CARLO DE BENEDETTI : “IF THE COURAGEOUS CAPTAINS ARE COLANINNO AND TRONCHETTI PROVERA, I PREFER THE STATE HOLDINGS.” – 2 “. COLANINNO USED THE OLIVETTI CASH TO START THE DESTRUCTION OF TELECOM AND THEN ACHIEVED WITH GREAT INTENSITY AND iNABILITY TO TRONCHETTI PROVERA”- 3.” FOR THE US ESTABLISHMENT CUCCIA AND VALLETTA, WERE THE PERSONS OF REFERENCE FOR AFFAIRS IN ITALY “- 4.« MARIO TCHOU, WHO INVENTED MORE EVEN BEFORE IBM THE GREATEST COMPUTER IN THE WORLD, NAMED “THE ELEA”, FOR ADRIANO OLIVETTI WAS KILLED BY U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES ».


“If the brave captains are Colaninno and Tronchetti Provera then I prefer the state holdings. So a liberal in economics, like me, I am to say three cheers for the state holdings .” So is expressed Carlo De Benedetti by Giovanni Minoli Mix24 on Radio 24 on the history of Olivetti.

Utopia named Olivetti. In the fifties the small Piedmont town of Ivrea hosted one of the most innovative and futuristic industrial projects in Italian history, the result of the revolutionary ideas of an entrepreneur who decided to turn into reality what for many was a pipe dream: Adriano Olivetti ..

Utopia named Olivetti.
In the fifties the small Piedmont town of Ivrea hosted one of the most innovative and futuristic industrial projects in Italian history, the result of the revolutionary ideas of an entrepreneur who decided to turn into reality what for many was a pipe dream: Adriano Olivetti ..

Last night Rai Unopublic television channel – has launched a TV movie on Adriano Olivetti to remind one of Italy‘s most famous entrepreneurs , both for its willingness to improve their own businesses but also for his vision of a country more respectful the needs of citizens . “I invented the Omnitel – De Benedetti continues to Radio 24 – the only computer company in the world that entered the telecommunications and it was not something obvious.

CARLO DE BENEDETTI (Carlo De Benedetti (Turin, November 14, 1934) is an Italian entrepreneur and publisher. Knight of Labor and Officer of the Légion d'Honneur, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Law Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut (United States). It is nicknamed "the Engineer", for his diploma ) and ROBERTO COLANINNO ( Chairman and CEO of Piaggio & C. S.p.A. and President of IMMSI SpA, parent company Piaggio Group. It is also President of the Italian airline Alitalia )

CARLO DE BENEDETTI (Carlo De Benedetti (Turin, November 14, 1934) is an Italian entrepreneur and publisher. Knight of Labor and Officer of the Légion d’Honneur, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Law Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut (United States). It is nicknamed “the Engineer”, for his diploma ) and ROBERTO COLANINNO ( Chairman and CEO of Piaggio & C. S.p.A. and President of IMMSI SpA, parent company Piaggio Group. It is also President of the Italian airline Alitalia )

Then, when the Omnitel – Vodafone today – was later sold by Colannino to Mannesmann, which then in turn was bought by Vodafone, I should mention that the Olivetti was the most liquid company in Italy. So much so that Colaninno allowed himself to do – and I have objected to him in writing – the Opa who signed the end of the Telecom Telecom . ” – Continued De Benedetti to Mix24 of Minoli : ” zero Industrial strategies . Colaninno used the cash to begin the destruction of Olivetti and Telecom that then was achieved with great intensity and inability by Tronchetti . E De Benedetti concludes at Radio 24 ” Hooray state holdings !”

