Military Review

Unique and forgotten: the birth of the Soviet missile defense system. BESM against Strela

Let's go back to Lebedev's adventures in Moscow. He went there not as a savage, but at the invitation of the aforementioned M.A.Lavrentyev, who by that time headed the later legendary ITMiVT.

The Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Science was originally organized in 1948 to calculate (mechanically and manually!) Ballistic tables and perform other calculations for the Department of Defense (in the United States, by that time, ENIAC was working on similar tables, and there were several more machines in the project) ... Its director was Lieutenant General N. G. Bruevich, a mechanic by profession. Under him, the institute was focused on the development of differential analyzers, since the director did not represent any other technique. In the middle of 1950, Bruyevich (according to the Soviet tradition, directly through a letter to Stalin) was replaced by Lavrentyev. The displacement took place through a promise to the leader, as soon as possible, to create a machine for calculating the nuclear weapons.

To do this, he lured the talented Lebedev from Kiev, where he had just completed the construction of the MESM. Lebedev brought 12 notebooks filled with drawings of an improved version of the machine, and immediately got into work. In the same 1950, Bruevich struck Lavrentiev in retaliation, offering ITMiVT "fraternal assistance" from the USSR Ministry of Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation. The ministers "advised" (as you understand, there was no option to refuse) ITMiVT to cooperate with SKB-245 (the same where later director V.V. Aleksandrov did not want to "see and know" the unique Setun machine and where from Brook Rameev), Scientific Research Institute "Schetmash" (previously developing adding machines) and the SAM Plant, which produced these adding machines. Satisfied assistants, having studied Lebedev's project, immediately made a proposal, telling Minister PI Parshin that they themselves would master the creation of a computer.

Strela and BESM

The minister immediately signed an order on the development of the Strela machine. And the three competitors somehow managed to complete its prototype just by the time the BESM was tested. SKB had no chances, Strela's performance was no more than 2 kFLOPS, and BESM-1 produced more than 10 kFLOPS. The ministry was not asleep and told Lebedev's group that only one copy of RAM on fast potentioscopes, which was vital for their computer, was given to Strela. The domestic industry allegedly did not master the larger party, and BESM works well as it is, it is necessary to support colleagues. Lebedev urgently remakes the memory for obsolete and bulky mercury delay lines, which reduces the prototype's performance just to the level of "Strela".

Even in such a castrated form, his car utterly breaks a competitor: 5 thousand lamps were used in BESM, almost 7 thousand in “Strela”, BESM consumed 35 kW, “Strela” - 150 kW. The presentation of data in the SKB was archaic - BDC with a fixed point, while BESM was real and completely binary. Equipped with advanced RAM, it would have been one of the best in the world at that time.

There is nothing to do, in April 1953 BESM was adopted by the State Commission. But ... the series was not launched, remaining the only prototype. For mass production, the "Arrow" is chosen, released in the amount of 8 copies.

In 1956, Lebedev knocks out potentioscopes. And the BESM prototype becomes the fastest car outside the United States. But at the same time, the IBM 701 outperforms it in technical specifications, using the latest memory on ferrite cores. The famous mathematician MR Shura-Bura, one of the first programmers of Strela, did not remember her very warmly:

The “Arrow” was put into the Department of Applied Mathematics. The machine worked poorly, it had only 1000 cells, an inoperative magnetic tape drive, frequent malfunctions in arithmetic and a host of other problems, but, nevertheless, we managed to cope with the task - we made a program for calculating the energy of explosions when simulating nuclear weapons ...

Almost everyone who had the dubious happiness of touching this miracle of technology made such an opinion about her. Here is what A.K. Platonov says about Strela (from the interview):

The director of the institute that made the computing equipment that was in use at that time did not cope with the task. And there was a whole история: how Lebedev was persuaded (Lavrentyev persuaded him), and Lavrentyev became the director of the institute, and then Lebedev became the director of the institute instead of that "unsuccessful" academician. And they made BESM. How did you do it? Collected graduate students and term papers of the physics departments of several institutes, and the students made this machine. First, they made projects on their projects, then they made iron in the workshops. The process began, aroused interest, the Ministry of Radio Industry joined in ...
When I came to this car with BESM, my eyes went up to my forehead. The people who made it just sculpted it out of what they have. There was no idea, that is, I could hardly do anything with it! She knew how to multiply, add, divide, had a memory, indeed, and she had some kind of tricky code that you can't use ... You give the IF command and you have to wait eight commands until the path under the head fits there. The developers told us: just find what to do in these eight commands, but because of this it turned out eight times slower ... SCM in my memory is a kind of freak ... BESM had to give 10000 operations ... But, because of the replacement [ memory], BESM on tubes gave only 1000 operations. Moreover, all calculations for them were carried out 2 times, necessarily, because these mercury tubes often got lost. When we later switched to electrostatic memory ... the whole team of young guys - after all, Melnikov and others were still boys - rolled up their sleeves and redid everything. We did our 10 thousand operations per second, then increased the frequency and they got 12 thousand. I remember that moment. Melnikov says to me: “Look! Look, I'll give the country another Strela now! " And on this oscillator turns the knob, just increasing the frequency.


