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Minutes of Session No.1 of the closed, Science Council of the ASU Institute of Electronic Technology and Heat-Power Engineering from 8 January 1951


Members of the Science Council: active members of the ASU I.T.Shvetz, S.A.Lebedev, member-correspondent Teitelbaum, Doctors of Technical Science A.D.Nesterenko, V.I.Tolubinsky, Candidates of Technical Science, E.V.Kruschova, A.N.Miliakh, A.I.Petrov.


Chairman OTN Bureau, acting member of ASU, N.N.Dobrokhotov.

Institute of Mathematics: Institute Director, active member of the ASU, A.U.Ishlinsky, chief of departments, I.B.Pogrebisky, Doctor of Technical Science, S.G.Krain.

Institute of Electro-Technology: co-workers of the Simulation and Modifications Laboratory (Laboratory Chief S.A.Lebedev), Candidates of Science L.N.Dashevsky and E.A.Shkabara, Junior Assistant Scientific Co-worker Z.L.Rabinovich, Engineer S.B.Pogrebinsky, Co-worker of the Automation Laboratory, Candidate of Science, G.K.Nechaev.


1. The Calculating-Resolving Electronic Machine (Report of Director of the ASU Institute of Electro-Technology, ASU Acting Member, S.A.Lebedev.

Heard: Report of ASU Acting Member S.A.Lebedev "The Calculating-Resolving Electronic Machine".

Principles of Operation of a high-performance Machine - principles of arithmetic. The basic requirement for this machine - acceleration and automation of calculation. The laboratory was given the task of creating a working prototype of an electronic, high-performance computing machine. In the development of the prototype there was a given series of limitations. The speed of computing was equal to 100 operations per second. A number of bits is limited to five in the decimal system (16 bits in the binary system).

The machine can add, subtract, multiply, divide and a series of operations, such as compare, shift, stop, foreseeing the possibility of adding operations.

The basic element of the electronic counting machine is an element which allows for the production of sums. Electronic relays are used (trigger cells), in which the current is switched from one electronic tube to another by means of an pulse-feed on a grid. This gives the possibility to do summing, from which all the other activities are formed. Instead of a decimal system, a binary system is used, that is defined by the characteristics of the trigger cells (S.A.Lebedev explains how the machine works by means of flow-chart). In addition to the computing elements, the machine must have elements which govern the calculation process. These are elements such as enabling devices and memory elements.

In 1951 the laboratory was given the task - turn the prototype into a working machine. Up until now, the obstacle for this has been the absence of automatic sources of data input and automatic output of received results. The automation of these operations will be realized with the help of magnetic tape, which has been developed by the Institute of Physics (in the laboratory of ASU member correspondent A.A.Kharkevich).

Questions presented:

N.N.Dobrokhotov. What other computing machines will be developed in the USSR and if they are being developed, on what principle?

A.I.Petrov. What is the field of application of the machine?

A.U.Ishlinsky. 1) What is the operating life of machine elements? 2) What is the reliability of the machine, in case of element failure? 3) How did you manage to use foreign technical materials? 4) What must be the qualifications of the operators?

G.K.Nechaev. What is the correlation between calculation time and output (input) of the task in the automatic work of the machine?

I.T.Shvetz. 1) The state of development of electronic counting machines at other institutes? 2) What is the situation with the development of computing machines abroad and what are their parameters, in comparison with ours? 3) Who developed the trigger cells, since when are they well known and where else are they be used? 4) What is the participation in this complex work of the ASU Institute of Mathematics, ASU Institute of Physics and the ASUSSR Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Technology?

L.I.Tsukernik. What kind of original solutions have been applied in the machine by the ASU Institute of Electro-Technology?

S.G.Krain. What tasks will the developed and automated machine be able to accomplish?

S.A.Lebedev. I am replying, grouping together similar questions. I have data on 18 machines developed by the Americans. This data has the character of an advertisement, without any kind of information on how the machines are built (Check Insert 1. - Author's note) On the question of construction of computing machines we must catch up with developments abroad and must do so quickly.

In the available foreign literature, the project design and construction of a machine takes five to ten years, we want to realize the machine construction in two years. Parameters of the American machines are as follows: the time for multiplication on the ENIAC is 5.5 milli-seconds, on the EDVAC- 4 milli-seconds, on our machine 8-9 milli-seconds.

Except for the ASU Institute of Electro-Technology, work on developing such machines is: a) SKB-245 Ministry of Machine and Instrument Construction; at first they were developing a machine using relays, but now they have switched over to the use of electronics; b) the ASU Energy Institute; it uses trigger cells; c) the ASUSSR Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Technology, together with which our work is being conducted. This machine is quite like the MESM, but has been intended for high-performance, more so than the existing American machines. The operating time in this machine will be equal to 0.2 milli-seconds (about the BESM, it goes without saying - Author's note).

Principally, what is new in our machine is the summing element, but also a resolution of questions of the existence of interdependence of separate machine elements. The machine's basic construction principle was the use of only proven, well-known elements, and this is also true of the trigger circuitry.

