He was ahead of time
"I want to say again and again, and will repeat all my life that Victor Mikhaylovich Glushkov is annormally talented man, and in some fields, purely scientific, by my opinion, is a genius, who made an incredible contribution to the science, technics, community life of our country. it is impossible to overstimate this."1
The significance of scientist's work is not always recognized fully by contemporaries. Real evaluation appears much later, when the scientific results and the expressed ideas are verified by the time. The prominent contribution of Victor Glushkov (1923-1982) into mathematics, cybernetics and computer engineering was highly appreciated when he was still alive. But with the time passing by, it became evident that in the process of his creative activity he managed to stay ahead of time and oriented his Institute of Cybernetics of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR, which he founded and supervised, for the transition from computer engineering to computer science, and then - to information technologies (IT). V. Glushkov became a founder of this incredibly important field of science and technologies in Ukraine and in the former USSR. He have trained the necessary cohort of experts and created a powerful scientific school in this field.
The term "information technologies" appeared in science in the last years of XX century. Earlier the terms "informatics" or "computer engineering" were used, that defined narrower problem circle. Being high technologies, information technologies cover wide range of scientific, design, technological and industrial directions: design and construction of computers, periphery devices, elemental base, network equipment, system software, elaboration and creation of automated and automatic numeric systems of different destination and their application software. All these directions have been developed since 1960-70s in the Institute of Cybernetics of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR, created in 1962 by V. Glushkov.
Outstanding scientific achievements of Glushkov's school in the field of IT became the foundation for the further development of scientific schools in the Institute under the direction of his followers. They developed diverse directions of IT. History of main directions of digital, analog and cybernetic computer devices is reflected in this book.
Vacuum tubes Computer "Kiev" with "address programming language"
After S.Lebedev left for Moscow, his colleagues in Kiev, among whom were L. Dashevsky, E. Shkabara, S. Pogrebinsky and others, under the supervision of academician B. Gnedenko, director of the Institute of Mathematics, AS Ukr.SSR, where Lebedev's laboratory was placed, started to elaborate computer "Kiev" with electronic tubes on magnetic cores. The machine "Kiev" yielded to the characteristics of new Lebedev's computer M20, but was surely up-to-date. They used for the first time the "address programming language", which simplified the programming.
In 1956 V.Glushkov took the former laboratory of Lebedev. Under his supervision the elaboration of computer "Kiev" was successfully finished. This computer was in long use in the Computer Center of the Academy of Science of Ukraine, created on the base of the laboratory. The second machine of such kind was bought by the United Institute of Nuclear Investigations in Dubna, where it was exploited for a while. In 1962 the Computer Center was transformed into the Institute of Cybernetics, which is now called after its founder academician V. Glushkov.
At the Computer Center and later at the Institute of Cybernetics under the leadership of V. Glushkov abstract and applied automata theory intensively developed as the theoretical basis for computer design and construction. The scientific works published on probabilistic automata, automata functioning reliability, economic and anti-noise coding issues. The connection between the automata theory and formal grammar theory was established. The new methods of automata analysis and synthesis were elaborated. Thus, the theoretic basis for computer design and construction was formed. In 1964 academician V. Glushkov was awarded the Lenin prize for his achievements in the field of digital automata.
Transistor-based control computer of broad application "Dnepr"
Following computer "Kiev" first in Ukraine (and in the USSR) transistor based control computer "Dnepr" was developed at the Computer Center of the AS Ukr.SSR. The idea of its creation belongs to Victor Glushkov. Boris Malinovsky (author of this book) was the chief designer of the machine. The machine was manufactured in record short time, only in three years, and in July 1961 it was installed at the selected factories. At that time this result was the world speed record of elaboration and implementation of the control machine. Explaining the factors of success, V. Glushkov recalled: "In parallel with "Dnepr" creation we had carried out a serious preparatory work on the machine utilization to control difficult technological processes together with several Ukrainian companies. Together with the employees of the Dzerzhinsky Metallurgical plant (Dneprodzerjynsk) we investigated control process over steel smelting in Bessemer converters, together with the workers of Soda plant in Slovyansk worked on carbonization column etc. I initiated the first experiment in Europe on remote control over Bessemer process, that lasted for several days in the regime of Master consultant.
The "Dnepr" machine was used to automate ship projecting works at Nikolaev "61 Communards" plant. Later we found out that the Americans had started earlier working on universal transistor control machine RW300, which was similar to "Dnepr", but put it into production in June 1961, at the same time with us. It was that very moment when we managed to reduce to zero the gap between the level of American technology development and ours in one very important field. Besides, our computer was the first national transistor machine (if not to take into account specialized machines).
