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SVOBODA, Antonín

* 14. 10. 1907, Prague, Czech Republic
† 18. 5. 1980, Milwaukee, Oregon, USA

Computer scientist, mathematician, electrical engineer

S. studied at the College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of Czech Technical University in Prague, from where he graduated in 1931. Later he studied at the Faculty of Science. In 1934 he became an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague and gained his PhD in the field of technical sciences in 1936. The following year he worked on the development of the anti-aircraft artillery sights for the Ministry of National Defence. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 he fled to France, where he continued with his work on receivers at the "Société d'Applications générales d'Electricité et Mécanique" in Paris. When the Germans occupied France, he emigrated to the USA, where he became chief engineer and vice president of "ABAX" in New York, which manufactured receivers for his systems. In order to calculate the position of an airplane in flight according to predetermined parameters, S. used the analogue computer with mechanical lever elements for performing the operations – a system later developed by him, for which he received a number of patents in the USA. From 1943 on S. participated in experiments in the Radiation Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a regular member and worked to develop a new auto-aiming targeting scope for warship anti-aircraft cannons. He was given a Naval Ordnance Development Award for his contribution in the allies’ victory. In 1946 S. returned to Czechoslovakia, becoming the department head at Prague's CTU of the Department of Mathematics, where he also obtained his PhD in 1948. As part of his educational activities he also held special lectures on the mathematical devices for students of the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Around the same time he founded a research laboratory in Prague branch "Zbrojovka Brno" and began with the development of functional models of relay calculators, as well as more sophisticated mathematical machinery. This laboratory was the basis for subsequent research and development department of the “ARTIMA” Company. In 1955 he received the State Prize for the project on computer punch cards, which were later mass produced in “ARTIMA”.
In 1950 the Central Mathematical Institute was established. Within the Institute S. had his laboratory that later grew into a research institute. S. managed it until he was resolved for political reasons in 1964. Here he constructed a large relay computer known as SAPO, the first computer in Czechoslovakia. In 1957 its subsystem was run for the first time. The first generation of computers was followed by the EPOS 1 computer, containing electron tubes, and a more advanced version, the EPOS 2 which contained transistors. In 1964 S. went to the USA for the second time; now to the Research Centre of General Electrics in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1968 he left for the University of California in Los Angeles as a professor of computer sciences, refining his theories on computer design, computer arithmetic and concepts of logic and retired in 1977. He visited the University of Paris as a visiting professor in 1975 and in the same year for the last time his homeland Czech Republic.

24. 05. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Košice

On 25th May, 2011 we will open the Central European Science Adventure in Slovak Technical Museum in Košice. The game will be accessible for school groups till 30th June. For more info ...

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20. 04. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Budapest

On 4th May, 2011 we will open the Central European Science Adventure in Magyar Műszaki és Közlekedési Múzeum in Budapest. The game will be accessible for school groups ...

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva