TU Wien Informatics

Our History

Since our foundations were laid more than 70 years ago, we have become Austria’s largest faculty of Informatics and one of Europe’s leading research and innovation institutions.

  • 1815

    On 6 November, the k.k. Polytechnisches Institut (Imperial and Royal Polytechnic Institute) is officially opened.

  • 1954

    The Mathematical Laboratory is founded by Vienna Technische Hochschule (TH), Rudolf Inzinger serves as its first head.

  • 1955

    Austria’s first “Modern Computing Technology” course starts.

  • 1958

    Electrical engineer Heinz Zemanek presents his now famous “Mailüfterl” (literally “May Breeze”), the first fully transistorized computing machine. (Google Computer Heritage documentary)

  • 1964

    The IBM Research Laboratory for the Fundamentals of Computer Languages supports the acquisition of the IBM 7040 mainframe computer.

  • 1969

    The laboratory has become a fully fledged computer center, headed by Hans Stetter, Professor of Numerics.

    When it transpires that the draft of the Technology Education Act of 1969 would not include computer science, Hans Stetter reaches out to the Austrian President, Josef Klaus, and convinces him of the importance of including it. On 10 July the National Assembly ratified the amended act.

  • 1970

    The informatics curriculum is introduced, and for the first time in the country’s history, a government establishes a Ministry of Science.

  • 1971

    From 1971 on, several professorships are established: First, Werner Kuich is appointed as Professor of Mathematical Logic and Formal Languages. He is followed by Manfred Brockhaus (1972, Information Technology), Wilhelm Barth (1973, Information Systems), Helmut Kerner (1972, Digital Systems), and Hermann Kopetz (1982, ?).

  • 1985

    While well over 2.000 students are enrolled in the Informatics curricula, the section struggles with severe understaffing, critical shortage of space for laboratories and offices, and a rapidly growing number of students.

    As a reaction to the political indifference, professors, mid-level scientific staff, and students go on strike: all classes of the winter term 1985/86 are cancelled, protest marches organised, and buildings and media outlets occupied.

    Their concerted efforts show quick results: The section receives not only 6 new professorships but also additional assistant positions and the buildings Treitlstraße 3 and Gumpendorfer Straße 1a for use as laboratories and offices.

  • 1987

    Ina Wagner becomes the faculty’s first female professor.

  • 1999

    The “Fachgruppe Informatik” (Informatics section) moves into their new premises in Favoritenstraße 9 and 11. Yet, the additional 11.000 sqm quickly prove insufficient for the department’s spatial demands, and the premises in Treitlstraße and Argentinierstraße are kept—defying the section’s aim to gather all their units in one location.

  • 2004

    After decades of calling for a stand-alone Department of Informatics, the 2002 University Act provided the legal and organisational framework to formally establish the Fakultät für technische Naturwissenschaften und Informatik (Faculty of Technical Sciences and Informatics) on 1 January 2004.

  • 2013

    Turing Award winner Donald E. Knuth (Stanford University) becomes the inaugural speaker of the Vienna Gödel Lectures. This series of lectures is created to bring outstanding personalities to Vienna, whose scientific findings illustrate the central role of informatics as a science that explains and shapes the information society. The following years see Erik Demaine (MIT), Peter Norvig (Google), Jeannette Wing (Microsoft Research), Ricardo Baeza-Yates (NTENT), Manual Blum (Carnegie Mellon University), and Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute) give a lecture.

  • 2018

    The excellence programm Bachelor with Honors and the Vienna PhD School of Informatics are established, becoming the latest addition to our extensive list of initiatives, which aim to foster excellence, take on our social responsibility, and to promote women in Informatics.

  • Today

    Our faculty has become the largest of its kind in Austria—with over 60 professorships, further 400+ scientific employees, 5.500+ enrolled students, and over 60 administrative staff members.