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Issue No.04 - October-December (2008 vol.30)
pp: 77-91
Petri Paju , University of Turku, Finland
ABSTRACT
By the time the first operational electronic digital computer was installed in Helsinki in 1958, Finland's computerization was already far advanced. The Finnish experience helps illustrate the spread of computing technology in Northern Europe. In Finland's case, it occurred through a combination of national goals and internationally acquired technology and expertise.
INDEX TERMS
Finland and Scandinavia; Early use of computers; Computer service center; IBM World Trade Corporation; IBM Finland; Committee for Mathematical Machines; Nokia Corporation
CITATION
Petri Paju, "National Projects and International Users: Finland and Early European Computerization", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.30, no. 4, pp. 77-91, October-December 2008, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2008.70
REFERENCES
1. W. Aspray, "International Diffusion of Computer Technology, 1945–1955," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 8, no. 4, 1986, pp. 351-360, Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari, ed., Suomen Atk-kustannus Oy, 1993 (in Finnish); M. Vehviläinen, "Gender and Computing in Retrospect: The Case of Finland," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 21, no. 2, 1999, pp. 44-51. For Sweden, see A. Carlsson, "On the Politics of Failure," History of Nordic Computing, J. Bubenko, J. Impagliazzo, and A. Sølvberg, eds., IFIP WG 9.7 First Working Conf. on the History of Nordic Computing (HiNC1), Springer, 2005, pp. 95-110.
2. Vehviläinen, "Gender and Computing in Retrospect: The Case of Finland."
3. J.W. Cortada, "How Did Computing Go Global? The Need for an Answer and a Research Agenda," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 26, no. 1, 2004, pp. 53-58, C. Schlombs, "Toward International Computing History," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 28, no. 1, 2006, pp. 108, 107; T.J. Misa, "Understanding 'How Computing Has Changed the World,'" IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 29, no. 4, 2007, pp. 52-63. An important influence for this article has been the Software for Europe project group of the European Science Foundation research program "Inventing Europe, Technology and the Making of Europe, 1850 to the Present." See, for instance, T.J. Misa and J. Schot, "Inventing Europe: Technology and the Hidden Integration of Europe," History and Technology, vol. 21, no. 1, 2005, pp. 1-19.
4. "On the co-constructing of nation and technology, see especially G. Hecht," The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II, MIT Press, 1998.
5. E. Laurila, "Über das Nyströmsche Stieltjesplanimeter [About the Stieltjesplanimeter by Nyström], Societas Scientiarum Fennica: Commentationes Physico—Mathematicae, Tomus X, article 7 (in German), The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters," 1939, P. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi" ja sen tekijät. Matematiikkakonekomitea ja tietokoneen rakentaminen kansallisena kysymyksenä1950-luvulla [Building "Ilmarinen's Finland": The Committee for Mathematical Machines and Computer Construction as a National Project in the 1950s], English summary, Univ. of Turku, C 269, 2008, pp. 66-71 (in Finnish); see http:/julkaisut.utu.fi/.
6. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 81-102.
7. M. Pohls, Suomen Kulttuurirahaston historia [History of the Finnish Cultural Foundation], WSOY, 1989, (in Finnish)
8. T. Myllyntaus, Electrifying Finland: The Transfer of a New Technology into a Late Industrialising Economy, ETLA—The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, Series A15, Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd., 1991, p. 286.
9. Laurila, "Über das Nyströmsche Stieltjesplanimeter; A. Walther, Neuzeitliche mathematische Maschinen [Modern Mathematical Machines]," Elektrotechnische Zeitschrift, vol. 61, no. 2, 1940 (in German), pp. 33-36, Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," 2008, pp. 85-86, 91-104.
10. H. Petzold, Rechnende Maschinen: Eine historische Untersuchung ihrer Herstellung und Anwendung vom Kaiserreich bis zur Bundesrepublik [Calculating Machines. A Historical Examination of their Production and Usage from the Imperial Era to the German Federal Republic], VDI Verlag, 1985, pp. 339-341 (in German), H. Neukom, "ERMETH: The First Swiss Computer," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 27, no. 4, 2005, pp. 5-22.
11. G. Kjellberg, "interview by P. Paju,"2 Aug. 2001, p. 2, Carlsson, "On the Politics of Failure," pp. 96, 102; Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 111-113.
