Karl Steinbuch is one of the founders of Informatik (Computer Science) in Germany . Karl Steinbuch has coined the term "Informatik", the German word for Computer Science . Already in 1971 he predicted the multimedia age and pointed toward the techniques enabling the WWW (World-Wide Web) . It took til August 3 in 1984 when Werner Zorn at Karlsruhe University received the first transatlantic E-mail per zorn@germany. Karl Steinbuch is also the father of artificial neuronal networks, well known by his " Lernmatrix" (Learnmatrix), patented already in the 50ies. He is the founder of the discipline, which later Carver Mead has called neuromorphic engineering. Karl Steinbuch is also one of the trailblazers of the Cybernetics movements in the 60ies, now enjoying an overdue  revival (see Cyber-physical systems [2, 3], Organic Computing and Transdisciplinary Design and Process). Karl Steinbuch, my former boss and supervisor of my Diploma thesis and my Ph. D. thesis, has been my most valuable mentor in an important time of my professional development. This also holds for almost 50 more university professors, being his alumni. Still to-day, the institute "ITIV" having been founded by Karl Steinbuch in the 50ies at the KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (University of Karlsruhe), enjoying an excellent reputation and highest rankings. Karl Steinbuch passed away on June 4, 2005, a few days before he reached an age of 88.
Karl Steinbuch scholarship
HNC Software Inc. of San Diego has worked in developing cortronic
neural networks conceived by its chief scientist Professor Robert
Hecht-Nielsen - based on the work of Karl Steinbuch (here).
Why 2 similar terms?
In 1971 Berkeley-Professor Leon Chua requested a 4th passive component in addition to resistor, inductor and capacitor which, in the formula space of current, voltage, and, magnetism, connects el. charge with magnetic flow. Chua called it Memristor (with "r" behind Mem). In his 1971 paper* Chua does not mention the Memistor Corporation (without "r" behind Mem), founded in 1962 by Prof. Bernhard Widrow (Stanford). In a publication Steinbuch requested already in 1961 such a component with "resistor memory".
*) Chua, L.O.;
“Memristor-the missing circuit element,” IEEE Trans on Circuit
Theory, Sep 1971, vol. ct-18/5: 507-519.
Steinbuch is the inventor of the
first practical artificial
neural network (ANN) in the world: the Lernmatrix
Already in the mid 50ies Steinbuch has
held patents on this. But his papers published at that time - written
in German language - have been mostly unknown to American scientists.
In the early 60ies an influencial
well-known American AI professor had
condemned all ANN approaches because of uselessness, which pulled the
plug of American and even world-wide research funding on this topic area for almost two
decades. The Learnmatrix, however, had provided all the properties
requested by this professor already at that time and even
earlier (special McKinsey curve, slide 6-9
It has been wrong to ignore Steinbuch for such a long
time, writes Prof. Wolfgang Hilberg, TU Darmstadt, in a paper published
in 1995** on the history of the Learnmatrix,
well as in his book
published in the year 2000*. Upon invitation by Prof. Bernard
Widrow, well known by his ADALINE
and MADALINE (both ANNs),
Steinbuch has been a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1964.
In 1958 Karl Steinbuch founded the Institut
für Nachrichtenverarbeitung (institute for information
processing - to-day: ITIV)
of the University of Karlsruhe. The term "Informatik"
translation of "Computer Science") had been coined by
Steinbuch: published in1957 (title: Karl Seinbuch:
"Informatik: Automatische Informationsverarbeitung"). Before joining
the University of Karlsruhe, Karl Steinbuch was director of development
at the Stuttgart “Informatik-Werk” of Standard
Electric Lorenz AG
(SEL); at that time a part of the ITT group. In 1954 he
advocate of the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes for digital
computer product development (this was before silicon transistors
became available). Under his leadership, development of the ER-56,
Europe’s first fully transistorized digital computer, was completed,
and then marketed as a product by SEL. The ER-56 exhibited a dramatic
increase in reliability over vacuum tube computers (which typically
spent more than 50% of their time in maintenance).
Already in 1966 Karl Steinbuch predicted the displacement of analog techniques by digital techniques, the merging of communication and computing, as well as the merging of entertainment and computing - the multimedia age. [Werner Zorn]. Already 35 years ago Karl Steinbuch predicted Gerrmany’s current economical problems. In the late 60ies his bestsellers "Falsch programmiert" und "Programm 2000" had ranked for months at top positions on the 20 bestseller book list of DER SPIEGEL (kind of German TIMES).
*) W. Hilberg: Grosse Herausforderungen in der Informationstechnik - Vom Abenteur der Forschung; 384 S., ISBN. 3-928161-05-9
***) Obituaries by the authors Bernard Widrow, Reiner Hartenstein and Robert Hecht-Nielsen have been submitted to the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Newsletter, August 2005, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Magazine, first issue of this new magazine, to appear in 2006, and to Nature.
© copyright 1999, 2008, 2012, 2014, Reiner Hartenstein