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Konrad Zuse
Konrad Zuse (1992).jpg
Konrad Zuse in 1992
Born (1910-06-22)22 June 1910
Died 18 December 1995(1995-12-18) (aged 85)
Hünfeld, Hesse, Germany
Nationality German
Alma mater Technical University of Berlin
Known for Z3, Z4
Calculating Space (cf. digital physics)
Awards Werner von Siemens Ring in 1964,
Harry H. Goode Memorial Award in 1965 (together with George Stibitz),
Wilhelm Exner Medal, 1969
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972
Computer History Museum Fellow Award in 1999
Scientific career
Fields Computer science
Computer engineering
Institutions Aerodynamic Research Institute
Konrad Zuse Signature.png

Konrad Zuse (22 June 1910 – 18 December 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 control 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.

Personal life

Konrad Zuse Denkmal im Huenfelder Stadtpark
Zuse Memorial in Hünfeld, Hessen

Konrad Zuse married Gisela Brandes in January 1945, employing a carriage, himself dressed in tailcoat and top hat and with Gisela in a wedding veil, for Zuse attached importance to a "noble ceremony". Their son Horst, the first of five children, was born in November 1945.

After he retired, he focused on his hobby of painting.

Zuse was an atheist.


Zuse died on 18 December 1995 in Hünfeld, Germany (near Fulda) from heart failure.

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