History of Numerical Analysis

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Oral Histories

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Heinz Zemanek

Oral History (pdf)

Interviewer Philip Davis

Professor Zemanek begins by discussing fortunate circumstances that allowed him to finish his studies in telecommunications engineering  inVienna at the beginning of World War II before joining the army as a telecommunications soldier in Greece. He became a teacher in the telecommunications school of the German Army in Salonika. He was able to get out of the army, begin his diploma work, and join a radar development team in the Air Force.  He was able to travel and eventually completed his diploma work under the supervision of Richard Feldtkeller at the Technical University of Stuttgart. However, he submitted his work to the University of Vienna. He discusses the relative lack of progress in design of filters in Germany due to the slowness in adopting mathematical techniques. After the war, he began work on computers. Zemanek  discusses the development of computers and computer architectures, and the philosophy of computing in the United States,  Germany, and the United Kingdom. He describes the his role in development of the first fully transitorized computer in continental Europe the Mailüfterl. He comments on the history and philosphy of computing, information theory and artificial intelligence.

Key words: telecommunications, filter design, computer architecture, Mailüfterl, information theory, artificial intelligence, uqantum computing

Time frame: 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's

People: Richard Feldtkeller, Howard Aiken, John von Neumann, Alan Turing, Norbert Weiner, Claude Shannon, Dennis Gabor, Edmund Berkeley

Location: Technical University of Vienna

Citation: Heinz Zemanek, Oral history interview by Philip Davis, 11 June, 2005, Technical University of Vienna. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia, PA


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