MARCO TRONCHETTI PROVERA (  Milan January 18, 1948. Industrial. Manager. Chairman of Pirelli & C. spa, Pirelli & C. Real Estate SpA, Pirelli Tyre SpA, the Camfin etc. )  and Ecclestone

MARCO TRONCHETTI PROVERA ( Milan January 18, 1948. Industrial. Manager. Chairman of Pirelli & C. spa, Pirelli & C. Real Estate SpA, Pirelli Tyre SpA, the Camfin etc. ) and Ecclestone

ADRIANO OLIVETTI,  ENRICO CUCCIA e VITTORIO VALLETTA

ENRICO CUCCIA was born in Rome November 24, 1907 to a family of Sicilian origin. After graduating in law comes IRI, seconded to the London office. The first assignment of relief is in the Bank of Italy. Cuccia then follows the history of the institute Mediobanca, since September 1944, when the CEO of COMIT Mattioli, offers "a specialized body for so-called medium-term loans" and to be attended by the banks of national interest . On April 10th of 1946 when the new company where Comit and Credit hold 35% and 30% of the Banco di Roma. Director-General is appointed Enrico Cuccia. Mediobanca becomes the crossroads of Italian capitalism and the "parlor" of finance. Cuccia died in Milan on 23 June 2000, at the age of 92.

ENRICO CUCCIA was born in Rome November 24, 1907 to a family of Sicilian origin. After graduating in law comes IRI, seconded to the London office. The first assignment of relief is in the Bank of Italy. Cuccia then follows the history of the institute Mediobanca, since September 1944, when the CEO of COMIT Mattioli, offers “a specialized body for so-called medium-term loans” and to be attended by the banks of national interest . On April 10th of 1946 when the new company where Comit and Credit hold 35% and 30% of the Banco di Roma. Director-General is appointed Enrico Cuccia. Mediobanca becomes the crossroads of Italian capitalism and the “parlor” of finance. Cuccia died in Milan on 23 June 2000, at the age of 92.

The sale of the electronics division of Olivetti to the Americans, took place for the first, for the objective financial inability Olivetti that was too small and would never have had the strength to do it alone, and second, the Americans. Valletta was that Cuccia asked to condition the help of the Americans who Olivetti needed, especially after the death of Hadrian and the quarrels of the family, and the Americans imposed to sell Olivetti at General Electric. Cuccia and Valletta were terminal American interests in Italy. Valletta for the Americans was the contact person for their representation, so let’s call it. “

Roma, 1957 - Giovanni Agnelli, Alberto Pirelli e VITTORIO VALLETTA (  Son of a Sicilian officer of the Royal Army fell to the front, and of the  Lombard Teresa Quadrio. After graduating in accountancy begins to teach accounting matters and opens an accountant studio . In 1906 he attended the High School of Commerce, now named Faculty of Economics, and he graduated in 1909. Lieutenant of aeronautical engineering in World War I, in 1919, is a director of the company car Chiribiri. The position allows him to join the board of directors of AMMA, the trade association that brings together companies in the engineering sector, where he keeps a very firm attitude on the occasion of the great strikes of 1919-1920. Tenacity that impresses Senator Giovanni Agnelli in 1921 that calls him to a three-year contract with Fiat. Chief accountant, general manager in 1928, CEO in 1939 and chairman in 1946 ).
Roma, 1957 – Giovanni Agnelli, Alberto Pirelli e VITTORIO VALLETTA ( Son of a Sicilian officer of the Royal Army fell to the front, and of the Lombard Teresa Quadrio. After graduating in accountancy begins to teach accounting matters and opens an accountant studio . In 1906 he attended the High School of Commerce, now named Faculty of Economics, and he graduated in 1909. Lieutenant of aeronautical engineering in World War I, in 1919, is a director of the company car Chiribiri. The position allows him to join the board of directors of AMMA, the trade association that brings together companies in the engineering sector, where he keeps a very firm attitude on the occasion of the great strikes of 1919-1920. Tenacity that impresses Senator Giovanni Agnelli in 1921 that calls him to a three-year contract with Fiat. Chief accountant, general manager in 1928, CEO in 1939 and chairman in 1946 ).

“MARIO TCHOU, INVENTOR OF COMPUTER ELEA FOR OLIVETTI WAS KILLED BY U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

“The engineer Mario Tchou was the head of the laboratory of Olivetti in Pisa dedicated to computers, and Tchou was the father of Elea, the first and largest computer in the world, born even before of IBM computers . Mario Tchou  Died in a tragic accident on the Milan-Turin but in Olivetti was the belief that he was killed by U.S. intelligence agencies. “This is the memory of Carlo De Benedetti in Mix24 by Giovanni Minoli on Radio 24, the history of Olivetti and of the tragic death of the engineer Mario Tchou who invented ,  much  before IBM, the largest computer in the world, named Elea .