The field of applications of the machine is very wide. In principal, it can be used to solve all problems which can be reduced to a numerical solution. With the help of this machine, resolution for all differential equations and tables of all kinds can be produced. The advantageous application of these machines - working on uniform calculations with different initial data ( e.g. calculation of guided missile trajectories). The appearance of electronic counting machines makes possible the application of new mathematical methods for the resolution of problems of statistical physics.

To take advantage of experience from abroad is difficult, since published material is very scanty.

Workers on the machines must be of three types: mathematicians (program coding); operators (trouble-shooting the machine); those combining both of these specialties.

The real data input and results-output time of the machine are equal to the operation cycle time.

The participation of the ASU Institute of Mathematics is expressed in the joint development of programming problems. The participation of the ASU Institute of Physics is expressed in the development of magnetic recording.

The increase in machine reliability we realize with preliminary tube testing.

Failure of any of the machine elements can be easily detected.


A.U.Ishlinsky. Creation of a prototype is one of the most powerful achievements of the Department of Technological Science and S.A.Lebedev. There is no need to discuss the significance of the machine. The presence of the electronic machine removes much of the difficulty and will help avoid application of those calculation methods which are currently being employed. It's clear that such machines will be widely used in defense industry as well as in science.

The design of such a machine is a big achievement in science. In the future, we should not load the machine with the same type of calculations meant for applied purposes. On the contrary, with its help, we should scientific research work.

N.N.Dobrokhotov. The importance of conducted work on calculation machine is quite evident. The task of the ASU is to design a machine better than those existing abroad. In order that the machine is designed better, it is necessary to organize an exchange of opinions as well as to organize discussions on the crucial points of machine design. It is necessary to discuss the work on a country-wide scale (USSR).

S.E.Teitelbaum. It is necessary to considerably extend the staff of worker and material base for speeding up of such important work.

S.G.Krain. The application of an electronic machine will give the opportunity to apply a n umber of new methods in technology. In connection with this, it is necessary to maximize and intensify the research work.

I.T.Shvetz. Lebedev's report being made now, brought about a feeling of satisfaction and proud in our Academy of Science. The work on electronic computing machines is related to one of the most important work of the ASU. It is necessary to assist development of such work and accelerate the machine's performance, to the highest degree. These are the shortcomings: 1) S.A.Lebedev does not fight for the priority of the ASU in this work. 2) There is not enough interaction between different institutes. We should conduct the work having more tight connections with the ASU Institutes of Mathematics and Physics. 3) We should not use the term "logic operation" with respect to the machine because the machine cannot make logic operations. We'd better substitute this term for another. I believe that the scale of the work of course should be increased, but one should not say that this work is the most important in the ASU. One should also remember that the financial allotment to the ASU in 1951 is decreasing. We should consider in detail what we need to ask from the Presidium of the ASU for the quickest fulfillment of the work.

S.A.Lebedev. I must stress that the importance of work on computing machines is very high. As an example, I may present the following. The only effective way of long-range rocket interception is to send anti-missile missile. To this end, we need to determine possible point of interception. The application of calculation machine will allow for the necessary calculations for rocket trajectory, which will provide precise encounter (hit). In respect of the council summons on calculation machines, I can say that by the government's order, the schematic for the machine project will be finished in the first quarter of the year of 1951. This schematic project will be given for consideration to experts where it will be considered in detail. I agree that we should bring to closer cooperation the ASU Institute of Mathematics and Physics. We have connections with the Institute of Precise Mechanics and Computer-Technology of ASU, not only in financial field (though it's important) as it gives the possibility to create a prototype of the machine), but in the scientific field. In respect of the computer usage for calculations, it would be difficult to refuse help to those who need to carry out calculations, as the questions of calculating technology are of growing importance.


1) To note that the work of the Institute of Technology of ASU, under supervision of ASU member S.A.Lebedev, on design of an electronic computing machine are quite up-to-date and have great scientific and practical importance, connected with defense requirements of the USSR as well as with tasks of scientific research work in different fields of science and technology.

2) To recommend to the director of ASU Institute of the Electro-Technology SA Lebedev to become a member of the Presidium of ASU, with a request for organizing of actions directed for further development of work for creation of soviet computing machines to considerably accelerate the work and extend the experimental base in Feofania, to prepare necessary staff, to provide necessary participation of other ASU Institutes in this work

3) Remarking on the complex character of the work carried out by the Institute of Electro-Technology of ASU jointly with the Institute of Precise Mechanics and Computer Technology and ASU Institutes of Mathematics and Physics, let's make it purposeful to work out a plan for the most efficient conduction of joint research and design work on the basis of complex participation of scientific establishment, Ukrainian and Soviet, as well as the Ministry of Device Manufacturing and Machine Building of the USSR.

Chairman of the Scientific Council, Active-Member of ASU I.T.Shvetz
Scientific Secretary E.V.Krushchova