THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMPUTERS IN UKRAINE AND THE FORMER USSR
The government and the authorities had paid serious attention to the development of the computer industry right after the Second World War. The leading bodies considered this task to be one of the principal for the national economy.
Up to the beginning of the 1950s there were only small productive capacities which specialized in the producing accounting and account-perforating (punching) machines. The electronic numerical computer engineering was only arising and the productive capacities for it were close to the naught.
The first serious steps in the development of production base were made initially in the late 1950s when the work on creating the first industry samples of the electronic counting machines was finished and there were created M-20, Ural-1 , Minsk-1 , which together with their semi-conductor successors (M-220, Ural-11-14 , Minsk-22 and Minsk-32 ) created in the 1960s were the main ones in the USSR until the computers of the third generation were put into the serial production, that is until the early 1970s.
In the 1960s the science-research and assembling base was enlarged. As the result of this measures, all researches connected with creating and putting into the serial production of semi-conductor electronic computing machines were almost finished. That allowed to stop the production of the first generation machines beginning from the 1964.
Next decades the whole branch of the computer engineering had been created. The important steps were undertaken to widen the productive capacities for the 3d generation machines.
THE HOMECITY OF MESM
ESM was conceived by S.A.Lebedev to be a model of a Big Electronic Computing Machine (BESM). At first it was called the Model of the Big Electronic Computing Machine, but ,later, in the process of its creation there appeared the evident expediency of transforming it in a small computer. For that reason there were added: the impute-output devices, magnetic drum storage, the register capacity was enhanced; and the word Model was changed for Malaya (Small).
S.A.Lebedev was proposed to head the Institute of Energetics in Kiev. After a year; when the Institute of was divided into two departments: the electronical one and the department of heat-and-power engineering, Lebedev became the director of the first one. He also added his laboratory of analogue computation to the already existing ones of the electronical type. At once he began to work on computer science instead of the usual, routine researches in the field of engineering means of stabilization and structures of automated devices. Lebedev was awarded the State Prize of the USSR. Since autumn 1948 Lebedev directed his laboratory towards creating the MESM. The most difficult part of the work was the practical creation of MESM. It might be only the many-sided experience of the researches that allowed the scientist to fulfill the task perfectly; whereas one inaccuracy was made: the hall at the ground-floor of a two-storied building was assigned for MESM and when, at last, the MESM was assembled and switched on, 6,000 of red-hot electronic lamps created the tropics in the hall, so they had to remove a part of the ceiling to decrease the temperature.
In autumn 1951 the machine executed a complex program rather stabile.
OIA MESM WITH SOME OF THE PERSONAL (KIEV, 1951)
Finally all the tests were over and on December, 15 the MESM was put into operation.
If to remember those short terms the MESM was projected, assembled, and debugged - in two years - and taking into consideration that only 12 people (including Lebedev) took part in the creating who were helped by 15 engineers we shall see that S.A.Lebedev and his team accomplished a feat (200 engineers and many workers besides 13 main leaders took part in the creation of the first American computer ENIAC).
As life have showed the foundations of the computer-building laid by Lebedev are used in modern computers without any fundamental changes. Nowadays they are well known:
? such devices an arithmetic and memory input-output and control ones should be a part of a computer architecture;
? the program of computing is encoded and stored in the memory as numbers;
? the binary system should be used for encoding the numbers and commands;
? the computations should be made automatically basing on the program stored in the memory and operations on commands;
? besides arithmetic, logical operations are used: comparisons, conjunction, disjunction, and negation;
? the hierarchy memory method is used;
? the numerical methods are used for solving the tasks.
THE MAIN FAULT OF THE 70S
THE YEARS OF MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN HOPES
he great accumulated experience in creating computers, the profound comparison of our domestic achievements with the new examples of foreign computer technique prompted the scientists that it is possible to create the computing means of new generation meeting the world standards. Of that opinion were many outstanding Ukrainian scientists of that time - Lebedev, Dorodnitsin, Glushkov and others. They proceeded from quite a favorable situation in the country.
The computerization of national economy was considered as one of the most essential tasks. The decision to create the United system of computers - the machines of new generation on integrals.
The USA were the first to create the families of computers. In 1963-64 the IBM Company worked out the IBM-360 system. It comprised the models with different capacities for which a wide range of software was created.
A decision concerning the third generation of computers (their structure and architecture) was to be made in the USSR in the late 60s.
But instead of making the decision based on the scientific grounds concerning the future of the United system of computers the Ministry of Electronic Industry issued the administrative order to copy the IBM-360 system. The leaders of the Ministry did not take into consideration the opinion of the leading scientists of the country.
Despite the fact that there were enough grounds for thinking the 70s would bring new big progresses, those years were the step back due to the fault way dictated by the highest authorities from above.
THE COMPARISON OF THE COMPUTER DEVELOPMENT
IN THE USA AND UKRAINE
t the time when the computer science was just uprising this two countries were one of the most noticeably influential. There were a lot of talented scientists and inventors in both of them. But the situation in Ukraine (which at that time was one of 15 Republics of the former USSR) was complicated, on one hand, with the consequences of the Second World War and, on the other hand, at a certain period Cybernetics and Computer Science were not acknowledged. Of cause, later it went to the past, but nevertheless it played a negative role on the Ukrainian computer development.
It also should be noticed that in America they paid more attention to the development of computers for civil and later personal use. But in Ukraine the attention was mainly focused on the military and industrial needs.
Another interesting aspect of the Ukrainian computer development was the process of the 70s when sovietizing of the IBM-360 system became the first step on the way of weakening of positions achieved by the Soviet machinery construction the first two decades of its development. The next step that led to the further lag was the mindless copying by the SU Ministry of Electronic Industry and putting into production the next American elaborations in the field of microprocessor equipment.
The natural final stage was buying in enormous quantities of foreign computers last years and pressing to the deep background our domestic researches, and developments, and the computer-building industry on the whole.
Another interesting aspect of the Ukrainian computer development was the process of the 70s when the sovietising of the IBM-360 system became the first step on the way of weakening of positions, achieved by the Soviet machinery construction of the first two decades of its development. The next step that led to the further lag was the mindless copying of the next American elaborations in the field of microprocessor technique by the Ministry of Computer Industry.
aving analyzed the development of computer science in two countries I have found some similar and some distinctive features in the arising of computers.
First of all, I would like to say that at the first stages the two countries rubbed shoulders with each other. But then, at a certain stage the USSR was sadly mistaken having copied the IBM-360 out of date technology. Estimating the discussion of possible ways of the computer technique development in the former USSR in late 1960s - early 1970s from the today point of view it can be noticed that we have chosen a worse if not the worst one. The only progressive way was to base on our domestic researches and to collaborate with the west-European companies in working out the new generation of machines. Thus we would reach the world level of production, and we would have a real base for the further development together with leading European companies.
Unfortunately the last twenty years may be called the years of unrealized possibilities . Today it is still possible to change the situation; but tomorrow it will be too late.
Will the new times come? Will there be a new renaissance of science, engineering and national economy as it was in the post-war period? Only one thing remains for us - that is to wait, to hope and to do our best to reach the final goal.