The FZI Mourns for Professor Detlef Schmid

The FZI Research Center for Information Technology mourns for the loss of Professor emeritus Dr.-Ing. Detlef Schmid who died at the age of 84.

With Professor Detlef Schmid we lose a great person and a forward-looking researcher who significantly shaped the early years of the young discipline of Informatics and considerably contributed to its visibility as well as to the transfer of research results into industry and society.

Detlef Schmid completed his studies of Electrical Engineering in Mannheim and Karlsruhe in 1963 with a prize-winning diploma. He then worked for seven years as the scientific assistant of Karl Steinbuch, who is now seen as the pioneer of Informatics, and successfully completed his doctorate in 1968. In 1972 he was eventually appointed professor of the former Karlsruhe University (TH) and, at the same time, dean of the newly established Department of Informatics at the Karlsruhe University, which was the first to educate diploma computer scientists in Germany.

At that time, politics did not want to grant Informatics independence. However, Schmid was convinced of the forward-looking role of Informatics for our everyday life: "This is the only way we can handle it." The Prime Minister at that time, Lothar Späth, shared this view and Detlef Schmid and his fellow campaigners thus succeeded in giving the young discipline a profile in research and education.

Developing a profile also included the leap of Informatics from the university environment into application. In search of a suitable organisational form, in order to enter cooperations with companies, Detlef Schmid established together with fellow campaigners, including Peter Lockemann and Gerhard Goos, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology in 1984. “Detlef Schmid paved the way for the automated circuit design into industrial automation. He willingly accepted suggestions from the industry, in order to further develop his technology,” remembers Peter Lockemann.

In recognition of his efforts in Informatics, Detlef Schmid received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2009.