Konrad Zuse a German engineer and entrepreneur invented the world’s first functional program-controlled Turing-complete computer, the Z3.
It became operational in May 1941. As modern machines it used a binary system separation of storage and control.
“Computers will never take the place of books. You can’t stand on a floppy disk to reach a high shelf.” — Konrad Zuse
Zuse had no background in electrical engineering. For his job as civil engineer he had to perform endless mathematical calculations on paper. He envisoned a machine which allowed him to automate arithmetic. “I was too lazy to calculate”, Zuse later said, “and so I invented the computer”.
In 1943 Zuse he designed Plankalkuel, the 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.
- In 1967 Zuse was the first to suggest that the universe itself is running on a grid of computers. He published the first book about digital physics in 1969, “Rechnender Raum” (Computing Space).