Invention of the electronic calculating machines or computers became one of the fundamental achievements of the science and technology. Assigned at the beginning for the automated calculations, computers very quickly turned to the irreplaceable assistants into men in his intellectual activities up to the complete substitution of the humans in the different informational processes related to measurements, control, management, etc.
Development of the computer technique was followed by the advancement of application programs and software. As a result, information technologies were born that allowed to solve practically any tasks and problems in all fields of human activity related to information.
During the after war decade Ukraine was second to Russian Federation in investments value into computer engineering, including works of defense purposes.
Periodicals of those years mainly reflect high level of computer-building in Ukraine, but nevertheless, do not describe completely creative potential of Ukraine at that time because do not include very significant results achieved in the field of military technique.
The author - B.N.Malinovsky is a corresponding member of the NAS of Ukraine, who served over 50 years for the benefit of computer science and technology. Using rich life experience, information obtained from other specialists, archival documents including declassified works, he was able to tell interactively the story about first and following generations of the national computers, first unique industrial and military control systems, how computer science was emerging and who stood at the cradle of the national computer building and made a tangible contribution into its development.
The book summarizes and complements previously written author's monographs, published in two versions - in Ukrainian/ English and in Russian/English - and includes numerous photo illustrations that significantly supplement the book text.
The phenomenon of the years described in the book can be contributed to the simultaneous unfolding of the brilliant talents of the two outstanding scientists -Sergey Lebedev and Victor Glushkov, and to the young people generation who came to the institutes and enterprises, and whose world view and characters were formed by the war. The war experience and difficult life in rearward made youth to grow up quicker, to appreciate value and aims of life, engrafted them with feelings of responsibility and self sufficiency, the ability to withstand obstacles. As a result, an amazing alloy of the wise matured scientists and youngsters who were ready to give a new science "the rest of life" was formed. Embracing the best from the teachers, they continue keeping the path of the major computer technique development.
The first starting impulse was given by academician Lebedev. In October 1948 when Kiev was still in ruins, in AS of the Ukrainian SSR a team led by him had begun development of the first in the continental Europe, classified then, Small Electronic Computing Machine MESM. Independently and simultaneously with western scientists he developed general principles of computer structure that can store program in the memory. In 1951, when MESM started full operations, it represented the only regular used machine in the USSR. To familiarize authorities with first functional national computer a script about MESM was prepared under Lebedev's supervision for the first in the world (!) classified movie about computer. Remembering short terms needed for the elaboration, construction and tuning of the MESM - two years - and the fact that only 12 people (including Lebedev) with the support of 15 technicians and adjusters participated in the works, it becomes clear that Lebedev and his team performed act of bravery! However, nominated to the State award MESM project was rejected - result of the negative attitude to the newly emerging cybernetics. Nevertheless, this and following similarly important works of S.Levedev immortalized his name as founder of the soviet computer building.
The next twenty five years connected to the name of Victor Glushkov, almost legendary personality of the founder and director of the Institute of Cybernetics, AS Ukr.SSR, that is carrying now his name.
Created by him for the unseen short terms -only in five years, the institute employed multi-thousand team of enthusiasts, mainly young scientists and engineers, and by its original research and outstanding practical results acquired huge respect and became a "Mecca" for cybemeticists from all over the world. For those years, in the institute and its SDB there were devices created for the intellectual sphere, control systems for the different processes and objects, automated systems for the scientific and industrial experiments, technical complexes in military etc. Descriptions of the best ones very often begun with the words "for the fist time in the USSR", at the "world class level", etc. Approximately one third of the serial computer production in the Soviet Union was developed here. On its basis in Ukraine and outside, with active help of the Institute, had appeared numerous pioneering automated, unique information, control, specialized and other systems. The Institute and its leader -Victor Glushkov, moving ahead of time, came very close to the next step - development of the information technologies.
Basic research conducted at this Institute and other organizations of the AS Ukr.SSR promoted development of the computer-building at the field organizations, including classified ones.
