In keeping with [Asianometry], in 1986 the Soviet Union had about 10,000 computer systems. On the similar time, the US had 1.three million! The us was hardly a backward nation — they’d launched Sputnik and made many advances in science and arithmetic. Why didn’t they’ve extra computer systems? The story is attention-grabbing and you’ll see it within the video under.
Apparently when information of ENIAC reached the united states, many dismissed it as fanciful propaganda. Nevertheless, there have been some who thought computing could be the long run. Sergey Lebedev in Ukraine constructed a “small” machine round 1951. Small, in fact, is relative because the machine had 6,000 tubes in it. It carried out 250,000 calculations for artillery tables in about 2 and half hours.
The success of this pc led to 2 groups being requested to construct two totally different machines. Though one of many machines was much less succesful, the higher machine wanted an element they might solely get from the opposite group which they withheld, forcing them to make use of outdated — even then — mercury delay traces for storage.
The extra subtle machine, the BESM-1, didn’t carry out properly due to this substitution and so the competitor, STRELA, was chosen. Nevertheless, it broke down regularly and was unable to deal with sure computations. Lastly, the BESM-1 was accomplished and was the quickest pc in Europe for a number of years beginning in 1955.
By 1959, the Soviets produced $59 million value of pc components in comparison with the US’s output of round $1 billion. There are various causes for the restricted provide and restricted demand that you simply’ll hear about within the video. Particularly, there was little business demand for computer systems within the Soviet Union. Practically all the pc utilization was within the navy and academia.
Ultimately, the Russians wound up shopping for and copying the IBM 360. Not all the engineers thought this was a good suggestion, nevertheless it did have the benefit of permitting for current software program to run. The US authorities tried to forbid IBM from exporting key gadgets, so ICL — a UK firm — supplied up their IBM 360-compatible system.
The Soviets have been recognized to borrow tech earlier than. Not that the west didn’t do some borrowing, too, no less than quickly.