Later it was verified that the machine beautifully tolerates different climatic conditions, vibration, etc. When during the joint space mission "Soyuz - Apollo" it was necessary to equip the show-room in the Space flights operational center, after long discussions computer "Dnepr" was chosen. Two machines operated the big screen, on which the flight and docking was reproduced."
This first serial transistor control machine also broke the record of industrial longevity, as it was in production for ten years (1961-1971). In other cases serious modernization was usually needed after five-six years.
"Dnepr" machines were used in many industrial processes pioneering digital control systems, complicated physical experiments, during the new sophisticated technology testings. The machines were supplied not only to national users, but were exported to many states of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA or Comcon).
It should be mentioned, that the specialized plant construction in Ukraine was not included into the USSR seven-year plan (1958-1965). The first "Dnepr" computers were produced by the Kiev plant "Radiopribor". V. Glushkov promoted construction of the plant for computers and digital control machines assembly ("Electronmash" now) in Kiev at the same time with "Dnepr" development. Government supported this initiative. Thus, "Dnepr" creation stimulated the construction of a big computer plant. The creators of the digital control machine "Dnepr" and the control systems on its basis (B.Malinovsky - principal investigator and chief executive officer, participants M.Kotlyarevsky, G.Mykhaylov, N.Pavlov, A.Kukharchuk, Y.Mitulinsky and others) were nominated for a Lenin prize. However, work was so innovative, that its meaning were not comprehended by authorities, and the nomination was called off in the same way it was done with MESM in 1952.
In 1968 the Institute of Cybernetics in collaboration with the Kiev computers and control machines plant elaborated and produced a small series of transistor computer "Dnepr-2". It was designed to solve a wide range of problems, such as planning, economic, controlling over industrial processes and difficult physical experiments. V. Glushkov and A. Stogniy led the project; A. Kukharchuk was a principal designer. The machine consisted of a computing part "Dnepr-21" and a control complex "Dnepr-22". B.Malinovsky supervised works on "Dnepr-22". The machine "Dnepr-2" had comprehensive software that was supplied to the customer. Unfortunately, "Dnepr-2" production was soon stopped with the resolution of Ministry of Instrumentmaking of the USSR.
In 1959 a new department of mathematical modeling was created in the AS Ukr.SSR Computing Center. Its chief was a talented 43-years-old scientist, professor Georgiy Pukhov. Earlier (since 1957) he served as chairman for the department of theoretical and general electrical engineering at the Institute of Civil Aviation in Kiev. He retained this post as adjunct chairman. G.Pukhov managed to attract the best students and former employees to the department. He developed broad and profound research in the field of analog and quasi-analogue technology at the Computing Center, and then - at the Institute of Cybernetics, established the scientific school. After just a year the department elaborated its first specialized machine EMSS-7 for different building constructions calculations (E.Proskurin and others), and then - a machine EMSS-7M (V. Vasiliev and others), later - EMSS-8 Alfa (A. Stepanov and others). Later the following machines were built: "Iterator" to solve systems of linear differential equations with linear boundary data (G.Grezdov and others), "Arkus" to solve linear and nonlinear differential equations with linear and nonlinear boundary data (G.Grezdov); "Omtimum-2" to solve transportation problem of linear programming (V.Vasiliev); "Asor-1" to solve the problems of net planning (V.Vasiliev and others); USM-1 to solve differential equations in partial derivatives of elliptic and parabolic types (G.Pukhov and others).
All the machines, elaborated at the Pukhov's department, were manufactured in small lots by the Ukrainian plants.
In 1961 G.Pukhov was elected a Corresponding Member of the AS Ukr.SSR. In 1966 he was appointed the first deputy director of the Institute if Cybernetics, AS Ukr.SSR. At that time V.Glushkov initiated the process of merger of the numerous Institute departments into four sections: theoretical and economic cybernetics; cybernetic technologies; technical cybernetics; medical and biological cybernetics; and also Computing Center. The sections were independent and headed by prominent scientists A.Bakaev, G.Pukhov, A.Kukhtenko and N.Amosov. V.Glushkov did not interfere much with the work of sections and could spend most of time to solve very important tasks on governmental affairs, on the state cooperation with the institute, its relevance to the government decisions. It ensured the further development of the material, scientific, technical and cadre basis of the institute, and also his own department of digital automation.
