Updated: 20/08/2010 12:11 | By Owen Adams, contributor, MSN Travel
The 11,000-year-old British house and 12 more of the oldest things on Earth

Oldest digital computer



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Dating from? 1936
Found where? Berlin, Germany

While an engineering student, Konrad Zuse (1910-95) began dreaming up a way of producing a calculating machine - he found sums tedious. He quit his job as an aircraft designer to build the world's first programmable digital computer, the Z1, in his parents' apartment. The room-sized calculator read instructions from punched tape.

Zuse refined and improved on this model, and most of the range from Z1 to Z31 - painstakingly reconstructed (the Z1 had 30,000 components) - are on permanent exhibition at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, along with the polymath Zuse's abstract paintings.

Computer history geeks might also note that Zuse's 1941 Z3 was the earliest to pass all the gold-standard Turing computability tests, and his 1958 Z22 made the leap to magnetic storage.

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