12. E. Laurila, "interview by P. Paju,"16 Dec. 1997, H. Andersin, interview by P. Paju, 15 May 1998. Laurila also received an earlier version of the proposal made by a public investigation group on mathematical machines in Sweden in 1947. "Betänkande med förslag till närmast erförderliga åtgärder för tillgodoseende av Sveriges behov av matematikmaskiner avgivet av matematikmaskinutredningen" [Report and Suggestions for the Most Necessary Measures for Fulfilling Sweden's Need for Mathematical Machines Given by the Study Group for Mathematical Machines], Stockholm den 30 Apr. 1947 (in Swedish), personal archive of E. Laurila, National Archives of Finland, Helsinki.
13. "Koneet aiheuttavat vallankumouksen matematiikan alalla [Machines Will Revolutionize Mathematics]," Helsingin Sanomat,22 Feb 1950 (in Finnish), A. Walther to Matematikmaskinnämnden, letter, 8 Aug. 1951; MNA inkommande handlingar, ej diarieförda 1949–1951, E II:1, Matematikmaskinnämnden's Archive, the National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm.
14. H. Salmi, "Televisio, 'pyhäkoulujen kilpailija' vai 'kokoava keskipiste'? [TV, A Competitor for 'Sunday Schools or a Focus of Assembly?], originally in H. Salmi, Atoomipommilla kuuhun! [An Atomic Bomb to the Moon]," Tekniikan mentaalihistoriaa, [The Mental History of Technology], Edita, 1996, pp. 157-173 (in Finnish), see http://vanha.hum.utu.fi/historia/kh/televisio keskipiste.html.
15. J. Suominen, Koneen kokemus: Tietoteknistyväkulttuuri modernisoituvassa Suomessa 1920–luvulta 1970-luvulle [Experiences with Machines: Computerized Culture in the Process of Finnish Modernization from the 1920s to the 1970s], Vastapaino, 2003 (in Finnish).
16. "G. Järnefelt to C. Palm, letter, 18 Jan. 1950; Matematikmaskinnämnden's Archive, the National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm; Rapport för oktober—december 1951 över arbetet inom Matematikmaskinnämndens arbetsgrupp [Report for October–December 1951 Tasks in the Working Group of the Swedish Board for Computing Machinery, in Swedish], Matematikmaskinnämnden's Archive, the National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm (in Swedish)."
17. "Several mathematicians had participated in operation Stella Polaris, in which Finnish military intelligence material was moved to Sweden during Soviet offensive in 1944. Some of them stayed in Sweden after the war and specialized in computing. Paju," "Ilmarisen Suomi,", p. 115.
18. I. Susiluoto, Suuruuden laskuoppi. Venäläisen tietoyhteiskunnan synty ja kehitys [The Birth and Development of the Russian Information Society], WSOY, 2006 (in Finnish), Compare with S. Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics, MIT Press, 2002.
19. "See V.M. Wolontis, Wolontis-Bell Interpreter," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 8, no. 1, 1986, pp. 74-76, An important Finnish teacher and contact node was the mathematics professor Lars Ahlfors at Harvard Univ.
20. "E. Laurila to the State Board for Natural Sciences,"21 Mar. 1954, Archive of the Academy of Finland, The Committee for Mathematical Machines, minutes of meetings 14 Apr. 1954, founding session, Archive of the Academy of Finland.
21. "S. Comet to R. Nevanlinna, letter, 4 Sept. 1953, Matematikmaskinnämnden's Archive, the National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm."
22. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 132-138, H. Andersin and T. Carlsson, "ESKO—ensimmäinen suomalainen tietokone" [ESKO—The First Finnish Computer], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari, ed., Suomen Atk-kustannus Oy, 1993, pp. 11-23 (in Finnish).
23. "The Committee for Mathematical Machines, minutes of meetings 14 Apr. 1954, founding session; minutes of meetings,"12 Oct. 1954, Archive of the Academy of Finland, E. Laurila, interview by P. Paju, 16 Dec. 1997; H. Andersin, interview by P. Paju, 15 May 1998; O. Lehto, Korkeat maailmat: Rolf Nevanlinnan elämä[Higher Worlds: The Life of Rolf Nevanlinna], Otava, 2001, pp. 211-219 (in Finnish).
24. "L. Biermann to H. Piloty, A. Walther, and K. Küpfmüller, letter,"20 July 1954, R. Nevanlinna to L. Biermann, letter, 15 Oct. 1954; Archive of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin.