G.Pukhov was entrusted to lead the section of cybernetic technology of the institute. He appointed B.Malinovsky his deputy in charge of coordination of the following technical departments: department of operational machines (B.Malinovsky); department of computer arithmetic and storage devices (G.Mikhaylov); department of computer theory (Z.Rabinovich); department of physical and technological computer foundations (A.Kondalev); department of information transfer (A.Luchuk); department of theory and development of electromagnetic devices (O. Tozoni); department of medical computer devices (L.Aleev).
There was an unpublicized (however a positive!) competition between the "digital" and "analog" scientists. The peak of success of Pukhov's section took place in 1960s. The personal contribution of G.Pukhov was enormous. But the speedy development of digital engineering brought to the end research in the field of analog and quasi-analog technology. In 1971 G. Pukhov moved his section from the Institute of Cybernetics to the Institute of Electrodynamics, AS Ukr.SSR. Later he created the Institute of Modeling Problems in Energetic, AS Ukr.SSR.
In 1971 after G.Pukhov's departure to another institute, B.Malinovsky became the head of the cybernetic technology section (on a voluntary basis), maintaining supervisory position in the control machines department.
Predecessors of personal computers
In 1959 V.Glushkov decided to create the machine for engineering calculations. Such machine called "Promin" was elaborated in the Institute of Cybernetics and its SDB. In 1963 its serial production was started at the Severodonetsk computer plant. The computer "Promin" was a breakthrough in the world practice. It included many technical innovations, particularly memory on metallic cards. But the main thing was that it was the first machine with a so-called piggyback firmware control (later V.Glushkov received an author's certificate for it).
Some time later firmware control was used in the machine for engineering calculations MIR-1, which was created after the "Promin" computer (1965). In 1967 MIR-1 was exhibited in London where it was bought by the American company IBM - the largest in the USA supplier of about 80% of all computer technique for the capitalist world. It was the first and unfortunately the last time when the American company bought a Soviet computer.
MIR-1 creators were awarded with the USSR State prize (V.Glushkov, Y.Blagoveshensky, A.Letichevsky, V.Losev, I.Molchanov, S.Pogrebinsky, and A.Stogniy). In 1969 improved computer MIR-2, then - MIR-3 were manufactured. These machines had no competitors for the speed of analytic conversion. For example, MIR-2 successfully competed with universal computers of ordinary structure that rated many times higher in speed and memory capacity. Namely, on this machine for the first time in the history of national machine-building, they realized the dialog mode of work, where they used display with light pen. Each of these machines was a step forward creation of an intellectual machine, along a strategic direction in computer development proposed by V. Glushkov.
At that time it was considered that machine language should be as simple as possible, and the rest would be done by programs. "Address language" for the "Kiev" computer designed by V.Korolyuk and E.Yushchenko was of such kind.
Designing machines MIR, V.Glushkov set another aim - create machine language similar to the human one (meaning the mathematic, not the spoken language). Such language "Analitic" was created by O.Letichevsky and supported by the original internal system of interpretation. MIR machines were used in all parts of the USSR.
The term "cybernetic technique" proposed by B.Malinovsky was established in 1978. In the "Encyclopedia of Cybernetics" (1976, editor - V.Glushkov) this term is not mentioned. Unlike the computational techniques, cybernetic technique became an important direction of science, connected with the task of facilities creation for control, measuring, automatic and automated systems and devices with a use of computers. Its predecessor - technical cybernetics, was aimed to elaborate the theory of control systems, first of all the scientific basis for automatic control, but not to create technical facilities to make them.
Creation and numerous usage of the machine "Dnepr" positively influenced the emerging of cybernetic technique. Later on, the Section of Cybernetic Techniques began to elaborate not only the control computers and specialized computing devices, but also information transmission media, communication facilities for the control systems operators, and the issues of their usage to control different processes, automation of difficult experiments and measuring devices.
The appearance of cybernetic technique was fairly caused by increasing demand for the automated facilities, by aspiration for having the effective, cheap, reliable, easy-touse technical devices to construct the automatic and automated systems in different fields of economy, science and technology, in the military service, in the instrument-making industry. These devices would solve the problems different from ones, which are usually solved by ordinary computers in the computing centers or with the help of personal or other calculators. The foundation of cybernetic technique, which first came out from the computing techniques, was also automation, telemechanics, automatic control, measuring technique. On their basis cybernetic technique acquired independence.
A growing demand for various calculations in science and technology became the driving force in computing technique development. The improvement of computing technique devices developed into two directions: creation of the powerful universal computers, computers for technical and engineering calculations, terminal computers for the shared computation systems; and also into development of computer technique for personal use by engineers, students, schoolchildren, administrators etc. The main requirements to the computing technique devices were highest productivity, usability, comfortable service for both collective and individual users, simplicity in communication between human and machine. As we know, computing technique is created to provide a powerful calculation and intellectual activity automation means to the people.
