Zuse Z3 machine completed
12th May 1941
Konrad Zuse's Z3 was the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computing machine; whose attributes, with the addition of conditional branching, have often been the ones used as criteria in defining a computer. The Z3 was built with 2,000 relays. (A request for funding for an electronic successor was denied as "strategically unimportant". It had a clock frequency of ~5–10 Hz, and a word length of 22 bits. Calculations on the computer were performed in full binary floating point arithmetic. Z3 read programs off a punched film.
The machine was completed in 1941. On 12 May 1941, it was successfully presented to an audience of scientists (including Prof. Alfred Teichmann and Prof. C. Schmieden) of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt ("German Laboratory for Aviation"), in Berlin. The original Z3 was destroyed in 1943 during an Allied bombardment of Berlin.
A fully functioning replica was built in the 1960s by the originator's company Zuse KG and is on permanent display in the Deutsches Museum. The Z3 was used by the German Aircraft Research Institute to perform statistical analyses of wing flutter in aircraft design. Dr. Joseph Jennissen, member of the Reich Air Ministry acted as the federal supervisor.
Unlike the first non-programmable mechanical computer, built by Wilhelm Schickard in 1623, the Z3 was program-controlled.
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