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  • Становление советской научно-технической политики в области вычислительной техники (конец 1940-х – середина 1950-х гг.)

Article

Становление советской научно-технической политики в области вычислительной техники (конец 1940-х – середина 1950-х гг.)

Идеи и идеалы. 2016. Т. 1. № 3. С. 118-135.
Крайнева И. А., Пивоваров Н. Ю., Шилов В. В.

This paper deals with the post-war period (late 1940s – mid 1950s) in the development of Soviet digital electronic computational tools and formation of the USSR science and technology policy in this field. The authors studied how well the Soviet scientists and managers were aware of the new aspects of this policy, detected its primary application area – the Soviet Atomic project and considered the conditions of its formation. Evidently, information about the new computational tools came to the Soviet Union from abroad. One of the sources of such information was academic and science and technical journals. Possibly, intelligence agencies played a certain role in obtaining this information. It was then that some contradictions between approaches to computer hardware appeared. On the one hand, leaders of the Atomic project realized its benefits and planned to produce and apply it, though in a limited scope. On the other hand, advocates of the development of computer hardware affiliated with the USSR Academy of Science and Ministry for Machine Building and Instrument Making were in favor of a more comprehensive approach, which implied the creation of new types of computers, increasing their capacity and extending prospective applications beyond the military-industrial complex. Participation of the two establishments in the development of computer hardware was highly competitive, with each body pursuing its own goals and lacking resources. The fact that the developments by S.A. Lebedev got ultimately higher priority testifies to the deep insight of the USSR Academy of Science into scientific and engineering problems. Ideological pressure, characteristic of the late period of Stalin’s rule with respect to some areas of science, did not have any serious implications for the development of computer hardware. The general situation with electronic computational tools confirms the fact that Soviet engineering in the period of late Stalinism was of the catch-up nature.