The driving force for cybernetic technique development was the intention to automate different technological and measuring processes, day-to-day industrial management, control over energy, transport and other objects, including ones in the field of armament and space exploration (recognition processes) with the aim to eliminate human from the control and management over these processes. For such purpose calculation is only a part of the whole complex of information processes, which are to be automated. In such a view the computers are not a unique means for their construction, though they play a role of a central intellectual part of the systems. Besides, for these purposes there should be means of automatic information exchange between the computer and other objects, distant information transmission (both digital and analog), report on processes to the operator's display, operator's interference with the processes, etc. Thus, the composition of cybernetic facilities was much broader than ones of computing techniques. In some applications, for instance, in the facilities for communications with object, the part of computing technique devices was minimal compared with the great range of other equipment.
Besides, there appeared special demands for the computing devices, which are to be included into the cybernetic technique. The high speed of calculation operations was no longer the main criteria of their qualities in some cases. If it was hallmarked, it was usually compiled with other demands for processor efficiency, cost, size of device, reliability, etc. There were special demands for organization of the computing process. Among them: information processing in a real time scale, cyclic repetition of the same programs but with different initial conditions, selection of computing devices toward definite classes of calculations, etc. The opportunity to apply extreme speed of calculations for definite groups of applications. It is often needed to disperse the computing devices in the cybernetic systems, according to the process specificity, which should be automated. That also brings necessity to build the parted hierarchic, homogenous, circular and other computing structures. In addition to algorithmic universality (in fixed limits, caused by the application classes), there should be system universality on behalf of computing devices that were part of cybernetic technique (within the limits of planned applications), which brought peculiarities into the principles of its construction (modularity, interfaces to link with object communication devices, etc.)
Mathematical foundation of the cybernetic technique also has its own peculiarities (standard programs and languages oriented on application fields, hardware programs, programs preparation on universal computers, circuit programs implementation, truncated operating system, etc.) A significant contribution into the research was made by the technical departments of the Computing Center of the AS Ukr.SSR and by the Section of Cybernetic Techniques of the Institute of Cybernetics, AS Ukr.SSR, whose staff increased to 500 scientists, engineers, laboratory assistants and technicians in 20 years (1962-1982).
Following profound works can serve as an examples: creation and wide use of several hundreds of "Dnepr" machines at the industrial enterprises and many research organizations of the Soviet Union; development and production of the first Soviet family of universal microcomputers "Electronica S5" (together with scientific production association "Svetlana", St-Petersburg, Russia); development (in collaboration with Kiev S.Korolev Production association) and wide usage of control machines SOU-1 and SOU-2, of microprocessor-based complex facilities, including a professionally oriented PC "Neuron", modular set of microprocessorbased tuning devices SO-01 - SO-04 for the benefit of the whole communication facilities industry of the USSR; elaboration of the professionally-oriented PC ES-1841 (together with the research institute of Radioprom of the USSR), creation of signal digital processing, devices super productive facilities for pattern recognition, digital specialized devices for control over high-speed physical processes, video-computer terminals, systems of engineering works automation, knowledgeoriented intellectual systems, powerful clustered computing complexes, systems of scientific experiments automation for the organizations of the Academy of Science Ukr.SSR, unique control systems of different applications, including military, etc.
Great collective efforts of the Section of the cybernetic technique staff furthered the formation and successful work of the scientific school in this incredibly important field of knowledge.
Significant contribution into creation of the cybernetic technique was made by following colleagues who became over the years a famous scientists decorated with medals and prizes: B.Malinovsky, Z.Rabinovich, G.Mikhaylov, V.Derkach, A.Kondalev, A.Luchuk, A.Palagin, I.Voytovich, V.Boyun, V.Egipko, Y.Yakovlev, Y.Ivaskiv, E.Bryukhovich, S.Zabara, V.Koval, V.Gladun, S.Pogorely, V.Gamayun, A.Bekh, V.Romanov, A.Timashov, M.Semotyuk, T.Slobodyanyuk, N.Alishov, F.Zykov, L.Malinovsky, V.Solovyov, L.Korytna and others.
Computers of the III and IV generations
In the end of 1960s the elaboration of the computer "Ukraine" was started in the institute under the scientific supervison of V.Glushkov. Z.Rabinovich was appointed as chief designer; his deputies were A.Stogniy and I.Molchanov. It was a next step in highly productive universal computers development, as these machines should use internal language of high level. The elaboration of the "Ukraine" machine became an important landmark in the development of Glushkov's scientific school. The ideas proposed in the project took the lead over numerous innovations used in the American universal computers of the 1970s. Unfortunately, the machine was not built.