In general, the architectural solutions of this machine are now practically forgotten, but in vain - they perfectly demonstrate a kind of technical schizophrenia, which the developers had to follow largely through no fault of their own. For those who are not in the know, in the USSR (especially in the military field, which included all computers in the Union until the mid-1960s), it was impossible to officially build or invent anything, acting freely. For any potential product, a group of specially trained bureaucrats would first issue a technical assignment.

It was basically impossible not to meet the TK (even the strangest, from the point of view of common sense) - even an ingenious invention would not have been accepted by a government commission. So in the TK for "Strela" was indicated the requirement of the obligatory ability to work with all the machine nodes in thick warm gloves (!), The meaning of which the mind is not able to comprehend. As a result, the developers were as perverted as they could. For example, the notorious magnetic tape drive used reels not of the global 3⁄4 "standard, but 12,5 cm, so that they could be charged in fur mittens. In addition, the tape had to withstand a jerk during a cold start of the drive (according to TZ –45 ° C), so it was super thick and very strong to the detriment of everything else. How a storage device can have a temperature of -45 ° C, when a 150 kW lamp battery is running a step away from it, the compiler of the technical specification definitely did not think about it.

But the secrecy of SKB-245 was paranoid (in contrast to the BESM project, which Lebedev did with the students). There were 6 departments in the organization, which were designated by numbers (before that they were secret). Moreover, the most important, 1st department (according to tradition, later in all Soviet institutions this very "1st part" existed, where specially trained people from the KGB sat and secret everything that was possible, for example, in the 1970s, the "first departments" were responsible for access to a strategic machine - a copier, otherwise employees would suddenly begin to propagate sedition). The entire department was engaged in daily checks of all other departments, every day the SKB employees were given suitcases with papers and stitched, numbered, sealed notebooks, which were handed over at the end of the working day. Nevertheless, for some reason, such an outstanding level of bureaucratic organization did not allow the creation of an equally outstanding machine.

"Arrow" in all its splendor, 3 paired blocks with aisles between them, built in the form of the letter P, and a central console. This is not the whole computer, about the same volume was occupied by storage devices, generators, air conditioning systems and other auxiliary parts.

Monstrous bobbin "Strela", the one designed to function during a nuclear winter (photo from the collection of the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow).

It is striking, however, that "Strela" not only entered the pantheon of Soviet computers, but was also known in the West. For example, the author of this article was sincerely surprised to find, in C. Gordon Bell, Allen Newell, Computer Structures: Reading and Examples, published by the McGraw-Hill Book Company in 1971, in a chapter on various command set architectures, a description of Arrow commands. Although it was cited there, as is clear from the preface, rather, for the sake of a curiosity, since it was rather intricate even by tricky domestic standards.


Lebedev learned two valuable lessons from this story. And for the production of the next machine, the M-20, he moved to the competitors favored by the authorities - the very same SKB-245. And for patronage he appoints as his deputy a high rank from the Ministry - M.K.Sulima. After that, he begins to drown the competing development - "Setun" with the same ardor. In particular, not a single design bureau undertook to develop documentation vital for mass production.

Later, the vindictive Bruevich dealt the last blow to Lebedev.

The work of the M-20 team was nominated for the Lenin Prize. However, the work was rejected for unspecified reasons. The fact is that Bruevich (who was then an official of the Gospriyemka) wrote down his dissenting opinion in addition to the act on the acceptance of the M-20 computer. Referring to the fact that the US is already running a military computer IBM Naval Ordnance Research Calculator (NORC), allegedly producing more than 20 kFLOPS (in reality, no more than 15), and "forgetting" that the M-20 has 1600 lamps instead of 8000 NORC, he expressed great doubts about the high quality of the machine. Naturally, no one began to argue with him.

