With the development of the “Mailüfterl,” the first transistor-based computer in Europe, Heinz Zemanek is considered an Austrian computer pioneer. The Mailüfterl no longer used electron tubes, but smaller and less expensive transistors.
In 1961, Zemanek, who had studied communications engineering at the Vienna University of Technology and earned his doctorate there, moved to IBM, where he created the formal definition of the PL/I programming language. From 1964 he was an associate professor at the Vienna University of Technology, and from 1984 a full professor.
Even after his retirement in 1985, he remained a lecturer at the TU Vienna. Zemanek, who published more than 500 papers, was a member of numerous scientific societies. He received many awards, including the Cardinal Innitzer Prize for his life’s work in 2003 and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art I Class in 2005. The OCG has been awarding the Heinz Zemanek Prize for exceptional research work in the field of computer science since 2006.