In 1974 at the IFIP congress V.Glushkov presented report on fractal computer with new principles of computer system organization (co-authors V.Myasnikov, I.Ignatiev, V.Torgashev). He expressed an idea that only the elaboration of fundamentally new up-to-date architecture for the computer systems, not similar to Neumann's one, would help to build supercomputers with unlimited potential for productivity increase and hardware improvements. The further research demonstrated that complete and straight-out realization of the fractal computers construction principles and brain-like structures was premature due to electronic technology level of that time. "It was necessary to find the compromise solutions, which would mean the transition to the brain-like structures of the future and a clever departure from the principles of John von Neumann" (abstract from Glushkov's report at the 1979conference in Novosibirsk). Such solutions were found by the genius scientist and tested as a basis for original structure of a highly productive computer, which he called macro-conveyor.
Unfortunately, V.Glushkov was not destined to see the macro-conveyor computers ES-1766 and ES-2701 created on his ideas that, in the opinion of the State commission, had no analogues in the world. In the beginning of 1980 these were the most powerful computer systems in the USSR.
Penza plant of computing machines (Russia) was selected for serial manufacturing of ES-1766 and ES-2701. Unfortunately, these machines so needed by the science and technology and that could compete with the best American ones, were produced only in a small lot.
During the 1960s-1970s Institute of Cybernetics, AS Ukr.SSR, directed by V.Glushkov elaborated and implemented to the industry a whole set of mini-computers, specialized computers and programmed keyboard computers. Among them: "Neva" for the digital telephone stations, family of "Iskra125" computers, specialized computers "Mriya", "Chayka", "Moscow". "Scorpio", "Romb", "Orion", computers for spectral analysis, etc (A. Kukharchuk, G. Kornienko, B. Mudla, S. Zabara).
In the beginning of 1980s a unique family of on-board specialized computers was created. They were used to control and operate spacecrafts without preliminary trajectory calculation. These machines were MIG-1, MIG-11, MIG-12 and MIG-13. Their creators G.Golodnyak and V. Petrunek received the USSR State award together with others.
A complex of specialized computers "Express", "Ekspan", "Pirs", "Cross-1", "Cross-2", "Course", "Bark", etc., for premooring and preflight tests of water planes, sea crafts, winged ships, for complex extreme nautical tests of the Navy ships, for control and diagnostics of aircrafts was elaborated. In 1987 the authors B.Mudla, V.Dianov, M.Dianov, V.Berdnikov, A.Kanivets and O.Shalebko received the Ukr.SSR State Award for the elaboration of scientific theory and creation of the complex of devices for multi-channel information processing during the new comprehensive technical objects testing.
Here should be specifically mentioned unique specialized complex "Delta" for telemetric information collecting/processing and control over aerospace experiments (authors - V.Dianov, M.Dianov, A.Kanivets, I.Kutnyak and others). This complex was created for the system of Galley comet images receiving and processing in the "Vega" international project. After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophe it was also used in the urgently created situation center. It made possible to forecast with high accuracy the process of radioactive nuclides contamination of the Dnipro basin and to assume appropriate measures on time.
During the 1960s - 1970s in the Institute of Cybernetics and its SDB over 30 original computers of different applications, which had no foreign analogues, were created and implemented for industrial production. In 1980s the N.Amosov laboratory developed first in the USSR neural computer and a family of self-operating computer robots (N.Amosov, E.Kussul, A.Kasatkin, L.Kasatkina).
It is impossible to elaborate modern computers without automated systems for research and development. Using Glushkov's theoretical works Institute of Cybernetics unfolded the wide range of research and created several unique "Project" systems ("Project-1", "Project - ES", "Project-MIM", "Project - MVK") for the automated design of computers with appropriate software. At first they were implemented on the "Kiev" computer, then - on M-20, M-220 and BESM-6 (with the total capacity of 2 million machine commands). Then they were converted to the United computer systems. "Project-1", carried out on M-220 and BESM-6, represented a parted specialized program-technical complex with its own operating systems and specialized programming system. It used for the first time in the world automated algorithmic design phase with possibility for optimization (V.Glushkov, O.Letichevsky, Y.Kapitonova). In the framework of these systems it became possible to elaborate a new technology for the complicated programs design (method of formalized technical tasks by O.Letichevsky and Y.Kapitonova). "Project" systems were created as experimental ones, they were used to test real design methods and protocols for hardware and software computer components. With time these methods became conventional in dozens of organizations, which worked on elaboration of the computer techniques. The Ministry of Radio Industry of the USSR was a major customer. Developed systems served as prototype for the real technological documentation discharge lines for computer chips production in many organizations of the former USSR.