Lebedev learned this lesson too. And Sulim, already familiar to us, became not just a deputy, but a general designer of the following machines M-220 and M-222. This time everything went like clockwork. Despite the numerous shortcomings of the first series (by that time, a poor ferrite-transistor element base, a small amount of RAM, an unsuccessful design of the control panel, high labor intensity of production, a single-program console mode of operation), 1965 sets of this series were produced from 1978 to 809. The last of them, 25 years old, were installed back in the 80s.


It is interesting that BESM-1 cannot be considered purely lamp-based. In many blocks, ferrite transformers rather than resistance lamps were used in the anode circuit. Lebedev's student Burtsev recalled:

Since these transformers were made in an artisanal way, they often burned out, while giving off a pungent specific smell. Sergei Alekseevich had a wonderful sense of smell and, sniffing the rack, pointed to the defective one up to a block. He was almost never wrong.

In general, the results of the first stage of the computer race were summed up in 1955 by the Central Committee of the CPSU. The result of the pursuit of academicians' chairs and foundations was disappointing, which is confirmed by the corresponding report:

The domestic industry, which produces electronic machines and devices, does not make sufficient use of the achievements of modern science and technology and lags behind the level of a similar industry abroad. This lag is especially clearly manifested in the creation of high-speed calculating devices ... The work ... is organized on a completely insufficient scale ... not allowing to catch up and, moreover, to outstrip foreign countries. SKB-245 MMiP is the only industrial institution in this area ...
In 1951, there were 15 types of universal high-speed digital machines in the USA with a total of 5 large and about 100 small machines. In 1954, the United States already had over 70 types of machines, totaling over 2300 pieces, of which 78 were large, 202 were medium, and over 2000 were small. At present, we have only two types of large machines (BESM and "Strela") and two types of small machines (ATsVM M-1 and EV) and only 5-6 machines are in operation. We are lagging behind the USA ... and in terms of the quality of the machines we have. Our main serial machine "Strela" is inferior to the serial American machine IBM 701 in a number of indicators ... Part of the available manpower and resources is spent on performing unpromising work that lags behind the level of modern technology. Thus, the electromechanical differential analyzer with 245 integrators manufactured in SKB-24, which is an extremely complex and expensive machine, has rather narrow capabilities in comparison with digital electronic machines; abroad from the manufacture of such machines refused ...
Soviet industry also lags behind foreign industry in technology for the production of computers. So, abroad, special radio components and products are widely produced, which are used in calculating machines. Of these, germanium diodes and triodes should be indicated in the first place. The production of these elements is being successfully automated. The automatic line at the General Electric plant produces 12 million germanium diodes per year.

At the end of the 50s, squabbles and strife among designers associated with an attempt to get more funding from the state for their projects and drown others' (since the number of seats in the Academy of Sciences is not rubber), as well as a low technical level, which hardly makes it possible to produce such complex equipment , led to the fact that at the beginning of the 1960s, the park in general of all lamp machines in the USSR was:

Unique and forgotten: the birth of the Soviet missile defense system. BESM against Strela

In addition, until 1960, several specialized machines were produced - M-17, M-46, "Kristall", "Pogoda", "Granit", etc. In total, no more than 20-30 pieces. The most popular computer "Ural-1" was also the smallest (100 lamps) and slowest (about 80 FLOPS). For comparison: the IBM 650, the former more complex and faster than almost all of the above, was produced by that time in more than 2000 copies, not counting other models of this company alone. The level of lack of computer technology was such that when in 1955 the country's first specialized computing center was created - the Computing Center of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR with two whole machines - BESM-2 and Strela, computers in it worked around the clock and could not cope with the flow of tasks (one is more important than the other).

Bureaucratic absurdity

It came, again, to the bureaucratic absurdity - so that the academics would not fight over the overvalued machine time (and, according to tradition, for total party control of everything and everyone, just in case), the plan of calculations on the computer was approved, and on a weekly basis, personally by the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N. A. Bulgarin. There were also other anecdotal cases.

For example, academician Burtsev recalled the following story:

BESM began to consider tasks of particular importance [that is, nuclear weapons]. We were given security clearance, and the KGB officers very meticulously asked how information of special importance could be extracted and removed from the car ... We understood that every competent engineer can extract this information from anywhere, and they wanted it to be one place. As a result of joint efforts, it was determined that this place is a magnetic drum. A plexiglass cap was built on the drum with a place to seal it. The guards regularly recorded the presence of a seal with the entry of this fact into the journal ... Once we began to work, having received some, as Lyapunov said, an ingenious result.

