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Konrad Zuse's legacy: the architecture of the Z1 and Z3

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1 Author(s)
Rojas, R. ; Dept. of Math. & Comput. Sci., Martin-Luther-Univ., Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Provides a detailed description of the architecture of the Z1 and Z3 computing machines that Konrad Zuse designed in Berlin between 1936 and 1941. The necessary basic information was obtained from a careful evaluation of the patent application Zuse filed in 1941. Additional insight was gained from a software simulation of the machine's logic. The Z1 was built using purely mechanical components; the Z3 used electromechanical relays. However, both machines shared a common logical structure, and their programming model was the same. I argue that both the Z1 and the Z3 possessed features akin to those of modern computers: the memory and processor were separate units, and the processor could handle floating-point numbers and compute the four basic arithmetical operations as well as the square root of a number. The program was stored on punched tape and was read sequentially. In the last section of this paper, I put the architecture of the Z1 and Z3 into historical perspective by offering a comparison with computing machines built in other countries

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing, IEEE  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Apr-Jun 1997

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