"Project-1" system is closely connected with the system of design automation and production of Big Integral Scheems (BIS) with a help of lithographi technology. In the department headed by V.Derkach (one of the first graduate students of V.Glushkov) computers "Kiev-67" and "Kiev-70" were created. They were used to operate electronic beam during its work on the production of BIS that led to the record parameters in the microelectronics scheems. The design automation systems "Project" had the communication interface with "Kiev-67" and "Kiev-70" machines, which made possible to implement complicated electronic beam control programs during the overlay and graphical processing of the linings.
The works of V.Glushkov, V.Derkach and Y.Kapitonova on the computer design automation were distinguished by the USSR State award in 1977.
The major life project
The story about the following events is the recollection of V.Glushkov himself (in a condensed version). It was tape-recorded by the scientist's daughter Olga in January 1982. Those were the last days of Victor Glushkov. He had remained unconscious for one and a half week. His life was maintained only by artificial respiration. Even his relatives were not allowed to come into the emergency room. Doctors decided it was the end, although they could not establish the reason for his illness and only stated the sharp decline of living functions. But on the eleventh day a miracle happened: the eyes of the patient were moving, gradually breathing restored, pulmonary edema faded, and other organs began working.
Glushkov's wife Valentina insisted on consulting a famous European professor Zulch from Cologne. He got to know the symptoms, contacted the medical information databases of the USA, England end other countries. It was ascertained that a similar case was recorded in Singapore. The problem was narrowed down to the medulla tumor. This organ controls the activity of main body organs. Professor said that the illness of Victor Glushkov went too far and it was impossible to save him.
Valentina Glushkova saying:
"My husband wasn't told about the diagnosis. But he figured out everything and understood that he was doomed. In one of our last talks he recalled our evening walks in youth, when he presented me the distant constellations and reassured me:
- Calm down! One day the light from our Earth will pass these constellations. And on each constellation we will appear young again. Thus, we will be together forever in the eternity! He passed away at 58. It was very bright, interesting and difficult life."
Many of you may remember the movie "Nine Days of One Year". In that movie a doomed scientist-physicist finds courage to continue his research during the last days of his life, understanding that he still can obtain a unique scientific results. The last nine conscious days of Victor Glushkov, when he dictated his "Confession" to his daughter Olga, were also the days of feat, real, not cinematographic. He said to his daughter that the last days he would like to spend for reason.
Before his departure he left the part of himself to his family and to us- his voice, his last appeal to his numerous colleagues from the Institute of Cybernetics that was his "beloved child", his hope.
With the permission of Valentina Glushkova author publishes the conclusion of scientist's confession - about the "life's major work" (Glushkov's words), his endured attempt to elaborate the foundation for the OGAS (National Automated System of Economics Control). Implementation of such system, in his opinion, could save declining economy of the USSR. So:
"The task to create the national automated system of economics control (OGAS) was set by the first deputy Head of the Council of Ministers (A.Kosygin at that time) in November 1962. I was brought to him by M.Keldysh, the President of the Academy of Science of the USSR, with whom I shared my ideas on this issue.
When I briefly informed A.Kosygin on our plans, he approved our intentions. Shortly after the meeting, Council of Ministers of the USSR issued a decree about the creation of a special commission under my supervision to prepare materials for the government. The commission included scientists-economists, namely academician M.Fedorenko, Head of the Central Statistical Board (CSB) V.Starovskyi, the first deputy Minister of Communications A.Sergiychuk and other members of governing bodies.
I organized in our institute a group, worked out the program to acquaint it with the task set by Kosygin. I spent a week in the CSB, USSR, where I studied its work in details. I looked through every step from the regional station to the CSB, USSR.
During the 1963 I visited about 100 establishments, enterprises and organizations of different profile: from plants and mines to the state farms. Then I continued this work and in ten years the number of such places reached a thousand. That is why I may know the national economic structure better than anyone else: from bottom up I know the peculiarities of the existing control system, the difficulties which occur and the most important issues.
I quickly understood what was needed from the technical point. Long before finishing evaluation works, I proposed the idea of a network of computer centers with distant access instead of the separate state centers. I gave the collective-access term modern technical meaning.