25. W. Hopmann, "The G1 and the Göttingen Family of Digital Computers," The First Computers—History and Architectures, R. Rojas, and U. Hashagen eds. MIT Press, 2000, pp. 295-313 (on pp. 298-307, 312).
26. "According to Aspray (International Diffusion of Computer Technology, 1945–, 1955 1986, pp. 351-352), the scientific style of technology transfer or development is characterized for instance by a value placed on technology for its contribution to general knowledge, sharing technology and knowledge of it as widely as possible, disseminating information especially through various forms of publications, and strong support by national governments for technological development. In the commercial style of development, the technology is driven, ideally, to benefit the individual and the employer, technical information is restricted, technology is transferred through patents and subsidiaries, and national governments continue to support research and development but restrict technology transfer to protect their national industries and security interests. T. Petersson, Facit and the BESK Boys: Sweden's Computer Industry (1956–1962)," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 27, no. 4, 2005, pp. 23-30 (on p. 25).
27. Andersin and Carlsson, "ESKO—ensimmäinen suomalainen tietokone," p. 14, These were no doubt only preliminary discussions. According to Anders Carlsson, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences had no formal rights to the BESK drawings. See also A. Carlsson, "On the Politics of Failure."
28. "In 1955, the Danes would decide to duplicate the BESK in Copenhagen, successfully producing the DASK computer. P.V. Klüver, From Research Institute to Computer Company: Regnecentralen 1946–1964," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 21, no. 2, 1999, pp. 31-43 (on p. 31, 33-34), Petersson, "Facit and the BESK Boys," p. 30.
29. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", p. 115, 173-178, 334.
30. "Ruotsin valtion nimittämän Matematikmaskinnämndenin rakentamat matematiikkakoneet BARK ja BESK [Report on the Computing Center in Stockholm], date unknown (but probably Sept. 1954), Rolf Nevanlinna Archive, Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki (in Finnish). According to minutes of meeting of the Committee, E. Laurila gave an account on Andersin's and Carlsson's trip based on a report by Andersin. The Committee for Mathematical Machines, minutes of meetings Mar. 1954, 17 Sept. 1954, Archive of the Academy of Finland."
31. "Vertrag, Zwischen der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. Göttingen und der Firma K. Zuse K.-G., Neukirchen geschlossen. Neukirchen, den 11.1.1955 (Zuse), Göttingen, den 25.2.1955 (Dr. Ernst Telschow, Dr. Otto Benecke). Heinz Billing, Nachlässe 106/050 [Contract between the Max-Planck Society and the Konrad Zuse company signed in Neukirchen, in Heinz Billing, personal papers 106/050], Archive of Deutsches Museum, Munich; H. Andersin to P. Paju, email, 15 Oct. 2001; H. Petzold, Hardwaretechnologische Alternativen bei Konrad Zuse [Konrad Zuse's Technological Alternatives in Hardware], Hrsg. Hans Dieter Hellige, in," Geschichten der Informatik: Visionen, Paradigmen und Leitmotive [Histories of Computer Science: Visions, Paradigms and Main Themes], Springer Verlag, 2004, pp. 120-121.
32. W. Hopmann, "Zur Entwiclung der G 1a [On the Development of G1a]," Elektronische Rechenmaschinen und Informationsverarbeitung [Electronic Computers and Data Processing], Nachrichtentechnische fachberichte, vol. 4, J. Wosnik ed. 1956, pp. 92-96 (in German),, On the G1a technology, see H. Billing and W. Hopmann, "Mikroprogramm-Steuerwerk" [Control Unit for Micro Programs], Elektronische Rundschau, vol. 9, Oct. 1955, pp. 349-353 (in German); T. Carlsson, "Om matematikmaskinerna G1a och ESKO" [On the Mathematical Machines G1a and ESKO], Arkhimedes, vol. 9, Feb. 1957, pp. 33-41 (in Swedish).
33. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 442-443.
34. "H. Andersin to W. Hopmann, letter, 7 Oct. 1955. Wilhelm Hopmann Nachlässe [personal papers] 144, Archive of Deutsches Museum, Munich; Paju," "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 225-230, 312-320, compare with Hopmann, "The G1 and the Göttingen Family of Digital Computers."
