KONRAD ZUSE (1910-1995)
1935-1938: Konrad Zuse builds Z1, world’s first program-controlled computer. Despite certain mechanical engineering problems it had all the basic ingredients of modern machines, using the binary system and today’s standard separation of storage and control. Zuse’s 1936 patent application (Z23139/GMD Nr. 005/021) also suggests a von Neumann architecture (re-invented in 1945) with program and data modifiable in storage.
1941: Zuse completes Z3, world’s first fully functional programmable computer.
1945: Zuse describes Plankalkuel, world’s first higher-level programming language, containing many standard features of today’s programming languages. FORTRAN came almost a decade later. Zuse also used Plankalkuel to design world’s first chess program.
1946: Zuse founds world’s first computer startup company: the Zuse-Ingenieurbüro Hopferau. Venture capital raised through ETH Zürich and an IBM option on Zuse’s patents.
The photo shows Konrad Zuse in the mid 80s with employees of the software company InterFace Connection GmbH (now Interface AG). (Photo Source)