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Karl Steinbuch

Karl Steinbuch is one of the founders of Informatik (Computer Science) in Germany [ 4]. Karl Steinbuch has coined the term "Informatik", the German word for Computer Science [ 4]. Already in 1966 he predicted IoT: the Internet of Things [6]. And 1971 he predicted the multimedia age and pointed toward the techniques enabling the WWW (World-Wide Web) [5]. 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 [1] revival (see Cyber-physical systems [2],  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 Inst. 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.
                                   Reiner Hartenstein - http://hartenstein.de

[1] W. Hilberg: "Karl Steinbuch, ein zu Unrecht vergessener Pionier der künstlichen neuronalen Systeme" Frequenz 49 (1995) 1 - 2
[2] F.J. Rammig: Self-Coordination as Fundamental Concept for Cyber Physical Systems; WoSiDA'12, Ouro Preto, Brasil, 2012

[3] Jianhua Shi, Jiafu Wan, Hehua Yan, Hui Suo: A Survey of Cyber-Physical Systems; WCSP 2011, Nanjing, China, Nov 9-11, 2011

[5] Karl Steinbuch, Reiner Hartenstein: Zukunftsaspekte der Informationstechnik; Techniken der Zukunft 1/1971
[6] Karl Steinbuch: "In a few decades time, computers will be interwoven into almost every industrial product" 1967 , [X], [X]


"It is not sufficient to invent something. You need to recognize, that you have invented something."
Karl Steinbuch      
(click here)


Prof. Karl Steinbuch 1968, Univ. Karlsruhe

* 15. Juni 1917 in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt;
† 4. Juni 2005 in Ettlingen    see Obituary

Bio (in German)  |  Flyer Publisher
Karl Steinbuch in Wikipedia, german
Karl Steinbuch in Wikipedia, english
Karl Steinbuch - Informatiker der ersten Stunde
[4] Karlsruhe, the cradle of  the  Informatik
Also the name of this area: coined by  Steinbuch
In 1966 Steinbuch predicts the Mulimedia Age
Karl Steinbuch scholarship

Books by Karl Steinbuch

Prof. Gemmeke with the first European Neurocomputer, completed in 1968 under Steinbuch at Karlsruhe.

Steinbuch-based American projects

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).

Also Professor Carver Mead, when working at Caltech on the artificial retina, has frequently quoted Karl Steinbuch's Learnmatrix.

Memistor vs Memristor:

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.


Computer Structures Group
Department of Computer Science
University of Kaiserslautern

Karl Steinbuch

Steinbuch is the inventor of the first practical artificial neural network (ANN) in the world: the Lernmatrix (Learnmatrix). 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 (mirror),  slide 6-9 here).  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, as 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), Prof. Steinbuch has been a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1964.
Like Konrad Zuse (who developed a functioning program-controlled computing machine c.1936), Steinbuch has been largely unknown outside Germany, but was and is a celebrated computer pioneer in his native land. The state governement of Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany grants quite a number of  „Karl Steinbuch scholarships“ each year. More than a decade before the first CS department has been founded in Germany („Fakultaet fuer Informatik“ in 1969 at University of Karlsruhe) Steinbuch gave regularly scheduled academic courses on these subject areas. I have been one of his first students at Karlsruhe’s EE department in 1958. Now almost 50 professors are Alumni of Karl Steinbuch. Not only because of having coined the term „Informatik“, the official German word for „Computer Science“, Karl Steinbuch was the most important trailblazer of German Computer Science.        lookKIT-2017

In 1958 Karl Steinbuch founded the Institut für Nachrichtenverarbeitung (institute for information processing - to-day: ITIV) of the University of Karlsruhe. The term " Informatik" (German 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 became a strong 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
**) W. Hilberg: Karl Steinbuch, ein zu Unrecht vergessener Pionier der kuenstlichen neuronalen Systeme.  Frequenz 49 (1995) 1-2, S. 28-36  -  pdf
***) 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, 2016, Reiner Hartenstein

Wikipedia pages about Karl Steinbuch: english | french | german | portugese | russian | spanish

Map yourinfo about Karl Steinbuch: english  |  german  |  portugese  |  Mind Mapping: Karl Steinbuch

Books by Karl Steinbuch       Buecher von Karl Steinbuch Neue Deutsche Biographie Karl Steinbuch - Informatiker der ersten Stunde Nachlass von Karl Steinbuch Klaus Biener über Karl Steinbuch - Informatiker der ersten Stunde Deutsches Museum über Philipp Aumann Rezension von P. Aumann: Kybernetik - Mode und Methode kybernetiknet Gesellschaft für Kybernetik Amarican Society for Cybernetics Humboldt-Universität cms-journal: Bedeutende Naturwissenschaftler und Erfinder x


institute and funding programs named after Karl Steinbuch

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youtube Steinbuch ceremony youtube video

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more honors:
(also s. here)

100 Jahre Karl Steinbuch:

Almut Ochsmann: "Vordenker der Informationsgesellschaft - zum 100. Geburtstag von Karl Steinbuch"

Computer-Visionär liebäugelte mit völkischen Ideen; BNN 14. 10. 2017

Welcome to the ITIV

Wilhelm Boelsche Gold Medal
The German Scientific Book Award

Award Medal Baden-Württemberg State Governement

Konrad Adenauer Award for Science
Jakob Fugger Medal

Gold Medal, XXIth International Congress on Aviation and Space Medicine