35. E. Laurila, "Väinämöinen ja Ilmarinen," Uusi Kuvalehti [Ancient Heroes, from the national epic Kalevala, in Finnish], vol. 3, no. 35, 1954, p. 6, The original Kalevala, E. Lönnrot, ed., was published in two parts, in 1835 and in 1849. Väinämöinen is a wise man or shaman in the Kalevala; and later a symbol of the "spiritual side of culture" as opposed to Ilmarinen's materiality.
36. "The Danish center was to be Regnecentralen [Computing Center], Klüver, 1999; D. Berntsen, Norsk regnesentral for ren og anvendt forskning (1952–1958) [Norwegian Computing Center for Basic and Applied Research]," Norsk Regnesentral 1952–2002 (in Norwegian), Norsk Regnesentral, 2002, pp. 11-22; P. Paju, "A Failure Revisited: The First Finnish Computer Construction Project: The Establishing of a National Computing Center in Finland," History of Nordic Computing, IFIP WG9.7 First Working Conference on the History of Nordic Computing (HiNC1); J. Bubenko, J. Impagliazzo, and A. Sølvberg, eds., Springer, 2005, pp. 79-94.
37. "Suomalainen matematiikkakone ESKO [ESKO, the Finnish Mathematical Machine]," Teknillinen Aikakauslehti,15 May 1955, Oct. 1955, p. 233, Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 190-195, 208-209.
38. "H. Andersin to R. Nevanlinna, letter, 8 June 1955, Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki."
39. "Committee for Mathematical Machines seminar II, lecture manuscripts 1955–1956, archive of Hans Andersin; see Paju," "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 209-221.
40. "List of participants (no. 1), papers from The Committee for Mathematical Machines, Museum of Technology archives, Helsinki; Aspray, International Diffusion of Computer Technology, 1945–1955."
41. "Lists of participants (nos. 1 and 2), papers from the Committee for Mathematical Machines, Museum of Technology archives, Helsinki;," Committee for Mathematical Machines seminar II, lecture manuscripts 1955–1956, Hans Andersin archive.
42. M. Pantzar, "Tools or Toys—Inventing the Need for Domestic Appliances in Postwar and Postmodern Finland," J. Advertising, vol. 32, no. 1, 2003, pp. 83-93.
43. Conference proceedings, J. Wosnik ed. "Elektronische Rechenmaschinen und Informationsverarbeitung [Electronic Computers and Data Processing]," Nachrichtentechnische fachberichte, vol. 4, 1956, Andersin and Carlsson, "ESKO—ensimmäinen suomalainen tietokone," p. 19.
44. E. Stiefel, "Rechenautomaten im Dienste der Technik. Erfahrungen mit dem Zuse-Rechenautomaten Z4 [Calculating Automatons in the Service of Technology. Experiences from the Zuse calculating automaton Z4]," Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, vol. 4, 1954, pp. 29-65 (in German), "Sekunnissa tuhat laskutoimitusta, Matematiikkakone-ekspertti Suomessa" [Thousand Calculations in a Second, A Computer Expert in Finland], Helsingin Sanomat, 12 Sept. 1956 (in Finnish).
45. "H. Andersin to D. Scientific Co. (USA), letter, 25 May 1955, The Committee for Mathematical Machines Archives (correspondence), Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki;," H. Andersin to W. Hopmann, letter, 29 Oct. 1955, Wilhelm Hopmann Nachlässe 144, Archive of Deutsches Museum, Munich.
46. "H. Andersin to Berkeley Enterprises, letter, 3 June 1955, The Committee for Mathematical Machines Archives (correspondence), Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki; I. Asimov, Question," Computers and Automation, vol. 4, Mar. 1955, pp. 6-7.
47. "H. Andersin to W. Hopmann, letter, 29 Oct. 1955, Wilhelm Hopmann Nachlässe 144, Archive of Deutsches Museum, Munich; Paju, Ilmarisen Suomi, pp. 282-292. Later in 1957, an electromechanical Z11 was displayed and tested in Helsinki, but apparently no orders were placed. Paju," "Ilmarisen Suomi,", p. 372.
48. "H. Andersin to G. Kjellberg, letter, MMN:ns arbetsgrupp, Helsinfors, den 14 [to the Working Group of the Swedish Board for Computing Machinery, from Helsinki, Finland], Feb. 1956. (MNA, Ink. handlingar, ej diarieförda. 1954–56. E II:4.) Matematikmaskinnämnden's Archive, the National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm;," I.S. Louhivaara to R. Nevanlinna, letter, 7 May 1956, Rolf Nevanlinna Archive, Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki.
