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Sergey A. Lebedev - The founder of the first in the continental Europe and in the Soviet Union Digital Electronic Computer (MESM)

Before the creation of a breadboard model of the electronic calculating machines (ÌESÌ) in Kiev in the autumn of 1950, Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev had already been a well - known scientist, academician, the Winner of the Stalin premium. His scientific activity began in his student's years in N.E.Bauman’s Institute, where scientists, famous all over the world, gave their lectures. In the degree project, which was executed under the direction of an outstanding scientist, the founder of All-Union Electrotechnical Lenin’s Institute, K.A.Krug, Sergey Alekseevich developed a problem of stability of power stations parallel work, which was absolutely new at that time.


 In April 1928 S.A.Lebedev received the diploma of the electrical engineer and became a teacher in Bauman’s Institute. In the same year he was employed as a younger scientific researcher of Electrical-calculating Institute, where he soon headed the group, and then the laboratory of electric networks.

                    In 1931 the construction of the thirty regional power stations according to the state plan, which had established the creation of an integrated power grid in the European part of the USSR and its further connection with the power supply systems of Siberia and others, was finished.

                    In April 1931 at All-Union conference devoted to the electricity transmission of greater capacities on a long distance by currents of ultrahigh pressure S.A.Lebedev was among the main lecturers. He presented his report “ Stability of parallel work of large power plants “, which was published in the " Electricity " magazine. It is necessary to note, that value of a problem of the stability of energy transferred on big distances is very great. It is possible to say, that stability of systems is the main factor, which limits the range of energy transfer by an alternating current.


                     In other publications of this period Sergey Alekseevich stated the theory of static and dynamic stability of multimachine power supply systems at greater indignation and transients, and also techniques of engineering calculations of stability and ways of its increasing. It is especially necessary to note an important article, written together with A.I.Kolpakova. “ Undergrowth of power plants and creation of the united high-voltage network”, which entered the collective multivolume work “ The General plan of electrification of the USSR”.

In the monography “Stability of parallel work of electric systems “, written in the cooperation with P.S.Zhdanov, the theory, methods of calculation and ways of power supply system stability increasing were stated. At that time there was no work in the world of scientific literature where the stability of power supply systems would be completely observed. In the second edition, in the monograph, a greater attention was paid to a technique of calculations of dynamic stability and some chapters, which were devoted to the complex theory of transients in synchronous machines, were considerably expanded. During many years this book was widely used in the research, design, industrial organizations, and also as the manual for high schools. 

On October 23rd, 1935 (report 34/100) citizen Lebedev Sergey Alekseevich was approved by the decision of the Maximum Certifying commission in an academic status of the professor at the faculty of “ Power plants and networks “.

              Professor S.Lebedev continued to teach in the Institute and was engaged in researches, which had a rather powerful industrial base, allowing to quickly introduce the results of the researches into practice. With his participance and his control some models of an original design and with the high level of automatic calculations were developed, made and put into operation at a factory "Electricity Project" (Moscow) and in a power supply system "Uralenergo" (Sverdlovsk). These models were described in S.A.Lebedev's article “Model of networks of an alternating current of system VEI”. This direction of modeling was widely developed in the USSR and abroad up to the development of digital electronic computers.

                   S.A.Lebedev's basic research on a substantiation of an opportunity of artificial stability of electricity transmissions and power supply systems on the basis of new electronic automatic regulators of pressure represented special scientific and practical interest.

This work had all basic theses for his doctor's degree research work, which he proved in 1939.

                Working with models of electric system of an alternating current and electronic regulators of a pressure, Sergey Alekseevich often devoted his attention to studying of opportunities of lamp schemes with two steady conditions. In 1939 he offered a young employee of laboratory of magnetic defectoscopy, who was trying to solve the problem of detection of defects in welded seams of railway rails, to use the counter of impulses on the electronic scheme with two steady conditions. This young employee Anatoly Vladimirovich Netushil successfully coped with a problem and proved his master's research work, devoted to the topic “The Analysis of trigger elements of high-speed counters of impulses”, the opponent of which was S.A.Lebedev.



 Increased interest in electronic triggers and binary notation is confirmed by the memoirs of Sergey Alekseevich’s wife, A.G.Lebedeva, as during the first days of war in the evenings when Moscow plunged into darkness, Sergey Alekseevich went to the bathroom and there using the light of a gas torch wrote some units and zeroes, which were not clear to her. In the future, electronic triggers and a binary notation became a basis of computer facilities.

                     If the war had not begun, Sergey Alekseevich would have started working under the creation of the digital electronic computer with use of a binary notation much earlier. War changed an orientation of scientific and research activity of Sergey Alekseevich and he was solving different problems, connected with the country’s defense, since the end of 1941.

                     In October 1941 together with his Institute, Sergey Alekseevich was evacuated to Sverdlovsk. There he developed the system of stabilization of the tank instrument, which allowed to direct and shoot without a stop of the tank that made the tank less vulnerable in surprisingly short terms.

