Since when do we have computer science? (Seit wann gibt es Informatik?) (German) Zbl 1111.68301

The paper deals with the origin and development of computer science, especially of its German version “Informatik”. The name can be traced back to the French “informatique”, introduced by the Académie Française in 1968. Before this, “Informatik” existed as a trademark of the SEL company, later released for scientific purposes.
The author surveys some lines of development leading to the computer, such as the history of general automata especially in the Enlightenment; logical automata from Lull’s ars magna to the calculi of symbolic logic; calculating machines; and program-controlled machines focussing on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and the computers of Konrad Zuse. He mentions Zuse’s “Plankalkül” of 1945, according to the author the first higher programming language capable not only of calculating but also of data-processing in a wider sense: Zuse wrote, “the aim of the ‘Plankalkül’ was to create the theoretical preconditions for the formulation of problems of a very general nature” (cf. p. 31 in the paper under review). The author also reports on Robert Piloty’s conception and realization of PERM (1952–1958), the name being an acronym for “program-controlled electronic calculating facility Munich” (pp. 31–32).
The paper continues with considerations of features of computers, their enormous effects in science including scientific method, and economy.


68-03 History of computer science
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century