Boris N. Malinovsky’s Pioneers of Soviet Computing is the English language version of his earlier Russian language The History of Computing in Personalities (in Russian:История Вычислительной Техники в Лицах). Partly technical history and partly a memoir, it is the only existing first person account of the birth of modern computing in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. It chronicles the life and work of renowned Soviet computer scientists S.A. Lebedev, V.M. Glushkov, N.P. Brusentsov, I.S. Brook, and many others. It describes numerous indigenous and original Soviet computer hardware projects from the end of the Second World War through the decades that followed, interlaced with commentary on the Soviet political and social systems that constrained rapid and free technological advancement. In addition, this work reviews the various Russian and Ukrainian computing schools ranging from the highly philosophical cybernetics and artificial intelligence to the applied defense computing institutions supporting the military and weapons enterprises. The epic effort to mass produce the Unified System (ES) series of computers – based on the IBM 360 design – is described in depth, along with the political and bureaucratic intrigue and personal and technological struggles that accompanied.
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