Japanese Computer Pioneers

Yamauti ZiroYamauti Ziro

Yamauti Ziro was born on April 1, 1898. In 1922, he graduated from the Electrical Engineering Department, the Tokyo Imperial University. After working with the 3rd and 6th Sections of the Electro Technical Laboratory, he became the Professor of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1942 (Director of the Research Institute of Aeronautics), in 1947, Professor of the Instrumentation Physics Department, and in 1958, Professor of Department of Instrumentation Engineering, Keio University. In 1959, he established the Department of Administration Engineering, and became the chairman of the department. In 1970, he became a Professor of Aoyama Gakuin University. From 1965 to 1967, he served as the President of the IPSJ. From 1960 to 1979, he was the chairman of the Programming Symposium Committee, IPSJ. In 1969, he was nominated to become an Honorable Member of IPSJ.

From early 1959, Yamauti endeavored to enhance the operational environment of computers. People were using punched card systems, in which programs were not stored, for data processing. Wishing to apply computers for higher data processing applications such as operating research and scientific computations, Yamauti opened the research group for advanced use of statistical calculators at the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers, and he himself became the chairman. Members such as Hidetosi Takahasi (University of Tokyo), Moriguti Sigeiti (University of Tokyo), Shimanouchi Takehiko (University of Tokyo), Ando Kaoru (IBM), Ito Eiichi(Daiichi Life Insurance), Kiyoshi Kamoshida (MITI) met once or twice a month to discuss the subjects.

In 1958, Yamauti created the Department of Administration Engineering in Keio University aiming to use computers in management. He chaired the Department and gave the lectures himself. The creation of the formal study of computer use was indeed the forerunner of many later departments of computer engineering or computer science. The other forerunner was that of Konan University created in the same year.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Mathematical Sciences Research work was conducted in 1959, led by Iyanaga Shokichi. As the chairman of the fourth section, Yamauti guided the section recognizing that the electronic computers would have a huge effect on mathematical science research, and the computer systems and their use would not only be the vehicle of other scientific research, but also become an important research object of mathematical science. Computers became intensively used for theorem proving as well as the numeric computations. This caused reluctant mathematicians who thought that computers were merely the means of research, change their minds. Many other mathematicians became interested in computer science areas other than theorem proving.

The fourth section included Oizumi Juro (Tohoku University), Takahasi Hidetosi (University of Tokyo), Moriguti Sigeiti (University of Tokyo), Kiyasu Zen'iti (Electro Communication Laboratories), Uno Toshio (Nihon University), Kuroda Sigekatu (Nagoya University), Jo Kenzo (Osaka University), Shimizu Tatsujiro (Osaka Huritsu Daigaku), and Shibagaki Wasaburo(Kushu University).

After the 1960s, when the computer business in Japan bloomed into full operation, Yamauti continued his activities, contributing to the development of information technology by participating in the creation of IPSJ, serving as chairman of IPSJ from 1965 to 1966, starting Unicon in 1964, which aimed to share use the imported computers by university members, and by working as the director of the information processing training institute in 1970, etc.

He died on March 31, 1984.

(Wada Eiiti)