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Best Of 2015

(January – December 2015)

Patricio Armijo

Una Postal Típica de Valparaiso

Markus Altendorff

Zuse Z23 Computer

Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen, Germany

October 17, 2015, 1800 (UTC+2)

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© 2015 Markus Altendorff, All Rights Reserved.

This is the Zuse Z23 computer at the collection of information technology (ISER) of Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) at Erlangen, Germany.

This machine was bought in 1962 as the foundation of electronic data processing at the FAU and served in teaching students the programming language ALGOL for 14 years until it was replaced. It then was in operation for another 7 years at the Christian Ernst secondary school until it was put out of service in 1983.

Today it is part of the ISER exhibition at the FAU, and was restored to a fully operational state after 30 years of dormancy. It is publicly run every fortnight to show the technological marvel of early information technology. 100 of its kind were built, 12 remain, with this one being the last still operational.

The Z23 has 2700 transistors, 6800 diodes (the array of brown cards in the opening view), a 140 kHz clock speed and a magnetic drum storage of 8192 40-bit words (pictured to the left, with one drum out in the open on the stand) plus a magnetic core storage. The system is attached to a teleprinter and a punched tape reader for loading programs.

Its total cost is estimated at 640,000 Deutschmark, when at that time the average monthly income was about 480 Deutschmarks (or, put in relation, one would need 111 work years to earn that)

Thanks to the ISER management for granting permission for the panorama.

The ISER has a collection of many other items on display, showing the history of IT over the course of the last decades.

Hear and see the Z23 in operation (german language, with video)



Canon EOS 1200D, Sigma 8mm f/3.5, PTgui 9, Photoshop CS6

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