Mario Tchou (second from left) in Ivrea in 1961

Mario Tchou (second from left) in Ivrea in 1961

A portrait of Mario Tchou

On  November 9, 2011, fell on the 50th Anniversary of the death of Mario Tchou, whose professional history intersects with the Olivetti and his heyday with the development of the project Elea. To recall the figure of Mario Tchou and the challenge computing Italian, November 23, 2011 in Milan, at the headquarters of FAST, have gathered some of his closest collaborators.

Mario Tchou was born in Rome in 1924, the son of a Chinese diplomat at the Vatican. Growing up in the capital, he obtained a classical education at the high school “Tasso” in ’42. He then enrolled in the course of Industrial Engineering (electrical section) and in ’45, after winning a scholarship, he moved to Washington where he graduated in ’47. He then moved to New York where he specialized at the Brooklyn Polytechnic with a thesis entitled “Ultrasonic Diffraction” [3] . At the age of 28 he was awarded a professorship in Electrical Engineering from the prestigious Columbia University in New York, where he also directed the research laboratories.

Meanwhile, the brothers Adriano Olivetti and Dino were convinced of the need to invest in projects of electronics. It was made up as a laboratory in Connecticut, directed by Michele Canepa (collaborator Mauro Picone), but did not give the expected results. Adriano Olivetti then decided to contact the promising young engineer Tchou, who met in New York in 1954. Adriano Olivetti was thrilled by the encounter because the engineer, to whom immediately recognized a strong curiosity and leadership skills, he was one of the few scholars and connoisseurs of modern computers. Mario Tchou accepted the proposal of the Olivetti run labs for the study and design of an Italian computer of scientific interest, but especially commercial, and in ’55 he returned to Italy, more precisely in Barbacina, village at the gates of Pisa, where they were fate laboratories funded by the University of Pisa and Olivetti.

Enrico Fermi (29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian physicist, best known for his work on Chicago Pile-1 (the first nuclear reactor), and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He is one of the men referred to as the "father of the atomic bomb".[1] Fermi held several patents related to the use of nuclear power, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and the discovery of transuranic elements. He was widely regarded as one of the very few physicists to excel both theoretically and experimentally.

Enrico Fermi (29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian physicist, best known for his work on Chicago Pile-1 (the first nuclear reactor), and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He is one of the men referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb”.[1] Fermi held several patents related to the use of nuclear power, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and the discovery of transuranic elements. He was widely regarded as one of the very few physicists to excel both theoretically and experimentally.

In 1954, the provinces and the municipalities of Pisa, Livorno and Lucca had allocated 150 million dollars for the construction of a synchrotron but, at the suggestion of Enrico Fermi, the amount was later hijacked the project Electronic Calculator Pisa (CEP). With the arrival of Tchou project was born in Pisa Elea (computer-Auto).

innovation is the idea behind the industrial method of Tchou. In the laboratory of Barbacina picked the best brains that had to comply with a mandatory feature: being young. In an interview with journal “Paese Sera” motivated the approach by saying that “new things are made ​​only with the youth.
Only the young would toss in with enthusiasm, and work together in harmony without personalisms, and without barriers arising from a mindset customary “ [3] .

Job advertisement appeared in the newspapers in '55

Job advertisement appeared in the newspapers in ’55

As noted during the meeting FAST Giuseppe Calogero, a former staff director of the project Elea Tchou played thousands of interviews and selections, and in particular met hundreds of young graduates who would become the first Italian programmers. t was a professional skill non-existent in those days, which made the adventure even more fascinating information. To confirm this is the testimony of John Palermo in September 1959, just graduated at the Technical Institute of Milan, Feltrinelli (in the first class of Electronics), claimed an interview with Mario Tchou own. Palermo recalled that the meeting was very pleasant and not at all conventional, with Tchou more interested in making him understand his ideas and projects rather than probe the school knowledge he acquired.