                     The second large work in Sverdlovsk was the creation of the flying device (torpedo) with a selfpointing head (together with the doctor of technical sciences, D.V.Svecharnik). The purge of torpedo models was held in Zukovsk in 1944 when research Institute returned to Moscow. Natural tests of a torpedo took place in 1945-1946 on the Black sea. In October 1946 in Evpatoria the torpedo hit the barge very directly. The estimations of the commission were the highest. Creation of the ultraprecise weapon, which appeared in the USA much later, started with this experiment.

                     For systems of stabilization of a tank gun and the automatic device of pointing on the target of aviation torpedo the defensive industry developed and made the analogcomputing elements. With their help, Sergey Alekseevich in 1945 created the electronic analog computer, the first in Soviet Union, to solve the systems of the ordinary differential equations which often occur in tasks, connected with power.

                   From the beginning of 40th years life put especially challenging tasks on the ways of brainwork automation. These problems were mainly connected with the field of regulation and management of processes. Requirements of the defensive industry increased rapidly, as well as of the whole national economy. The volume and complexity of mathematical and logic problems also increased and it was necessary to solve them as quickly as possible.

The new approaches, new ideas were necessary. They seized S.A.Lebedevym from the beginnings 40, but were realized much later.


                In 1945 the president of the Academy of sciences in the Ukraine academician A.A.Bogomolets suggested S.A.Lebedevu to become an academicians and to get the post of director of Electro-technical Institute of Ukraine, under the condition of moving to Kiev.

It seems that Sergey Alekseevich's nominee was offered to academician A.A.Bogomolech by L.V.Tsukernik, who was rather close to him and who knew S.A.Lebedev's scientific works really well, as they worked together in the Institute. At that time L.V.Tsukernik was the director of Institute of power in the Ukraine. (Later he gave to S.A.Lebedev his publications in the field of stability of power supply systems, accompanying them with , for example, such inscriptions: “To my remarkable teacher and inspirer, dear Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev – to remember. L.Tsukernik ”).

              In September 1945 the Academy of sciences of the Ukraine chose S.A.Lebedev to be an academician. In 1946 the family of Lebedev moved to Kiev. Sergey Alekseevich became the director of Electro-technical Institute, the second half of Institute began to be refered to as Institute of power system. Sergey Alekseevich added laboratory of modeling and regulation to the already existing laboratories of electromechanical structure, and continuing together with L.V.Tsukernik's laboratory his work on research in the field of means of stabilization of power supply systems and devices of automatics.

For the development and introduction of the device of compounding generators of power stations to increase the stability of power supply systems and to improve of work of electroinstallations the Stalin premium was awarded to S.A. Lebedev and L.V. Tsukernik in 1950

What became a push to the beginning of practical steps on expansion of works in absolutely new direction of a science and techniques? Most likely he came up to a certain point in considering of his idea, plus his exclusive erudition, the previous experience and Sergey Alekseevich's scientific fearlessness.

             By the end of 1947 the idea got its precise forms of the block diagram of the digital computer, the basic electronic schemes, choice of element base, time diagrams, representations of numbers, quantities of bits, systems of commands and structure of operations. At that time Sergey Alekseevich already had much to share with the scientific community.

            From January up to March of 1948 he gathered together at a seminar in Institute of electrical engineers in the Ukraine some well-known and talented scientific academicians, such as M.A.Lavrentev, A.A.Dorodnitsyn, B.V.Gnedenko, A.J.Ishlinskiy, A.A.Harkevich, other mathematicians and physicists from scientific research institutes. During this seminar he suggested to discuss the results of the long-term research activity, devoted to the creation of the future computer.

                At a seminar the structure and the character of problems, the block diagram and its characteristics were discussed. The scientists chose the form of representation of number from the fixed comma before the senior category, that essentially reduced terms of development, made a decision to build the machine on 17 bits, including the category for a sign on number, and necessity to provide in a design an opportunity of addition of several categories. The three-address system of commands was accepted almost without discussion. The command which needs to be executed, should consist of a code of operation: to combine, subtract, increase, divide, combine and subtract modules of number, i.e. without taking into account their sign, to compare, shift and others-only 13 various operations; a code of the address in a memory (storage) of the first: composed, multiplier, a divider..., the second: the second composed, the second multiplier, the second divider...; and also a code of the address of a cell of the storage where it is necessary to direct results of calculations. Electronics should provide speed of 50-100 operations in second, and program management - automation of the account. And the program could be complicated, achieving the maximal simplification of electronic schemes.

                  The idea started to attract attention. The history shows, that new ideas, which change the world, are put forward by singles, and only then the organizers of a science, collectives, the enterprises, army of officials and consumers appear on the stage.

                 The results of the researches and discussions at S.A.Lebedev's seminar, under the recommendation of vice-president of the Academy of sciences of the Ukraine A.Lavrentev, were reported to the Presidium AN USSR and to the chief of a department of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine. The decision that the Electro-technical Institute should be in the shortest terms developed and put in operation the electronic digital computer came soon. For the creation of electronic digital computer a half-built house situated in Feofanija (a village in 15 km from Kiev) was allocated.