Thus, at the beginning of 60th of XX century developing and serial production of the computers for the technological processes and energy objects control takes place with great magnitude at Severodonetsk research-production association "Impulse", subsidiary of the USSR Ministry of automated and control machine-building. It is important to say that over 10 thousand digital control systems for industrial use in the USSR were developed with participation of "Impulse" and on technical basis created in Severodonetsk.
At the Kiev Research and Production Association "Kvant" (Quantum) and Kiev Scientific and Research Institute of Hydraulic Devices where a whole line of specialized (classified then) radio-electronic and hydro-acoustic systems were developed for the USSR Ministry of shipbuilding. They also were responsible for the creation and production of the unique family of onboard computers that provided high level of technical capacity for the navigation, exposure, targeting and operation systems for the above-water ships and submarines, including atomic navy of the USSR, also unique computer complexes for the hydro-acoustic Location of the submarines.
Developed in the years of "Cold war" by the Kharkov Scientific and Production Association "Khartron", Production Association "Kiev Radio Plant" and Dnepropetrovsk South Machine-building Plant of the Ministry of middle machine building four generations of the missile complexes that provided strategic balance between the USSR and the USA, were operated by onboard computers developed in Kharkov and manufactured in Kiev!
In 60-70th of XX century Kiev Research and Production Association "Crystal" of the Ministry of electronic industry of the USSR successfully managed development and serial production of the first in the USSR and Europe large integral schemes for calculators, other technical devices and military techniques that used digital and analog element base. Ukrainian plants manufactured almost half of the semiconductor materials of the USSR.
Kiev Production Association "Elektronmash" and Severodonetsk machine-building plant of the Ministry of machine-building, automation devices and control systems of the USSR became first enterprises that organized multi-serial productions of the control machines not only for Ukraine but for the whole Soviet Union.
Impressive achievements of the scientists -our countrymen - M.A.Kartsev, N.P.Brusentsov, I.Y.Akushsky who worked in Moscow during the postwar years, significantly added to the computer science and technology of that time. The teams led by them managed to develop unique supercomputers for the national space observation system at the perimeter of the USSR, first in a world modern ternary computer and specialized supercomputer with calculation system of residual classes, etc. It is mentioned briefly in the book too.
For the years that are described in the book, there were over 50 types of computers and their modifications, created in Ukraine -universal, specialized (including onboard), mini and micro computers, creation of which was based on advancements of the national science. Many of them were comparable to the foreign samples and were in serial production.
Ukraine was able to prepare all necessary professionals in the field of developing and exploitation of the computer technique and helped other republics of the USSR and some foreign countries in specialists training. For that purpose there were appropriate faculties and chairs created at the Kiev polytechnic institute (now National technical university of Ukraine "Kiev polytechnic institute"), T.Shevchenko Kiev university (now National Taras Shevchenko University of Kiev) and many other teaching institutions.
S.Lebedev and V.Glushkov became the academicians, the Heroes of the Socialistic Labour, the chevaliers of many orders, the Laureates of State awards. The International Computer Society, taking to the account their outstanding creative results, honored both of them with the nominative medals of the computer science and technology pioneers (post mortem).
The employees of the organizations who selflessly worked with them grew up into highly qualified specialists and were decorated with many state awards of Ukraine and the USSR - orders, medals, state prizes.
It is symbolic that book was prepared for the 50th anniversary of the V.Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics, NASU, - a flagship of the computer science and technology in our country.
The title of the book "Store eternally" is no accident. Those words written by someprophetic hand on the folder containing archival documents about act of bravery of the MESM creators, with unquestionable right relates to the collective achievements of the postwar decades' national computers creators.
Today, when the new opportunities emerging for the new step in Ukrainian computer building development, book written by Boris Malinovsky will serve as an inspiring example for the new progeny and will find a numerous readers among scientific and engineering communities, students of all levels.