We (V.Glushkov, V.Mikhalevych, A.Nikitin and others - author) elaborated the first draft of the Unified State Computer Centers Network, which included about 100 centers in the big industrial cities and in economic centers of the regions, unified by broadband links. These centers are distributed through the territory of the state and are conjoint with other centers, which process the economic information, according to the system configuration. We identified about 20 thousand of such centers. Among them big enterprises, ministries, and also regional centers that provide service for small business. The characteristic quality of the network was a distributed database with zero-address access from any point of the system to all the information after automatic verification of the qualified user. The range of issues connected with information protection was elaborated. Besides, in this two-level system the main computing centers were able to communicate not by common channel commutation and message commutation, as it is done today by page separation. I proposed to connect these 100 or 200 centers with the broadband channel passing over channelforming gear so that it would be possible to rewrite the information from the magnetic tape in Vladivostok to the tape in Moscow without loosing speed. All the protocols would be significantly simplified and the network would gain new qualities. It is not implemented anywhere in the world yet. Our project was classified until 1977.
Besides the network structure, I immediately realized the necessity to elaborate the system of mathematic models to control the economics for the purpose of seeing the regular data flow.
...Unfortunately, after commission studied the project, only slim part was retained, entire economic part was eliminated, only the network itself was left. The excluded materials were destroyed and burnt, as they were classified. We were not allowed to have a copy at the institute. That's why to our regret we can't reproduce it.
The Head of CSB V.Starovskyi harshly objected to the entire project.
...In June 1964 we introduced our project to the Government. In November 1964 at the meeting of the Presidium of Council of Ministers I reported on the project. Naturally, I mentioned the objection by the CSB. The resolution was to entrust CSB with final corrections of the project and attract the Ministry of Radio Industry for this purpose.
For two years CSB was working on it. They started it "bottom-up": they thought not of what was needed for the state, but what recourses were available. The regional departments of CSB in Archangelsk and Karakalpak oblasts were commissioned to do data flow study. They examined how many documents, numbers and letters arrive to the regional statistics departments from enterprises, organizations, etc.
According to the CSB, during the information processing on the calculatinganalytic machines, every letter or number accounts for 50 sorting or arithmetic operations. The project authors respectfully wrote that if the electronic machines were used, there would be ten times more operations. Only God knows why they thought so. Then they multiplied the number of all papers by 500 and got the productivity of the computer, which should to be installed, for instance, in Archangelsk and Nukus (the Karakalpak autonomous SSR). They received absurd numbers: the computation speed had to be about 2 thousand operations per second or like that, that's all. And such project was introduced to the Government.
...Starting from 1964 (from the time when my project was announced) I had received an open protest from economists Liberman, Belkin, Birman and others. Many of them left later for the USA and Israel. Kosygin, being a very practical person, became interested in potential cost of our project. According to the preliminary calculation, its implementation would take about 20 billion rubles. The basic part of works could be done in three five-year plans, but only if program provided with the same organizational conditions as atomic or space ones. I admitted to Kosygin that it was more complicated than space and atomic programs together. It was also more difficult to organize it, because it dealt with everything and everybody: industry, market, planning organs, governing sphere etc. Although, the approximate cost of the project was 20 billions, working scheme foresaw the reimbursement of the first 5 billions by the end of the first five-year plan as we anticipated the self-repayment of the program costs. In 15 years the program would bring to the budget more than 100 billion rubles, and this amount is even understated.
But our notorious economists muddled Kosygin. They said that economic reform would cost nothing at all, which meant that it would cost only the cost of paper on which resolution of the Council of Ministers would be published and as a result will bring more profit. That's why we were put aside and even were treated with circumspection. And Kosygin was dissatisfied. I was called by Shelest and asked to stop propaganda of OGAS and to deal with systems of local level.
Then we started to work on "Lviv System". Dmitriy Ustinov invited the heads of defense ministries and ordered to do everything that Glushkov would tell. It was planned from the very beginning that the systems would be done for all spheres at once, so some rudiment of national system was conceived.
The Institute of Cybernetics of the Ukrainian Academy of Science switched at first to "Lviv System", and then to "Kuntz System" - devoted ourselves to the "bottoms".
...We foresaw the creation of the State Committee on Control Improvement (SCCI) and the scientific center on its basis consisting of 10-15 institutes. Almost all institutes existed at that time and it was needed to create only one new, the main one, the rest could be taken from the field branches or from the Academy of Science, or partially reorganize them. Somebody from Politburo shell be in charge of all that deal.