The theoretical project on which to base the research was the famous von Neumann machine, but – as he told Filippazzi Franco, one of the “youth group of Barbacina” – immediately posed problems: the first was to describe the logical framework (task of the new programmers), the second was the realization by means of electronic circuits and consequently the choice of which technology to apply. After just two years of study and work, in the spring of 1957, the team realized the zero machine called Elea 9001: a prototype thermoionic valves, free wires and a part in germanium transistors [2].

"The youth group Barbacina"

“The youth group Barbacina”

Mario Tchou, however, was convinced of the need to switch from the signal amplification by system signal amplification by thermoionic valves (whose operation is similar to that of a light bulb, but with more metallic elements arranged in a grid), already applied in some computers abroad , which required high temperatures, large energies and large spaces to that through the use of transistors. Another problem concerned the machine’s memory. Again, there were many technologies as possible, but still unknown in detail. Tchou had the merit of choosing the magnetic cores, ferrite rings that is crossed by four wires crossed. Thus was born the Elea 9002, faster than the previous prototype that used silicon transistors for the management of the tape drive, which remains the most reliable and manageable compared to the valves [1].

At this point, Mario Tchou, and Roberto Olivetti, son of Hadrian, decided to transfer the laboratory in a location logistically more suitable for industrial production. So Adriano Olivetti in 1958 settled in the Laboratory Elea Borgolombardo, not far from Milan and not in the historical site of Ivrea, which remained the capital instead of the electromechanical sector. The same year he was completing the Elea 9003, which was the first commercial computer in the world totally transistor. The logic of the machine was equipped with parallel processing capabilities and was able to perform up to three programs simultaneously. In addition, the design (designed by architect Ettore Sottsass) was innovative, elegant and functional with compact modules on a human scale so as to make maintenance easier. For the construction of the computers were necessary over 300,000 transistors and diodes for each computer, and this convinced Adriano Olivetti to achieve a foundry, referred to as Company General Semiconductor, in cooperation with the company Telettra. The SGS will become in the future that still STMicroelectronics is a leading company in the world in the production of electronic components [3] .

Elea 9003 in operation in the Olivetti headquarters of  in Milan.

Elea 9003 in operation in the Olivetti headquarters of in Milan.

Lucio Borriello, an engineer who worked all’Elea since the beginning, said that the idea of ​​marketing the computer was one of the prerogatives of the project and therefore, in addition to studies on the hardware of the machine, also focused on the supports needed. Elea 9003 was equipped with input devices such as a reader of punch cards, paper tape reader, a keyboard and output tools such as a drill cards, magnetic tapes, printers and modems for data transmission.

The Olivetti Elea 9003 and the transistor.

The Olivetti Elea 9003 and the transistor.

On November 8, 1959 in Milan, in the presence of President John Gronkowski, took place the inauguration of Elea 9003 [4] , produced and marketed in about 40 copies, the first of which installed the Marzotto Valdagno (VI) and the second to the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena. This specimen is preserved and still in use ITIS “Enrico Fermi” Bibbiena (AR).

On February 27, 1960 Adriano Olivetti dies of a sudden illness while is traveling to Switzerland and the family, which is divided into five branches, clash in managing the company. Just one year later, November 9, 1961, Mario Tchou dies in a car accident on the way to Ivrea to discuss the design of a new electronic calculator with transistor based on a new software. His death marked the end of the project Elea and, with the transfer of laboratory Borgolombardo at General Electric, also of this pioneering adventure entirely Italian of the story about the birth of computer.

Italian version

Notes

[1] Franco Filippazzi, Elea: history of an industrial challenge, PRISTEM / History no. 12-13, 50 years of Information Technology in Italy, Centro PRISTEM-Bocconi University, Milano, 2006

[2] Franco Filippazzi The Olivetti computers in the years 1950-1960, University of Udine, May 21, 2008

[3] Joseph Rao, Mario Tchou and Olivetti Elea 9003, PRISTEM / History no. 12-13, 50 years of Information Technology in Italy, Centro PRISTEM-Bocconi University, Milano, 2006

[4] Joseph Rao, happened 50 years ago …, matematica.unibocconi.it (Center PRISTEM-Bocconi University), 2009

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