- And what to do next with this brilliant result? “He’s in RAM,” I ask Lyapunov.
- Well, let's put it on the drum.
- Which drum? He is the KGB sealed!
To which Lyapunov replied:
- My result is a hundred times more important than anything written and sealed there!
I recorded his result on a drum, erasing a large pool of information recorded by atomic scientists ...
It was also lucky that both Lyapunov and Burtsev were necessary and important enough people not to go to colonize the Kolyma for such arbitrariness. Despite these incidents, the most important thing is that we had not yet begun to lag behind in production technology.

Academician N.N.Moiseev got acquainted with the tube machines of the USA and wrote later:

I saw that in technology we practically do not lose: the same tube computing monsters, the same endless failures, the same magician engineers in white coats who fix breakdowns, and wise mathematicians who are trying to get out of difficult situations.

A.K. Platonov also recalls the difficulty of gaining access to BESM-1:

An episode is recalled in connection with BESM. How everyone was kicked out of the car. Her main time was with Kurchatov, and they were told not to give anyone time until they finish all the work. This angered Lebedev very much. Initially, he allocated time himself, and did not agree with such a requirement, but Kurchatov knocked out this decree. Then I ran out of time at eight o'clock, I have to go home. Just then Kurchatov's girls come in with punched tapes. But behind them enters an angry Lebedev with the words: "This is wrong!" In short, Sergei Alekseevich sat down at the console himself.

At the same time, the battle of academics for lamps took place against the backdrop of the amazing literacy of the leaders. According to Lebedev, when, in the late 1940s, he met with representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Moscow to explain to them the importance of financing computers, and spoke about the theoretical performance of MESM in 1 kFLOPS. The official thought for a long time, and then gave out a brilliant:

Well, here, get the money, make a car with it, she will instantly recount all the tasks. What will you do with it then? Throw it away?

After that, Lebedev turned to the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and already there he found the necessary money and support. By the time when, according to tradition, looking to the West, domestic bureaucrats saw their sight, the train almost left. We managed to produce no more than 60–70 computers in ten years, and even then up to half of experimental ones.

As a result, by the mid-1950s, an amazing and sad situation had developed - the presence of world-class scientists and the complete absence of serial computers of a similar level. As a result, when creating missile defense computers, the USSR had to rely on traditional Russian ingenuity, and the hint as to which direction to dig came from an unexpected direction.

There is a small country in Europe that is often ignored by those with a superficial knowledge of the history of technology. They often recall German weapons, French cars, British computers, but they forget that there was one state, thanks to its uniquely talented engineers, which achieved in the 1930-1950s no less, if not great success in all these areas. After the war, fortunately for the USSR, it firmly entered its sphere of influence. We are talking about Czechoslovakia. And it is about Czech computers and their main role in creating the missile shield of the Country of the Soviets that we will talk about in the next article.
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  1. Lech from Android.
    Lech from Android. 22 May 2021 06: 57
    Yeah, that was archaic ...
    I remember I was on an excursion in Akademgorodok in some kind of computer institute ... there I saw punch cards for the first time ... the machine even played Oginsky's polonaise. smile
    1. Thrifty
      Thrifty 22 May 2021 07: 37
      Here you don't know whether to laugh or swear at the mess that interfered with work. Selfish interests, the battle for a warm place suffered damage to the main thing - the creation of a high-quality computer capable of performing the necessary calculations. Unfortunately, little has changed for the better since then.
      1. Gori
        Gori 22 May 2021 08: 56
        Quote: Alexey Eremenko (Sperry)
        It is interesting that BESM-1 cannot be considered purely lamp-based. In many blocks, ferrite transformers rather than resistance lamps were used in the anode circuit.

        Author, resistance lamps do not exist.
      2. Narak-zempo
        Narak-zempo 23 May 2021 08: 20
        Quote: Thrifty
        Selfish interests, battle for a warm place

        Actually, this is called "socialist competition".
  2. Gori
    Gori 22 May 2021 08: 57
    Quote: Alexey Eremenko (Sperry)
    It is interesting that BESM-1 cannot be considered purely lamp-based. In many blocks, ferrite transformers rather than resistance lamps were used in the anode circuit.

