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Myths and facts about Soviet Cybernetics

Regularly on one, then on another forum, if we are talking about science and technology in the USSR, is definitely the “nerd” that is sure to stick in my two cents and blurt out: “If Stalin did not pursue Cybernetics, hehe…” “
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике Further, depending on the audience at the forum, or it will be happy to “vosout face of the table”, and then you send them to learn the materiel, or a sympathetic assent…
It turns out that the comrades behind the iron curtain, also do not bast soup slurp)) — Caught here on eyes the newspaper “Pravda” on 2 may 1986.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике

History of computing in the USSR

Unfortunately, in the second half of the eighties in the mass consciousness firmly hammered three myths:
* In the USSR pursued Cybernetics.
* Because of the persecution Cybernetics did not develop computer technology.
* It was then that the Soviet Union lagged behind the United States and the West.

The first myth: In the USSR pursued Cybernetics

If you count the pursuit of several critical articles in which Cybernetics was rightly criticized as overly mechanistic approach to management of various systems regardless of their complexity.
Agree that the control plane and the management of the state — are two big differences. The claims of computer scientists to create artificial intelligence at the time generally looked ridiculous. And it’s not just the level of technology and the elementary base. Just one single vacuum tube or transistor, is not equal to the neuron, and two billion transistors in the processor “Tukwila” does not bring it closer in features to the brain of the rat.
It has been 60 years since the emergence of Cybernetics, the discipline of “artificial intelligence” is still very far from the appearance of intelligence itself. And this in spite of the striking progress of the “iron” and more than half a century of research and development. Criticizing Cybernetics, they are in no way denied computer equipment.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
Here is an excerpt from the article “Who is Cybernetics”, published in the journal “Questions of philosophy” in may, 1953:
“…The use of such computational machinery is of great importance for various fields of economic construction. Design of industrial plants, residential high-rise buildings, railway and pedestrian bridges and many other structures requires complex mathematical calculations, requiring the cost of skilled labor for many months. Computers facilitate and reduce this labor to a minimum. With the same success these machines are used in all complex economic and statistical computing…”
But the propaganda yielded results, and now stupid kids, regardless of actual age can believe the tales of “ten thousand shot cibernetico and a hundred thousand sent to Kolyma”. No such tales? Well, then will.

The second myth: computer science is not developed

Stupid kids, listening to stories about the persecution Cybernetics, don’t even think about the fact that in that period the Soviet Union created nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, rocket technology, the defense system. And computer science was for these areas is vital.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
In October 1951, under the leadership of academician Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev came into operation the first Soviet universal reprogrammable computer — a small electronic computing machine (SECM).
A few months later joined in the operation of the computer M-1, developed in the laboratory of the Energy Institute of the USSR.
A year was created BESM. At that time she was one of the fastest in the world.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
In 1953, the Soviet Union began to mass-produce the car, “Strela”.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
In 1957, the series has launched the machine “Ural-1”. In all there were 183 cars.
In 1959 was established a unique small computer “Setun is based on ternary logic.
In July 1961 the USSR launched the first series of semiconductor universal control machine “Dnepr”. Before there were only specialized semiconductor machine. Before the start of serial production with her experiments were conducted on the control of complex technological processes at the metallurgical plant named after Dzerzhinsky.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
In January 1959, Kilby created the first integrated circuit.

In 1962 the United States began mass production of IP.

In the same 1962 at the Riga plant of semiconductor devices have begun to produce integrated circuit P12-2 in Germany, independently developed by Yuri V. Osokin.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
In November 1962 before academician Glushkov was tasked to create a nation-wide automated control system (OGAS) economy. Was developed excitly the project “Unified State network of computing centers”, which included about 100 centers in the large industrial cities and economic centers, connected by broadband communication channels.
To these major centres would be connected another 20,000 smaller ones. Distributed database, the ability to access any information from any part of the system. Nothing like? The Americans from the network ARPANET the Internet grew. But the Soviet project, unfortunately, was not implemented.
But at that time the gap in computer technology between the USSR and the USA was reduced to almost zero.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
The fastest car of the second generation in the Soviet BESM-6, created in 1967, had a capacity of 1 million operations per second. At that time she vergun fast not only in the USSR but also in Europe.

The third myth: the Soviet Union fell behind in computing back in the 50’s

Just 60-years in the USSR was developed about 30 types of computers. The need arose to unify software and hardware compatibility when creating third-generation computers.
In December 1967 the Ministry of radio industry held a meeting at which the basis for unification have not Soviet development, and IBM System/360. It was supposed to quickly copy IBM, and use a large number of ready-made software.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
Sergei Lebedev said that such copying will lead to the inevitable lag. But he refused to hear.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
He himself, as head of the Institute of precision mechanics and computer engineering, refused to copy the Americans and began developing a series system “Elbrus”. “Elbrus-2” used in nuclear facilities, missile defense system and other sectors of the defense industry.
Мифы и факты о советской кибернетике
While the research center of computer technology and the research Institute of electronic mathematical machines engaged in the creation of machines of the series “a unified system” (EU), and in fact — a copy of IBM System/360, and adapt software.
Although the EU and had their know-how was created on the domestic element base, and borrowed the software had to be rewritten, but it was the beginning of a backlog of domestic computing. Only at the end of the seventies series machine EU reached capacity at 1 million operations per second.
It is possible, if the USSR went the way up and would invest more money in development and manufacturing of the circuitry, computing history would be very different.

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