Everything was going smoothly, everyone agreed. At the time the instructions draft of the XXVI congress was already published. It included all our wordings, prepared at the commission. Politburo reviewed our issue twice. The matter was examined at one meeting and it was agreed upon that OGAS should be established. But the path of its implementation - through SCCI or otherwise - remained unclear. I managed to press on all members of the commission, and all of them but Garbuzov (the minister of finance - author) signed up our proposals. Anyway, we submitted them to Politburo.
...The question was examined at the meeting without Secretary General (Brezhnev left for Baku to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan) and Kosygin (he attended funeral of A.Nasser in Egypt). Suslov conducted the meeting. Kirilin was the first to speak, then me. I spoke briefly, but got a lot of questions. Answered all. Then Kosygin's deputies were invited, Baybakov made a speech. He said: "Smirnov supported, and actually all the deputies of the Head had supported the proposals. I heard that comrade Garbuzov has some objections. If they deal with the staff expansion, I think that issue is so important that, if Politburo consider its only difficulty, please put me in charge as the State Plan Head and I will propose to eliminate three ministers (to cut them down or to merge) and we will find staff for this work."
K.B.Rudnev (minister of instrument-making, automation facilities and control systems- author) chipped away. Although he signed up our document, he spoke and said that it might be untimely- or something like that.
...A counter-offer, which decreased everything in order of magnitude, was proposed. Instead of SCCI - Main Office on computing technique at DKNT, instead of scientific center - one of the institute, etc. But the task remained the same, though more technical, thus changing towards the State network of Computer Centers. Everything related to economics and elaboration of mathematical models for OGAS, etc. - was wiped off.
At last Suslov said: "Comrades, it could be a mistake not to adopt the project fully, but it is such revolutionary improvement, that its implementation would be difficult. Let do it that way and will see later how to proceed"- and asks me, not Kirilin: "What do you think?" And I said: "Mikhail Andreevich, I only can say that if we don't do it now, then in the second half of the 1970s the Soviet economics would face such difficulties that it would be necessary to turn back to this question again." But my opinion wasn't taken into account and the counter-offer was accepted.
...Besides, I forgot to say what else had contributed to the negative decision on our proposal. The matter is that Garbuzov told Kosygin that SCCI would become an organization, which would help the Central Committee of the CPSU to control over Kosygin's and Council of Minister's work on economics and thus set Kosygin against us, and as he objected, our proposal on SCCI naturally couldn't be accepted. But I got to know it only in two years.
Then the campaign began on re-orientation of the main efforts and means towards the control over technological processes. This hit was planned very precisely, as both A.Kirilenko and L.Brezhnev were technologists by training, and it was close and comprehendible to them.
In 1972 the All-Union conference organized by A.Kirilenko took place and that promoted emphasis towards the control over technological processes with a purpose to slow down works on ASU but to give green light to the ASU TP.
In my opinion, the reports sent to Central Committee of the CPSU were part of disinformation campaign skillfully organized by the American secret service, which was directed against the improvement of our economics. They foresaw that such kind of diversion would be the easiest, cheapest and the most reliable means to win the economic competition. I managed to do something to overcome it. I asked our scientific advisor in Washington to prepare report on how popularity of the machines "decreased" in reality in the USA. The former ambassador Dobrynin sent it to Central Committee of the CPSU. Such reports, especially the one by the ambassador of the leading country, were sent to all members of Politburo and they read them. The intention was correct, and it softened the blow. So, ASU subject wasn't eliminated completely.
During the preparation for the XXV congress of the CPSU they tried to extract the word OGAS from the draft. I sent a note to the Central Committee, when the draft of the "Main Directions" had been already published. I proposed to create control systems for the economic branches and later to unite them in OGAS. The idea was accepted.
The situations repeated itself before the XXVI congress. But we prepared better: we passed the materials to the commission that worked on Brezhnev speech (main report). I became of interest to almost all members of the commission. The key man who prepared speech - Tsukanov - visited Danylchenko's institute, and promised to push our proposals through. At first they wanted to include them into Brezhnev's speech on October (1980) plenary session of the CPSU Central Committee, then they tried to add them to the main report, but it was too long, many things were sacrificed. But finally, the main report included more about computers then it was planned originally.
I was offered to start campaign for the creation of OGAS in the "Pravda" newspaper. The editor of the newspaper - a former manager - supported me. My article was given a title "The Matter of the Whole Country" (in the real "Pravda" publication the article had title "For the Whole State" - author), and it was not an accident. The "Pravda" was an agency of the CPSU Central Committee, which means that the article was discussed and approved over there."
1From Boris Paton's interview for a television movie about V.G.Glushkov. "New studio", a documentary serial "Secrets of Ukraine". Kiev, 2007