    The author, you dilute your hatred of everything Soviet with complete technical illiteracy. You don't even know the classification of electronic devices, according to the classification of amplifying elements. In addition, you work through a translator who translates clumsily))).
  3. depressant
    depressant 22 May 2021 11: 00
    In 1961, a team led by Academician Lebedev developed the first Soviet fully semiconductor computer 5E92b, which was included in the A-35 missile defense system - "Aldan".
    The name of the system is played up in the Strugatskys' book "Monday starts on Saturday".

    "... Then the hunchback asked:" Where do you work? "I answered." Colossal! - exclaimed the hunchback. - Programmer! We need a programmer. Listen, leave your institute and come to us! "-" What do you have? "---" What do we have? "- asked the hunchback, turning." Aldan-3, "said the bearded man." A rich car, - I said ... "
    Quiet nostalgia ... You can, right? wink
  4. ccsr
    ccsr 22 May 2021 18: 48
    Alexey Eremenko
    the plan of calculations on a computer was approved, moreover, weekly, personally by the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N. A. Bulgarin. There were other anecdotal cases as well.

    Before telling jokes, learn to at least respectfully treat those people who created the power of our state and correctly indicate their names:
    Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin - Soviet statesman,
    Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (1955-1958), first deputy since 1950, deputy since 1947, in 1938-1944. Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. Three times chairman of the State Bank of the USSR (1938-1940, 1940-1945, 1958).

    By the way, how do you imagine this "weekly statement" by the prime minister, if at that time the reliability of computer technology was not very high, and who worked in the seventies in the EU remember perfectly well how they went out of order. I think that the example you cited is itself from the field of anecdotes, because most likely a weekly load was considered the minimum for working on such a technique.
    We are talking about Czechoslovakia. And it is about Czech computers and their main role in creating the missile shield of the Country of the Soviets that we will talk about in the next article.