                Sergey Alekseevich in the middle 1949 formed from the employees of Electro-technical Institute a collective ready to work in Feofanija.Two people, who had scientific degrees, the assistant manager of the laboratory L.N. Dashevskomu and the secretary of party group of laboratory Shkabar E.A. were responsible for organization of provision, maintenance with materials and completing products, contracts making, the organization of socialistic competition and others.

              Young experts: L.M. Abalyshnikova, M.M.Beljaev, E.F.Botvinovskaja, A.L.Gladysh, A.A.Dashevskaja, E.E.Dedeshko, B.A.Stammerer, A.I.Kondalev, V.V.Krajnitskij, I.M.Lisovskij, N.A.Mihajlenko, J.S.Mozyra, I.P.Okulova, I.T.Parhomenko, T.I.Petsuh, M.M.Pinevich, S.B.Pogrebinskij, Z.L.Rabinovich, Z.S.Rapota, A.G.Semenovskij, N.I.Furman, R.J.Chernjak formed a few groups by names of devices. Arithmetic group M.M.Pinevich, the central management was headed A.L.Gladysh, electronic storing was headed by S.B.Pogrebinskij (since March 1950 by I.M. Lisovskij), electricians headed by M.M.Beljaev, design – V.V.Krajnitskij, post-graduate students – Z.L.Rabinovich. The group of post-graduate students under the direction of Sergey Alekseevich developed the system of modeling of autopilots of flying devices.

            The important day came and young specialists went on an old bus, mostly on a stone road, to look at a new place of work. On the left there was wood, on the right - the field. Having driven in the fine wood pitted with a grass, covered craters, remained after war. In the middle of a wood - a monastery, the lime avenue went straight to it, by its side there were a number of monastic buildings, a garden, lake. Offered to us a two-storied half-restored building was close to a monastery. It was being restored, some rooms were already equipped, and an athletic field was finished.

               Physical work was combined with intellectual – we started to work on realization of idea and dream of Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev. Having the only printed grant - G.J.Reich “The Theory and Applications of Electronic Devices ” we started the researches of digital methods of information processing. After choosing the accessible then element base, the research of lamp impulse-potential elements and basic schemes finally began. Before registering the fulfilled scheme in magazine of “suitable for use”, Sergey Alekseevich checked each variant at the stand. The first schemes were bulky, oversaturated with completing products. For simplification of schemes Sergey Alekseevich decided to use a special factor, which was considered when a bonus was charged.

               A lot of time was spent on the initial stage of designing. Well working schemes went right with greater work. Many questions appeared and all were addressed to Sergey Alekseevich. He was very patient, attentive to each researcher, often sat down by one of us, took a soldering iron, shifted glasses on a forehead and started to work above the scheme. He remembered well not only the basic schemes, but also all their variants. If it took much long to achieve the demanded result, he went to the forest, to his bench, and there, drawing separate elements of the scheme, time diagrams and making calculations often only on packs of cigarettes, found mistakes and joyful came back to continue the interrupted work.

             Greater employment in Feofanija did not allow Sergey Alekseevich to pay much attention to the institute problems. His assistant L.V.Tsukernik and the secretary of a Communist Party of the Institute I.V.Akalovsky tried to help Lebedev with these problems.

                It is impossible to overestimate the participation of academician M.A.Lavrenteva in the most initial stages of expansion of works on MESM creation. Owing to his efforts the building in Feofanija was given for our laboratory. Next to this building in a monastery the Department of institute of mathematics of the Ukrain settled down, the director of institute was M.A.Lavrentev.

            Employees of the Department held on a range, next to the house where during his stay in Feofanija M.A.Lavrentev was living, some experimental explosions, and at leisure time played volleyball on our platform.

 M.A.Lavrentev was a well - known scientist-mathematician, the academician, the doctor of technical and physical and mathematical sciences (had two diplomas), twice winner of the Stalin premium. During the second world war he developed, for the first time in the world, the theory of commutation at explosions that allowed to create effective anti-tank shells and mines. He also solved a number of other important problems for national artillery. He used in the mathematical researches the models on the analog equipment and consequently, maybe, was the first who understood, having got acquainted with works on ÌESÌ, what unlimited opportunities for modelling appear by the electronic digital machine with automatic program management. Academician M.V.Keldysh, director of Institute of Applied Mathematics in the USSR, even being a chairman of a selection committee during MESM tests, underestimated this discovery for mathematics and was against S.A.Lebedev to become an academician at the department of physical and mathematical sciences.


                 In Feofanija M.A.Lavrentev often visited S.A.Lebedeva, they had some long talks and was really interested in our successes.

