Japanese Computer Pioneers

Komamiya YasuoKomamiya Yasuo

Komamiya Yasuo was born on October 14, 1922, and graduated from Electrical Engineering Department, School of Engineering of Tokyo Imperial University in September 1944. Two months later, he joined Electrotechnical Laboratory of the Ministry of Communications, and began his career as engineering scientist with ETL's Basic Research Division. Since he was a Tokyo University student, Komamiya studied under Goto Mochinori who taught there as a professor while his principal duty was with the ETL. After joining the ETL, Komamiya applied Goto's method of solving logic functional equation to various electric relay circuits for logic computation. For this contribution, the University of Tokyo awarded Komamiya a Degree of Ph. D. in Engineering.

Based on the above result, Komamiya completed in 1952, in collaboration with Suekane Ryouta, a small-scale model of relay computer that Goto named ETL Mark I. This was the first automatic computer in Japan, though it was not stored-program type. Following the ETL Mark I, Komamiya launched construction of a full-scale automatic relay computer called ETL Mark II. This was not stored-program type either. With the collaboration of Suekane Ryouta, Takagi Masahide, Kuwabara Shigeru, and others, he could complete it in November 1955.

In December 1959, Komamiya was appointed Head of Applied Mathematics Department of ETL's Physics Division. Some years later he was promoted to the position of Division Director of Control Systems Research, then appointed Director of Electronic Components Research that was later renamed by replacing "Components" by "Devices." In 1980, Komamiya left the ETL, and was appointed Professor of Kyushu University. He taught "Information Systems" at its Graduate School of Integrated Science and Technology. In 1986, Komamiya retired from Kyushu University, and was appointed Professor Meiji University.

He died on March 11, 1993, three weeks before his mandatory retirement day from Meiji University.

(Takahashi Shigeru)