    I will not deny anything, but in the seventies the main supplier of computer technology was the GDR, not Czechoslovakia. It will be interesting to find out where the author got information about the Czech computer technology used in the military missile sector, taking into account the fact that all this was developed on a domestic basis.
  5. S. Viktorovich
    S. Viktorovich 22 May 2021 20: 17
    In the mid-80s, Soviet computers could well solve all the problems that then required a solution. There were quite working reserves of personal computers, although for them there were limitations in terms of "personality", tk. the enemy was not asleep and without a party committee anywhere. Then in the state. scale everything was merged to dear partners and its technique and mentality were eliminated.
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  8. Old electrician
    Old electrician 23 May 2021 07: 21
    At first I thought that the author had anything to do with computing, but this phrase finished me off:
    SKB had no chances, Strela's performance was no more than 2 kFLOPS, and BESM-1 produced more than 10 kFLOPS.
    - this is blatant illiteracy.
    In computing, there are two concepts - speed and performance. They are not the same thing.
    FLOPS is a non-systemic unit used to measure the performance of computers, showing how many floating point operations a given computing system performs per second. The flop performance of computers is assessed using the LINPACK test, the first implementation of which appeared in 1979. It is physically impossible to load the 50 test into computers of the 1979s, so the performance of those computers can only be speculatively discussed. It goes without saying that there were no flops in the 50-60s.
    In the 50s, the speed of computers was estimated in operations per second (op / sec). There was no single methodology, so the mess was complete. For the uniformity of the evaluation of computers in the 60s in the world of computer engineering, the evaluation of the speed of the mixture of Gibson-III commands was adopted as a standard technique. It is measured in KIPS (i.e. 1000 op / sec), MIPS (million op / sec), etc. To understand the difference, I will give the following example. The super-duper computer of all times and peoples BESM-6 gave 1 million op / sec to the statement of the creators, and only 0,8 MIPS for the Gibson-III mixture. Since the 90s, LINPACK has supplanted the Gibson-III blend test.
    Now, in essence, chances. Compared to Strela, the BESM-1 had no chances. In 1952, the BESM-1 was equipped with a random access memory on mercury tubes. With it, the speed of BESM-1 was up to 800 ops / sec.
    At the beginning of 1955, the memory on mercury tubes in BESM-1 was replaced with memory on potentioscopes (RAM on cathode-ray tubes). With them, BESM-1 reached a speed of 8 thousand operations per second, but not at 10 thousand operations per second. (check out any serious reference book, not the Wikipedia article). BESM-1 was not the world record holder in any of its variants. The most productive in the world in 1952 was the American computer IBM 701 with a speed of up to 15 thousand ops / sec. This is 1,5-2 times more than the highest speed of BESM-1 in its most perfect version of the 1957 model. The IBM 701 computer was mass-produced, a total of 19701 (nineteen thousand seven hundred and one) copies of this model were built. The BESM-1 computer was made in a single copy and passed through all the documents as an experimental computer.
    The work of the M-20 team was nominated for the Lenin Prize. However, the work was rejected for unspecified reasons. The fact is that Bruevich (who was then an official of the Gospriyemka) wrote down his dissenting opinion in addition to the act on the acceptance of the M-20 computer. Referring to the fact that the US is already running a military computer IBM Naval Ordnance Research Calculator (NORC), allegedly producing more than 20 kFLOPS (in reality, no more than 15), and "forgetting" that the M-20 has 1600 lamps instead of 8000 NORC, he expressed great doubts about the high quality of the machine. Naturally, no one began to argue with him.
    - really, what is there to argue about?
    The development of the M-20 was completed in 1958, serial production since 1959. At that time, the IBM NORC computer, built in 1954 in a single copy, had not been a record holder for a long time.
    In 1955, the serial production of the iconic American computer IBM 704, "sharpened" for FORTRAN, was launched, which had a speed of about 40 thousand operations per second. IBM sold about 140 Model 704 computers between 1955 and 1960.
    In 1958, the serial production of the AN / FSQ-7 computer was started. A total of 52 vehicles were built. The performance of the AN / FSQ-7 was 75 thousand ops / sec.
    In the same 1958, in Computer Center No. 1 of the USSR Ministry of Defense (military unit 01168, now TsNII-27 of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation), under the leadership of Anatoly Ivanovich Kitov, the M-100 computer was created with a speed of 100 thousand op / sec. Until now, this is not a broken record for the speed of vacuum tube computers. The phenomenal performance of the M-100 was ensured by the use of a four-position instruction pipeline and cache memory. IBM implemented the first command pipeline in 1960 on its first supercomputer, the IBM 7030, and only introduced cache in 1967 on the 85 of the IBM System / 360 series. Why was the Lenin Prize given to the constructively backward M-20?
    Dear author! Why compare the M-20 with the NORC in terms of the number of tubes? Is this an achievement? The problem is that IBM NORC worked with 64-bit words, and BESM-1 with 39 bit words. Count how many times IBM NORC is more accurate than BESM-1, which economically consumes radio tubes.
    Dear author! In your opus you write that "according to unconfirmed data" the M-100 had a speed of 100 Mflops / s.
    100 Mflops / s is as illiterate as the speed of 100 km / h per hour. Although no one really attributed 100 Mflops / s for the M-100. However, to say that "according to unconfirmed data" the M-100 had the speed it achieved is sheer meanness.
    And the last thing. The reliability and other shortcomings of the BESM-1 were the same as those of the "Strela" you ridiculed.
  9. OCefir
    OCefir 23 May 2021 08: 00
    A very interesting and informative series of articles. Author, keep it up! I look forward to continuing.
    1. Old electrician
      Old electrician 23 May 2021 11: 39
      The author sculpts a myth about a knight in white robes, an innocent victim of a totalitarian regime. Therefore, in the article “BESM versus Strela,” he did not tell the most interesting thing. The trinity of the vice-presidents of the USSR Academy of Sciences Lavrentyev and Keldysh and academician Lebedev who "joined them" skillfully and harmoniously sang love songs to Nikita the Wonderworker and, using the connections at the "court", inflicted incalculable damage to the computer industry of the USSR.
      Through their efforts, the USSR Ministry of Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation was liquidated, SKB-245 became ownerless and went to the winners. After that, all the developers of computers in the USSR, except for the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, headed by Lebedev, voluntarily and forcibly abandoned the development of large computers.
      Kitov, the creator of the M-100 record computer, was removed from his post as head of the Computer Center No. 1 of the USSR Ministry of Defense and expelled from the party. Neither he nor Computer Center No. 1 of the USSR Ministry of Defense did not develop computers after that. Lebedev has no more competitors.
      In the early 50s, thanks to the denunciation of Academician Lavrentyev to the Central Committee of the CPSU, a draconian and completely senseless secrecy regime was introduced, which significantly slowed down the work on the creation of the first computers. Thanks to the regime of stupid secrecy, a blow was dealt to the international image of the USSR. The very fact of the presence of a computer in the USSR was hiding in a moronic way.
      Vice-President and then President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Keldysh believed that computers are a toy for academicians, they do not need mass production. After showing him the Strela computer, he said:
      If such computers were to be produced 5–7 pieces, then this would be quite enough for the Soviet Union.