                 The decision of Presidium AN of the USSR from March, 15th, 1950 the academician M.A.Lavrentev was appointed to the position of the director of Institute of exact mechanics and computer facilities of the USSR. By the order ¹40 from March, 20th, 1950 academician M.A.Lavrentev made Lebedev the director of the laboratory 1 ITM and VÒ. A number of the employees, who worked in Feofanija, were occupied as the research staff of laboratories 1 ITM and VÒ (by the order 53 from April, 1st, 1950) and moved to the Electro-technical Institute (Kiev, Tchkalov's street, house 55).

             To maintenance the works, employees of laboratory leaded by group 1 in Feofanija, academician M.A.Lavrentev agreed to transfer from Moscow to Kiev all necessary devices and equipment, and also materials for conducting NIR. The order on ITM and VT 73 from the May 8th, 1950, A.L.Gladysh was appointed material-responsible. Thus, in Feofanija there were two groups of employees – from Kiev and from Moscow. The Moscow group consisted of: M.A.Beljaev, A.L.Gladysh, I.M.Lisovsky, J.S.Mozyra, P.M.Ostapchuk, T.I.Petsuh, S.V.Pegrebinsky, Z.S.Rapota, A.G.Semenovsky.

            The first successes in independent debugging caused rough pleasure, mutual congratulations and fun during which all savings from all cash department were spent, collected in the form of penalties and compensations for successful and unsuccessful short oral stories on bus trips Kiev-Feofanija-Kiev. The whole trip, in good weather, lasted about an hour during which the bus was shaken from laughter. The basic funnymen did not give mercy to anybody, but sneers were not allowed, everybody understood, that the words, which consist even “a drop of poison” should not be said even for fun. Jokes did not repeat, the good harmless laughter pull together raised energy and vivacity, faces became brighter. However, there were some people, who treated humor and sarcasm negatively, they forbade to say words - cybernetics, the trigger, Walters arch, etc.

             After the first successes visitors started to appear, in particular, the future main designers of computer "Arrow" J.J.Bazilevsky and B.I.Rameev, etc. They asked about everything with special attention, wrote everything down. Sergey Alekseevich explained to them the work of separate units, showed pre-production models of finger-type lamps, mercury flasks, oksiferovs, on which we collected memory schemes. Then the whole pilgrimage of scientists, engineers, employees of the Central Committee of Communist Party and Ministerial council of Ukraine began. The 1-st secretary of Central Committee of Ukraine N.S.Hrushchev also became interested in our researches. In 1950 the secretary of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine I.D.Nazarenko visited Feofanija. The impression from he had seen he expressed in a word - "remarcable". After his departure Sergey Alekseevich told: “This tall and handsome man is the attendant of religion and he has the natural stateliness to hide the lacks of his mind.” Everybody understood what a greater role the Communist party played in the country and in destiny of each person.

               From the very beginning of works in Feofanii Sergey Alekseevich considered ÌESÌ as a breadboard model on which it is necessary to lead tests in the widest range and results to consider in the future high-speed machine. In a short note on coordination of the Academy of sciences of the USSR Sergey Alekseevich wrote to: “I started to study high-speed electronic calculating machines at the end of 1948. In-1948 - 1949 my colleagues and I developed the main principles of construction of similar machines. Considering their exclusive value for our national economy, and also absence in the Soviet Union of any experience of their construction and operation, I made a decision as soon as possible to create small electronic calculating machine on which it would be possible to investigate the main principles of construction, to check up a technique of the decision of separate problems and to save up operational experience. In this connection I planned to create an originally operating breadboard model of the machine with its subsequent translation in small electronic calculating machine. Not to detain development, the memory should be executed on trigger cells that limited its capacity. The development of basic elements was held in 1949... By the end 1949 the general configuration of the machine and basic schemes of its blocks were developed. In the first half of 1950 separate blocks were made and their debugging in interrelation was started... ”



          Debugging of blocks passed at sharp lack of measuring devices and difficulties of the coordination of questions of pulse communications and interactions. In ÌESÌ the synchronous principle of work were incorporated. All its devices, each of which carried out the independent operations, should work strictly synchronously. The slightest divergences in time cycles were not supposed. Such work by means of synchronizing impulses was provided.

            The process became only after installation of blocks in a welded general skeleton of the machine, ending of interblock connections and input of a control panel. On it the mnemonic scheme was represented, measuring devices, switches and keys of management were located. For tests and adjustments of the machine, except for automatic and semi-automatic modes, manual input of impulses of shift on electronic memories of numbers and commands was stipulated. On alarm neon lamps on a control panel it was possible to track work of all elements of the machine.                      

               As soon as independent debugging of blocks and devices MESM came to the end, all materials with its results were laid into a big leather portfolio with which Sergey Alekseevich left for a short term for Moscow. Very soon a telegrams asking for immediate returning was sent, as complex debugging unexpectedly stopped. There was nobody to turn for advice. Everyone knew the blocks and devices well. Lisovsky, who was just appointed a chief of ÌESÌ IT could not manage, without Sergey Alekseevich, to provide the further promotion of adjustment. It was the most responsible and complex stage of work on which there were many difficulties. As well as at the previous stages of MESM creation, only Sergey Alekseevich, who could always find a necessary technical decision, solved greater difficulties.

