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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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computer The third computer designed and built by KonradZuse and the first computer to successfully run real
programs. The computer was ready in 1941, five years before
Zuse began his work on program-driven calculating machines in
1935. His two predessors of the Z3, the Z1 and Z2, were
unsuccessful mechanical calculating machines. The Z3 was
delivered to the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt fur Luftfahrt
(German Experimental Department of Aeronautics) in Berlin and
was used for deciphering coded messages. In 1998, there may
still be models of Z3 in museums [where?].
The Z3 used about 2600 relays of the kind used in
telecommunications. Zuse wrote and implemented the language
Plankalkul on the Z3. Programs were punched into cinefilm.
Zuse built some more computers after World War II, including
the Z3's successor, the Z4, which was set up at ETH Zurich,
Of the potential rival claimants to the title of first
programmable computer, Babbage (UK, c1840) planned but was
not able to build a decimal, programmable machine.
Atanasoff's ABC, completed in 1942, and Eckert and
Mauchly's ENIAC (US, 1945/46) were special purpose
calculators, like those of Pascal (1640) and Leibniz
(1670). None of these machines was freely programmable.
Neither was Turing et al.'s Colossus (UK, 1943-45).
Aiken's MARK I (1944) was programmable but still decimal,
without separation of storage and control.