. Unfortunately, the war destroyed my father’s hope, which was that his machines should support the work of engineers of the time.

ETH Bibliotek



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In 1940, Konrad Zuse formulated a vision, which was to use computers to release the spirits of humans from the stupid task of calculations. In order to build his computers, Konrad Zuse founded a company called the Zuse Apparatebau in Berlin on April 1, 1940.  zuse
The Zuse Apparatebau was a small company located in the Methfesselstraße 7 and 10 in Berlin-Kreuzberg.


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