Konrad Zuse was what a geek in the 20th century would look like. His love for mathematics and engineering were recognized by many. In the dawn of world war two, he would play an important role as Germany’s data processor, using his computers.
He is the creator of the first programming language, along with the world famous electromechanical computer. This was the story of a man who brought technology to a new age.
Born an Engineer
Konrad Zuse was born in Berlin, Germany on June 22nd, 1910. From the start of his life, he showed the skills of a talented engineer and mathematician.
He enrolled in the Technical University of Berlin to study architecture and engineering. But this major soon bore him, and he decided to be a civil engineer.
After graduating, he worked mainly as engineering designer to many famous companies, such as Ford. Then he worked in Henschel, a German aircraft manufacturer.
The Computer Mechanic
Like architecture, it bore him so much he decided to quit. In 1935, he tried building computers in his parents’ flat. He created his first computer, Z1, in his parents’ living room in 1936.
It was a massive calculator, containing over 30,000 metal parts. Due to mechanical imprecision, it didn’t work very well.
The Engineer’s Call to Arms
In the dawn of world war two, he was called to serve in the German military. His intelligence soon served the military really well.
With the German government funding his experiments, he managed to create the Z2, one of the largest computers to exist. It upgraded the Z1 version, which included telephone relays.
From Z2, he built Z3 in 1941 and presented it to the public. It was the most advanced and the first electromechanical computer and the military used it for calculating complex calculations. He wanted to develop the fully electric version, but it was denied.
Due to many bombings and war ravages, he lost many plans of his past machines. Z1, Z2, and Z3 were destroyed during many bombings. His newest creation, Z4 have to be moved to Swiss after Germany’s defeat in world war two.
After the war, he made many more computers and starting his own company. He then proceeds to create Z computers, until his last Z43.
Creating the First Programming Language
His Z4 computer made him realize that mechanical programming was too complex. In the development of the Z4, he made Plankalkül, the first programming language.
Using Plankalkül, Konrad Zuse made a chess game to be played on the Z4. His Plankalkül will become the base of many modern programming languages until this day.
The Father of Modern Computers
Plankalkül and the Z computers made a significant impact on many creations of newer electromechanical computers at that time. His contribution to new technological advances in programming languages continues with his company.
Konrad Zuse would see the world advance to a new age. After he died on 18th of December, 1995, the world soon went into technological revolution, thanks to his computers that he made 5 decades ago.