            Round-the-clock work was established for MESM, for the attendants - three-replaceable but as it was insufficiently, it was necessary to work on two changes. By this time in Feofanija a feed and lodging for the night were organized. Sergey Alekseevich worked till midnight everyday, often forgot about meal. He stopped paying attention to the analog modeling, which was held in the next room. There was a time when the equipment designed on the maximal opportunities of radio tubes, and people – everybody and everything worked in the most limiting modes. Socialist competition became senseless.


                   Many difficulties were overcome at a stage of complex debugging of  MESM before full acknowledgement by practice of correctness of the chosen schemes and their realization were finally reached. For the first time we especially were delighted, observing steady work of the universal arithmetic device and the adder with a chain of through carries in which arithmetic and logic operations were realized all. Most of all we were pleased, certainly that all was new, original. Experience - none.

We learnt about computer ENIAK and main principles of G. Neumann electric digital calculating machine (computer) construction with a kept program only in 50ss, when there were advertising publications. Perhaps, this absence of knowledge had positively reflected in the chosen way of creation of discrete electronic machines.

Sergey Alekseevich originaly, so deeply and comprehensively worked out all the main principles, structure and technical decisions, that in the further it was not required to bring a little significant corrective amendments and additions.

          In August 1950ã. A.A.Lyapunov made the first program for calculation of a factorial of number. ÌESÌ irreproachably executed it. Further complication of programs and problems were done fast. A.A.Ljapunov said, that working on ÌESÌ for only three month, he had received enormous experience of programming, machine methods of realization of algorithms and digital modeling.

           Sergey Alekseevich for the second time collected all materials on already functioning machine in big light brown portfolio and carried them to ITM and VÒ AN of  the USSR where he had started the development of the designing of big electronic calculating machines (BESM).

              On 6-th of November 1950 Sergey Alekseevich arranged in Feofanija the first display of the first domestic electronic digital machine, which could solve test and elementary computer problems to the broad audience of experts in different areas of a science and techniques.

             After increase in quantity of blocks of storing for expansion of capacity of a memory, working off of operations of addition and subtraction, multiplication and comparison, MESM was presented to an examining commission, consisting of scientists: N.N.Dobrohotova, A.J.Ishlinskogo, S.G.Krejna, S.A.Lebedeva, F.D.Ovcharenko, I.T.Shvetsa. In the certificate from the 5th of January 1951 the commission fixed the completion of the development, manufacturing and adjustment of MESM and also recommended to conduct a number of improvements in the future. 

        Till September 1951 recommendations of the examining committee were realized and the works planned by Sergey Alekseevich on the improvement of MESM were finished earlier.

         The system of constant numbers and commands was developed and put into operation. Photographic record of result was entered. Sorting with punched cards for input of initial data in the machine was adapted. The control system of magnetic storing was developed and then the installation and debugging of management was completed. The breadboard model turned in a small electronic calculating machine and its work was shown to the Governmental Commission and the Commission of Experts.

           On July 1st 1951 a governmental order ¹ 2759 - 1321 telling to put into operation the Electronic (Small) Computer in the 1st decade of 1951.

           In September 1951 MESM began to solve more challenging tasks with set of the algebraic and differential equations in private derivatives with hundreds unknown persons.

              With its help it was possible to conduct modeling in the most different areas of a science and techniques, and that would be impossible using some other machines. MESM could provide automatic control of processes and real objects.

            On The 25th of December 1951 the Commission of the Academy of sciences of the USSR (chairman - academician M.V.Keldysh), accepted MESM and it was put into operation.

            Appearance of MESM served as a powerful push to statement and the decision of actual problems of calculus mathematics in the field of nuclear physics, rocket ballistics, calculation of electric lines Kuibyshev - Moscow and others. The decision of these problems manually would detain the development of the important directions of a domestic science and techniques for a long time.

           Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev fulfilled his long-life dream: has created digital electronic calculating machine (computer), the small collective of employees of Electro-mechanical Institute of the Ukraine and Institute of exact mechanics and computer facilities of the USSR helped him with it.

          Certainly this work on MESM creation deserved the highest estimations, honorary titles, premiums, awards and it was presented by the Academy of sciences of the Ukraine (the Decision of Presidium 12 from January, 11th 1952) with necessary materials on competition for the Stalin premium.                                                    

According to a certain tradition there were the scientist, the organizer, the party functionary on this list, only the workers were not there. In Feofanija engineers and techniques carried out not only functional duties, but also all physical work. For not clear reasons the premium was not given. Maybe the commission, which was considering representation, could not estimate scientific break or was afraid of the fact, that it all reminded about stigmatized “falls science - cybernetics”: realization of logic operations, an opportunity of electronic digital modeling in any areas of a science and techniques, management of processes and objects. Maybe there were some other reasons, but nobody received any premiums or awards. And gratitude was also given very avariciously: it was impossible to allocate someone, all collective worked equally hard and everybody (only 22 persons) deserved an equal measure of encouragements.


