Zuses (Was: Re: Overhyped Innovations (was Re: OS's In

From: Hans Franke <franke_at_sbs.de>
Date: Wed Jul 1 08:15:13 1998

> Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 11:33:09 PDT
> Reply-to: classiccmp_at_u.washington.edu
> From: "Max Eskin" <maxeskin_at_hotmail.com>
> To: "Discussion re-collecting of classic computers" <classiccmp_at_u.washington.edu>
> Subject: Re: Zuses (Was: Re: Overhyped Innovations (was Re: OS's In ROM'

>> [About first Computers/Zuses]
>>Big ? Hmm. The Z1 could be described as a desktop computer,
>>since Zuse (and his friends) bulid it on his parents kitchen
>>table - but it tool up the whole table.

> More questions, then:
> What did they do? I guess they couldn't have been that powerful if the
> ENIAC took up a whole building...

The Z1 for shure, but compared to the ENIAC, the Z3 had
a comprehensive calculating speed. One problem is the
different technologie used - ENIAC used a 10 digit fixed
point decimal system, while Zuse already used binary
floating point like todays computers.

The ENIAC could do 14 fixed point multiplication per
second, while the Z3 did (only) 0.3 floating point.

Its the old thing of big money vs. no money - or government
fund projects vs. private - for the ENIAC, upenn had (almost)
unlimited government money, while Zuse didn't get any singe
cent - so he had to use junk telephone relais instead of new
one, and this also is the reason why he used a relais system
istrad of tubes - he just couldn't aford it -

It's the same in all ages - if you don't have to count every
transistor, byte, megabyte (M$) you'll use everything available.
(The ENIAC-on-a-chip project also took 174,569 transistors to
rebuild the function :)

>After the War was finally over, news of the University of
Pennsylvania ENIAC machine went all round the world - "18,000
tubes!". We could only shake our heads. What on earth were all
the tubes for? Schreyer and I parted company after the War.
At that time it was prohibited to develop electronic equipment in
West Germany.<

They had plans for a 2000 tubes computer around 1937, but
didn't get the money, since the authorities belived that the
war wouldn't need it, because the planned two year development
would be to late ... Helmut Schreyer had build a small experimental
machine for calculating 10 Digit numbers with something
around 100 tubes, running in 1944. Not a complete comuter -
more like a calculator.


Ich denke, also bin ich, also gut
Received on Wed Jul 01 1998 - 08:15:13 BST

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