On July 3-7 Petrozavodsk State University hosted an IFIP International Conference “Perspectives on Soviet and Russian Computing” (SoRuCom)
. The conference was organized by Russian Federal Agency of Education, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Government of Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk State University, National Foundation for Professional Training, State Research Institution of Information Technologies and Telecommunications Informika
, Council of Virtual Computer Museum (www.computer-museum.ru
The first-ever academic event of its kind, the conference drew over 170 participants from eight countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, USA, France, Canada, Cuba, Mexico), representing academic institutions, leading universities and communities in the sphere of information and telecommunication technologies. Russian Academy of Sciences was represented by scholars from Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Lebedev Institute of Precise Mechanics and Computing, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Institute of Informatics Problems, Institute of System Programming, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Institute of High Temperatures, Institute of Microprocessor Computing Systems, Karelian Institute of Applied Mathematic Research. Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences was represented by Ershov Institute of Informatics Systems, Institute of Computing Technologies, Institute of Computing Mathematics and Geodesy.
The academic school was represented by lecturers and scholars from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Bauman Moscow State Technological University, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, Saint-Petersburg State University, Novosibirsk State University, Tomsk State University, Novgorod State University, Krasnoyarsk State University, Petrozavodsk State University, Tver State University, Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology, Moscow Financial and Law Academy, Moscow State University of Equipment and Informatics, Stankin Moscow State Technological University, Moscow State Automobile Institute, Moscow State Institute of Radioengineering, Electronics and Automation, Eastern-Siberian Technological University, Samara Aero-Space University, Ufa State Air-Technical University, Tambov State Technical University, Ulyanovsk State Technical University and Astrakhan State Technical University.
The conference was also attended by representatives of Moscow Polytechnics Museum and academic newspaper Poisk.
Foreign participants represented Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, ACM and IEEE, Hostra and Rudgers Universities (USA), la Sorbonne (France), Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada), Univertsity of Information Sciences (Cuba), Puebla Autonomous University (Mexico).
Industries were represented by IBM Eastern Europe/Asia, Microsoft Russia, Cisco Systems, Research Center for Electronic Computer Machinery, Kartsev Research Institute of Computing Complexes, Research Institute Argon, Institute of Electronic Control Machines, Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, ICL-KPO VS.
The conference was opened by the Head of Legislative Assembly of Republic of Karelia Nikolay Levin.
The plenary papers covered the issues of how Soviet computing emerged, developed and evolved, the contemporary problems in this field, the approaches to teaching the information and telecommunication sciences at universities. The latter topic was also discussed at a special round table. Representatives of IBM, Microsoft and CISCO shared their vision of the future development and cooperation with universities.
Papers of Soviet computing pioneers Yaroslav Khetagurov, Zinovy Rabinovich, Nikolay Brusentsov, Tamara Alexandridi, Yury Rogachev, Alexander Tomilin, Yulia Nikolskaya, Gennady Egorov, Zoya Alexeeva provided a wide historical panorama of various aspects of development of hardware and software in the USSR during their initial stages. The participants highly appreciated the paper of Zinovy Rabinovich, a former member of the development team of the computer BESM – the first computer in the USSR and continental Europe.
The papers of Andrey Gagarin, Vitaly Shteinberg, Igor Lisovsky, Vladislav Shirikov, Boris Matyukhin, Vladimir Krivoruchenko, German Oganyan, Margarita Badrutdinova, Tomas Jimenez Lopez focused on the issues of future development of computing in various fields. Yakov Fet, Lev Malinovsky and Natalia Ruzanova presented general overviews of the computing history in the Siberia, Ukraine and Karelia, respectively. The series of papers of Alexander Tomilin, Vera Karpova, Viktor Smirnov presented the history of complexes AS-6 and BESM-6, best computers of their time in Europe. The efforts of preserving the history of computing were illustrated by the papers of Marina Smolevitskaya, Natalya Chechel, Eduard Proydakov, Yury Polyak, Viktor Kasyanov.
Contemporary problems of the computing sciences were also analyzed in the papers of Yaroslav Khetagurov, Vladislav Shirikov, Vyacheslav Klimanov, Alexander Zemliak.
The round table “Two approaches to Computer Education: East and West” (chairperson – Professor John Impagliazzo) discussed contemporary issues and approaches of professional training in information and telecommunication technologies. These problems were also touched in the paper of Yury Bogoyavlensky.
Various topics were discussed in the sessions. Papers of Alexander Marchuk, Viktor Kasyanov and Irina Krayneva represented the history of the school of academician Ershov, who had a great influence on the development of computing in the USSR, and covered different issues of the development of computing in the Siberia. Igor Agamirzyan presented a paper on the importance of Sergey Lavrov in the development of programming. Trinary dialectic approach to informatics was covered in the paper of Yulia Vladimirova.
Different aspects of teaching were discussed in the section of computer education in the papers of Olga Parakhina, Andrey Sokolov, Tatyana Tikhonova, Alexander Rogov, Azat Yarmukhametov.
The conference helped to make a general overview of computing development in Russia and the former nations of the USSR.
The conference resolution stated that the Soviet computing achieved intellectual and technological success compared to that of leading industrial nations. Many of the systems designed at that time are used until now. The resolution stresses the special importance to introduce into academic curricula a regular course on the history of computing. This course will help to form the feeling of national pride for such brilliant achievements, to preserve the unique knowledge and cultural heritage, to understand the tendencies and the future of informatics.
The abstracts and preliminary papers of the participants were published in two volumes of conference materials by the beginning of the conference. Most interesting papers will be published in a separate Springer edition.
Organizers and participants express gratitude to:
- Education Board Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ACM), International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), IEEE and IEEE Computer Society for assistance in organization of the conference and for development of international cooperation in the field of computing history;
Federal Agency of Education, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Government of Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk State University, National Foundation for Professional Training, State Research Institution of Information Technologies and Telecommunications Informika
, Virtual Computer Museum (www.computer-museum.ru
) for the support of conference preparation and work;
- Sponsor organizations Microsoft Russia, Cisco Systems, IBM East Europe/Asia, American Charity Fund for the Support of Informatization of Science and Education, CNews, CIT-Forum, Information Communication Agency, Edition “Russian Information Resources”, Begin Group Company, academic newspaper Poisk.
July 18, 2006