[SIGCIS-Members] Criticism of von Neumann historiography

Richard Vahrenkamp vahrenkamp2016 at gmx.de
Thu Jul 5 23:54:49 PDT 2018

Dear SIGCIS researchers,

Dear SIGCIS researchers,

In my lecture at the ICOHTEC annual meeting in St. Etienne, I point to 
the dominance of the subject of the Neumann Computer in the 
historiography and show on the basis of numerous sources that in the 
Californian cluster of the aircraft industry, in addition to the IAS in 
Princeton, a second birthplace of the computing machines (mainly with 
analog computers) was created after 1944, which was previously 
considered by the research little.

The aircraft cluster found no use for the digital von Neumann machine.

Since von Neumann's machine was merely academic and was not used in 
industry, John von Neumann had to invent fields of application in the 
future as the legitimacy of his project. He opted for meteorology - 
although it is not clear that analog computers could not offer solutions 
here as well.

Until 1960, the race between analog and digital computers in aircraft 
and missile industry was not decided in favor of the latter; in 1961, 
NASA commissioned a large general-purpose analog computer for the Saturn 
V project.

My thesis of the aviation industry as the source of computing machines 
after 1944 can also be applied to other countries with strong aircraft 
industries, such as England and the Soviet Union. It was also no 
coincidence that Zuse‘s Z3, the first electric digital computer in 
Germany, was created in 1941 in the context of the Berlin aircraft industry.

With kind regards from Berlin

Richard Vahrenkamp

Prof. Dr. Richard Vahrenkamp
Logistik Consulting Berlin
Phone 0177- 628 3325
E-Mail: Vahrenkamp2016 at gmx.de
Web: www.vahrenkamp.org
Trendelenburgstr. 16
14057 Berlin


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