      In the early 60s, at a personal meeting of Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences V.I. Arnold with the President of the USSR Academy of Sciences Keldysh, in response to the request of V.I. Arnold to help him organize computer calculations of the long-term orbits of the heavens, a remarkable dialogue took place:
      Keldysh's answer surprised me extremely: he said that “it is impossible to calculate such coefficients of circuits because this would require large computer capacities, but in our country they do not and will not be, because I reported to the leadership that the country should develop computer technology there is no need: American atomic bombs were calculated by von Neumann using computers, and Soviet ones by such remarkable mathematicians as Kantorovich, who was able to calculate everything that was needed without computers. "
      I was unable to agree with this: I tried to convince Mstislav Vsevolodovich that the lag in computer technology caused great damage to the country, moreover, not only in the calculation of bomb explosions and missile orbits, but also in various economic problems, up to even the choice of prices in supermarkets.
      The only thing I achieved was the advice of Mstislav Vsevolodovich to convey my proposal to the representatives of NASA, who should soon come to Moscow

      Academician Lebedev was a match for them. He categorically opposed the transition of computers from radio tubes to transistors and microcircuits, against the creation and use of operating systems and multiprocessor computers. Those. against modern computers.
      1. OCefir
        OCefir 23 May 2021 12: 10
        But, nevertheless, it was under the leadership of Lebedev's group that the first parallel computers and algorithms for them appeared in the USSR (an analogue of the current MPI). And this architecture was implemented specifically for missile defense missions in the early 60s. The SKIF line was 30 years late. But here a lot of problems were the reason - from the element base to excessive secrecy.
        1. Old electrician
          Old electrician 23 May 2021 13: 50
          After the victory of the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering of the USSR Academy of Sciences (ITMiVT) over SKB-245, he received all military orders, and these are grandmothers, orders and other material benefits. The missile defense development project required extraordinary solutions, and Lebedev put V.S. Burtsev. It is Burtsev who is the author of the country's first multi-machine computing complex consisting of two computers M-40, M-50 and several small specialized machines, united by a common memory field.
          System "A" and the subsequent ABM computer systems are a military topic that is extremely beneficial for ITMiVT. Lebedev was not an idiot who could knock a chair out from under him or slaughter a goose that lays the golden eggs. Therefore, he did not interfere with the work of Burtsev. However, in addition to missile defense, there is also scientific and civil topics, where supercomputers are needed no less than missile defense. It was on this subject that Lebedev drew on to the fullest, and, like Keldysh, pursued the policy of "computers is a toy for academicians." I will repeat the words of Keldysh:
          this would require large computer capacities, but in our country they do not and will not be, because I reported to the leadership that there is no need to develop computer technology in the country

          This is an example. A.I. Kitov, the author of the record M-100 computer, raised the question of the need to create a unified system for managing the national economy of the USSR and the country's Armed Forces based on the widespread use of computers and economic and mathematical methods. This is called the digital economy these days. To accomplish this task, he proposed to create a global network system. This is called the Internet these days. The worst thing is that with this idea, he went over the head of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and independently of academicians Lavrentyev, Keldysh and Lebedev to meet Nikita the Wonderworker. It was such sedition that it was impossible for the accomplices to forgive, and they walked around Kitov with an administrative asphalt roller. They didn't give a damn about the country.
  10. Usher
    Usher 23 May 2021 15: 57
    A funny and ridiculous article.
  11. Servisinzhener
    Servisinzhener 24 May 2021 09: 55
    The author's articles are written in the spirit of modern films about the Great Patriotic War. Where the main part of the narrative consists of exposing "totalitarianism". Achievements only in spite of. And everywhere either a stupid scoundrel political instructor. Or an employee of the NKVD. And a little to the top about the topic of the article - Soviet computers.
    Only one moment was missed by the author. This is the specificity of this resource. Or rather, even the specifics of the people who visit it. These are usually technically literate people. Moreover, there are quite a few of those who worked with the described technique. In addition, they are well related to the described period of history and have lived there for more than one or two decades.
    And in this form, this series of articles would look good in the blogs section of the "EchoMoscow" site or on "Snob". But not on this resource.