49. "H. Andersin, travel report from a study trip to London, Paris, and Göttingen, 30 July 1956, Archive of the Academy of Finland (in Finnish)."
50. "Rk-alalla tapahtunutta [News on the Punched Card Business], Reikäkortti, Feb. 1955, p. 3 (in Finnish); K. Dickman, Uudet tuotteet—tuttu ympäristö[New Products—Familiar Environment]," Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari ed. Suomen Atk-kustannus Oy, 1993, pp. 316-339 (in Finnish).
51. "List of participants (no. 1), papers from the Committee for Mathematical Machines, Archive of the Museum of Technology in Helsinki."
52. M. Klinge, Kaksi Suomea [Two Finlands], Otava, 1982 (in Finnish), Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 298-299.
53. "See J. Vernay, IBM France," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 11, no. 4, 1989, pp. 299-311, K.E. Ganzhorn, "The Buildup of the IBM Boeblingen Laboratory," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 26, no. 3, 2004, pp. 4-19; Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 293-297.
54. V. Hauru, "Konttoritöiden tekeminen elektronikoneilla alkamassa myös Pohjoismaissa [Office Work with Electronic Machines Starts in the Nordic Countries]," Reikäkortti, vol. 2, Mar. 1956, p. 5 (in Finnish), A. Carlsson, "Tekniken—politikens frälsare? Om matematikmaskiner, automation och ingenjörer vid mitten av 50-talet" [Technology—Liberating Politics? About Mathematical Machines, Automation and Engineers around the Mid-1950s], Arbetarhistoria, vol. 23, Apr. 1999, pp. 23-30 (in Swedish).
55. "Compare with Aspray, International Diffusion of Computer Technology, 1945–1955."
56. "H. Andersin, interview by P. Paju,"19 Oct. 1998.
57. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 289-290, 320-334.
58. "O. Mäkeläinen, ESKOsta uusi Sampo [ESKO—The New Sampo]," Suomen Kuvalehti, no. 11, 1958, T. Carlsson to W. Hopmann, letter, 19 June 1958; The Committee for Mathematical Machines Archives (correspondence), Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki.
59. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", pp. 376-381, 392–400, In Norway, it took IBM two years to deliver an IBM 650 order, completed in 1958. See G. Nerheim and H.W. Nordvik, Ikke bara maskiner: Historien om IBM i Norge 1935–1985 [Not Just Machines: History of IBM Norway 1935–1985], Universitetsforlaget, 1986 (in Norwegian).
60. "The Committee for Mathematical Machines, minutes of meetings, 3 Jan. 1958, Archive of the Academy of Finland."
61. "K. Laurikainen to R. Nevanlinna, letter, 10 July 1958, Rolf Nevanlinna Archive, Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki; G. Järnefelt to IBM Paris, France, letter,"14 Nov. 1957, The Committee for Mathematical Machines Archives (correspondence), Archive of the Univ. of Helsinki; R. Pukonen, "Automaattisen tietojenkäsittelyn ENSI-askeleet Suomessa" [The First Steps into Automatization in Finland], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari, ed., Suomen Atk-kustannus Oy, 1993, pp. 182–188 (in Finnish); Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 416-417, 435-436.
62. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi,", p. 440-444, 451-455, Compare with M. Häikiö, Nokia Oyj:n historia 1. Fuusio. Yhdistymisten kautta suomalaiseksi monialayritykseksi 1865–1982 [History of Nokia, Part 1: Merger. Merging into a Finnish conglomerate 1865–1982], Edita, 2001 (in Finnish).
63. E. Pale, "Testamentti [Testament]," Reikäkortti, no. 2, 1956, inner cover (in Finnish).
64. "Compare with M. Castells and P. Himanen," The Information Society and the Welfare State: The Finnish Model, Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.
65. "See Vehviläinen, Gender and Computing in Retrospect: The Case of Finland On later projects by H. Andersin and others, see P. Paju et al., eds.," History of Nordic Computing—HiNC2: Extended abstracts, Turku Centre for Computer Science, General Publications no. 42, 2007.
66. R. Lovio, Evolution of Firm Communities in New Industries—The Case of the Finnish Electronics Industry, Acta Universitatis Oeconomicae Helsingiensis Series A:92, Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, 1993; Häikiö, Nokia Oyj:n historia 1. Fuusio, p. 100; Paju, "A Failure Revisited," pp. 92-93; Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi," pp. 451-455.
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