Ukrainian      Russian

"...The first electronic digital computer in continental Europe was constructed not in Germany or France, but in the Ukraine. In the late 1940s, Sergei Alexeevich Lebedev began constructing the MESM (Malaya Elektronaya Schetnaya Mashina, or Small Electronic Calculating Machine)...."

"...Lebedev and his team estimated that the MESM would occupy about 50 square meters, and thus the team had to remove some of the building's inner walls and part of the first floor ceiling. Yet they had not considered another consequence when the entire unit was assembled and the power turned on, the MESM's 6,000 vacuum tubes turned the dormitory into a sauna. Air conditioners did not exist in postwar Soviet Ukraine, so the team cut a hole in the building's roof to draw off some of the heat.

The machine was a success in terms of its architecture and operating capabilities. By 1950, the experimental MESM was functioning and operated at 50 instructions per second. It contained 63 three-address instructions and a memory of 3116-bit words.9 It used fixed-point binary numerical representation. At that time, the only other similar working machines were Frederick Williams and Tom Kilburn's Baby and Maurice Wilkes' Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator in England. However, each British computer employed a sequential operational arithmetic unit, while MESM worked on parallel arithmetic units.

Other than a simple demonstration to rep-resentatives from the Academy of Sciences, the first actual problem MESM solved was on 25 December 1951, when it computed a probability distribution function:

a probabilyty distribution function      a probabilyty distribution function

For two and a half hours, 585 values of p were calculated to five places, requiring nearly 250,000 operations. The result provided values for defining and increasing the accuracy of artillery weapons..."

The extract from Anne Fitzpatrick "The MESM and the monastery," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.24, no 2, April-June 2002, p.92