              Though Sergey Alekseevich had at once chosen a binary system of the account and lamp triggers as elements of memory for MESM, in Feofanija from the very beginning the research works of other systems of the account and other schemes of memories were conducted. Engineers of group of the storage created test beds, and on a separate little table established the counter of impulses with which Sergey Alekseevich began demonstration to visitors of opportunities of digital lamp devices. The counter had never let us down, unlike the basic equipment of MESM where sometimes were visit effects.

All works of group were fixed in hardware magazine: the positive and negative parties of other systems of the account in comparison with binary (especially 8-binary and 16-binary); quantity of the mounted cells of memory for change; quantity of the rejected lamps which stole up on approximately identical factors of strengthening of the dual triodes 6Í8, and then 6Í15; quantity of lamps, which failed at once at their test in the stand; remarks on parameters of completing products and changes, âíîñèìûå in the accepted schemes. The magazine was supervised and controlled by Sergey Alekseevich.

 In the storage approximately 75 % of all lamps contained in ÌESÌ were used. All cells of the storage of numbers and commands were mounted and established in ÌESM by engineers of the storage group. In schemes of triggers lamps 6Í15, which did not demand selection on factors of strengthening, were used.

 The central switchboard on 6Õ6 was also mounted in group of the storage. The most reliable was at that time 6V6 which was used in cathodic repeaters and amplifiers. Its time between failures exceeded 500 hours.

At stands we studied with the maximal speed to find out malfunctions. Sergey Alekseevich demanded to learn to eliminate refusals more quickly, than they arose. We tried and established records. Owing to this training on MESM equipment a comprehensible enough steady zone of working capacity was provided. The weakest part in the trigger were 2 Wats resistance of type ÂÑ in an anode circuit, which often burned.

Sergey Alekseevich did not like the lamp storage and we searched for its replacement on

the most unexpected directions: from paper which was offered L.I.Gutenmasher, up to the tape recorder and a magnetic drum of development of Institute of Physics in the Ukraine. For the first time in August 1949 we visited Institute of Physics of the Ukraine and got acquainted with younger scientific researcher E.M.Vlasovoj, V.I.Hoffmann, G.Àêîïüÿí and a very talented technician  M.Shulejko, who overcame difficulties of magnetic record on a ferromagnetic film magnetic heads badly giving in to installation on forming a drum under the direction of the head of department of technical physics academician of sciences of Ukraine of Alexander Aleksandrovich Harkevich. In a cabinet of A.A.Harkevicha Sergey Alekseevich, who had finished in the beginning 1949 the monography “ Small electronic calculating machine ”, (it was published in 1952ã), told young enthusiasts about magnetic record about the purpose of our visiting and about a binary notation about which they had not even the slightest notion. The story was accompanied by demonstration of arithmetic operations in binary codes under the manuscript of the monograph.

At once in group of clever questions, which proved the quickly seized essence and understanding required reorienting, appeared a leader E.M.Vlasova. She was not only clever, but also beautiful and that caused a desire to visit Institute of Physics more often and to state our requirements to memories on a magnetic drum in more detail: to a constancy of amplitude of read out signals, their synchronism; accuracy to static and dynamic balancing; to the minimal palpation of a surface; uniformity, durability of a magnetic covering and etc. only to continue a pleasant communication.

Time for completion of works under the Contract about creation of the storage on a magnetic drum with Institute of Physics expired in 1950. After tests of a drum in January 1951 the certificate of acceptance stated end of the development. In Feofanija the drum was established in machine hall of MESM and entered into structure of the machine in August 1951. Its debugging, except for already named members, was held together with our engineers and with a young specialist, who had just finished Kiev Polytechnic Institute and was working in the Institute of Physics. He name was R.G. Ofengenden. The storage on a magnetic drum was better than the storage on the tape recorder that possessed the big universality and considerably smaller time of the reference.


The Moscow Institute of automatics suggested that we should test mercury flasks as lines of a delay. Heavy constructions in thermostats were placed in a semibasement premise where units of power supplies were concentrated. An electrified cable carried out communications with electronic blocks. Code sequences circulated in the ultrasonic mercury environment. Each path had entrance and target pjezoconducter. Average time of sample made was nearby 300 microseconds.

The RAM on mercury flasks had a number of advantages in comparison to lamp, but bulkiness, high requirements to conditions of the environment, low reliability of piezoelements did not inspire.

Interesting in these searches were the storage on electronic beam tubes which were supplied to us by scientific research institute-160, situated in Frazino (near Moscow). One tube for each bit. The capacity of operative memory, but a signal of reading sometimes was overtaken by some noises. It was necessary to undertake special measures: to adjust a level of a read out signal. Time of sample made nearby 12 microseconds.

Somehow A.A.Harkevich brought us some tens of germany diodes which we at once put on use. They had a small direct resistance and the big attitude of return resistance to direct. It allowed to improve characteristics of electronic schemes, there it was possible to replace lamp diodes with semiconductors.

I do not remember, when we were engaged in sewing business. We had oxypheronial cores, which were used by signalmen, and ferrite cores from Leningrad. Quickly all group began to string them on trunks with a decent share of scepticism. Results of tests received oxypherol and ferrite storage was not bad, but we were perplexed why magnetic rings were so rustle and broke into pieces. We asked to resolve our difficulties one of the biggest then authority on the Union on noise stability Alexander Aleksandrovich Harkevich. He studied the noise field and the handicaps created in ferrite storages very closely using oschilograph, and assumed, that process of a number record began earlier (or above under the schedule of a residual induction), thus the zero due to handicaps collapses and at its reading the arising big signal of handicaps can overheat magnetic cores and destroy them. It was possible to struggle and it was clear to us. But Sergey Alekseevich greater labor input on the creation of the storage on oxypheron and ferrite cores, very low maintainability, a wide scatter of sizes of removed signals, strong noisy field and, maybe, our mistrustful attitude to this innovation. The further searches in this direction were stopped.




Once, Sergey Alekseevich outlined in our magazine the electric scheme on the triode with the transformer with 6 windings, three semi-conductor diodes, in the remembering capacity, two resistance and said: “The lamp can choose any, and the transformer-reel up, diodes, capacity is better different, than resistance, choose also the scheme test, I shall look at results ”. It was the most interesting scheme of the trigger, which to me should be collected and tested. It had following advantages before the scheme of the trigger with potential communications: simplicity, high entrance resistance, very low target, that allows to coordinate easily with simple logic schemes on diodes; absence of rigid requirements to disorder of parameters of a lamp, and also to disorder of sizes of parameters of details; greater porosity; small expenses of energy of a feed; a greater steeples of front and recession and, as consequence, high speed of the dynamic triggerschemes. The excellent scheme, but complex debugging ÌESÌ did not leave more time for the further NIR, and also on alterations in the collected and functioning schemes.

Sergey Alekseevich desided, that we had executed the order of director ITMandVT ¹73 from May, 8th 1950 concerning the conducting of NII in Feofanija.

 During a special supper in February 1951 Sergey Alekseevich noted the end of development of a magnetic drum for the storage and signing on 5-th of January 1951. A selection committee of the certificate about the termination of development, manufacturing and adjustment ÌESÌ in December 1950 and on behalf of all collective thanked Michael Alekseevich Lavrentev, Alexander Aleksandrovich Harkevich and his wife Evgenie Mihajlovnu for participation and the help in carrying out NIR and creation ÌESÌ.

       I had the luck to work with Sergey Alekseevich in a Kiev and in Feofanija since July 1949My career was one of the fastest in our collective: the engineer, the engineer - the designer, the chief of group, chief ÌESÌ that had both the positive and negative aspects. In November 1951 I was serving in the Soviet Army. Till December 1951 I participated in preparation of ÌESÌ to use it on tests.

To work with Sergey Alekseevich was very easy. It never raised voice, even when a person was obviously guilty. He treated everybody very fairly. There were no favorites in our collective, everyone was equal. Sergey Lebedev always marked even the smallest successes of the employees. During rest and backpacking tours, he liked to be involved in different tricks and jokes, which he used to tell absolutely seriously. He appealed to people with his with frankness, goodwill, enthusiasm, and also skill to carry away others and to create conviction in everyone of equal participation in a common cause. He created the atmosphere of pleasure while working which gave rise to energy and desire to work. He was always trying to achieve something that nobody had achieved before. Under the influence of remarkable characteristics of Sergey Alekseevich people, working together with him, were highly consciousness, had a sharp feeling of responsibility, initiative, professionalism. Example, which Sergey Alekseevich gave for young people of the collective, was the most effective reason to work and live according to certain moral rules.

Sergey Alekseevich possessed the most dear gift of the nature: the strong mind pursuing the practical purposes, cheerful, derisive and kind character.

 Academician A.A.Dorodnitsyn once asked athe question: “whether Sergey Alekseevich knew a latin proverb Age quod agis-do what you do ” Sergey Alekseevich used to say: “ What you execute, execute well. ” And from latin I heard only one famous saying when Sergey Alekseevich headed for Moscow, taking away in a big portfolio to Moscow the first materials on ÌESÌ he told: “ Omnia mea mecum porto. ” In general in Feofanii Sergey Alekseevich often used catchwords, quatrains not only from Block and Gymilev, whom he liked most, but also from Pushkin, for example, “ the Cart of a life ”, Shakespeare, Knuta Gamsuna, Bunin, Dante: ” the Terrestrial life having passed up to half, I have come to be in a gloomy wood ”, by Omar Hajam.    





Despite of a wearisome day, and sometimes nights shifts, we were vigorous and cheerful, experienced the completeness of life connected with self-realization, we were happy. We studied to work, to become real specialists, grew up. We created a very happy atmosphere by our united work. Sergey Alekseevich was very happy and he gave his happiness to everybody around, so we did our best to be happy in return.

       We devoted our free time to sports activities. We played volleyball and when winter came we srarted skiing, which was less though less popular. But the most exiting hobby was ping-pong. Different tournaments were held in the hall next to the laboratories. The first champion was the laboratory headed by assistant manager L.N.Dashevskij, but soon he gave up his position, having lost his racket. This racket was really good - on one side it had a fuse for protection, on the other - a soft elastic band for an attack. It was really an insulting loss. Subsequently, I successfully played with this rocket at city and republican competitions on table tennis.

        After the stage of the adjustment was finished or after a strong wind, which disconnected Feofanija, the pedestrian or bus tourist routes in picturesque places of the Kiev area were organized. Sergey Alekseevich was not only the most talented scientific, but also an unusually charming and gallant man. Once, when it was already cold enough, when the bus passed by lake, Alisa Grigorjevna, Sergey Alekseevich’s wife, exclaimed: “ What wonderful water lilies! ” Sergey Alekseevich stopped the bus, took off his clothes, got into the cold water and swam. In some minutes he presented a big bouquet of lilies to Alisa Grigorjevna. Other men in the bus were extremely confused.

             The cash flows again started to grow. The greatest receipts usually came when Alisa Grigorjevna was in the bus with us. She was brilliantly clever and an unusually resourceful person. She was loved by everybody not less then by Sergey Alekseevich. Alisa Grigorjevna was really a member of our collective. She was helping Sergey Alekseevich in everything, she wanted all the staff members to be clever, intelligent people. Sometimes she quoted K.A.Timirjazeva: “ It is necessary to know a little about everything, but everything about this little ”. Alisa Grigorjevna arranged some very interesting evening-meetings with well-known people at her place, which such people as Svjatoslav Richter, Gmirja, Timoshenko and Berezin and other famous people sometimes visited. Such evenings were exclusively interestingly and very useful for technical creative youth. Themes of our professional works never were discussed during such evenings.

        Sometimes, during our evening walks to the nearest lake through feofanijan wood, Sergey Alekseevich was speaking about some of his ideas concerning the forthcoming development of computer facilities and, especially, programming, about their indispensable wide circulation or, having stopped and looking at your eyes, as though joking, threw absolutely new ideas. Once he told, that the universal machine is good only for greater challenges of calculus mathematics, and to solve any other problems concerning a narrow class of problems, but enough widespread, it is expedient to build specialized machines which should be much easier than universal. The idea that the time had already come, using the results of MESM, to combine input of the information with computing process and performance of operations above matrixes and vectors in the calculator. We still were so far from it. Well, and the idea that “ the only effective way to struggle against a distant rockets is to send a counter rocket ”, and their point of a meeting can be calculated by highly-speed digital electronic computer and together with radar-tracking systems to provide its destruction. This idea seemed very improbable and impracticable: a shell to get in a flying shell - fantasy, so we did not even discuss it. But in eleven years this very idea realized, as well as many Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev's new ideas.

          In the end of February 1961ã. I arrived on the range Balhashskj, being the officer of the Central device of the Ministry of Defence. On the 4th of March, 1961 I was invited to the command position of the antimissile defense systems. General designer G.V.Kisunko with whom I was on friendly term since 1951, when I participated in the creation of system of air defense to provide Moscow’s protection. Standing on a command position I observed, how means of the radar-tracking system found a ballistic missile at the distance of 1500 kilometers , and the lamp universal and specialized digital machines incorporated in the computer network, provided:

- Construction of a trajectory of a ballistic missile (targets) and its continuous specification;

- Delivery of the radar instruction of exact pointing;

- Calculation and delivery of corners of prestarting turns to the on launchers;

- Calculation of the moment of the antirocket start-up and delivery of a command for its start-up from a launcher;

- Pointing of antirocket on the target according to fighting algorithm;

- And, at last, undermining, at a height of 25 km. in the result of a direct hit antirocket ballistic head collapsed into parts.


The failure in central computer M-40 occurred 145 seconds prior to approach of a ballistic head to a point of its interception by antirocket. Subsequently the first antirocket protection system carried out eleven successful interceptions of ballistic missiles and destruction of their warheads at full absence of failures of computing means during fighting cycles.


     The president of Siberian branch of AN USSR academician M.A.Lavrentev and president of AN of the Ukraine academician B.E.Paton said for a couple of times, that the creation of Sergey Alekseevich Lebed in the hardest after-war years of the first original domestic digital electronic computer was his scientific and labor deed.

       Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev's name can be placed together with the names of outstanding scientists of the world.

       In Ukraine the memory of Sergey Alekseevich s kept in the hearts of people and the whole country is proud that the first in the continental Europe and in Soviet Union electronic digital computer was created in the country.

        In memory of Sergey Alekseeviche the premium of Academy of sciences of the Ukraine was founded; one of the prospects in a new district in Kiev was named after S.A.Lebedev; at entrance to a new building of Institute of cybernetics of the Ukraine a monument to the first electronic digital computer in the USSR and its founder Sergey. A. Lebedev was built.    

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