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Computers in the Soviet Union

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Post 05 Jan 2009, 18:16
Don't know whether this is the right sub-forum for this topic, but anyway! If it's not, I please the mods to move it to the right one.

What about computers in Soviet Union, and the Warsaw Pact countries? Were they developed? Could they be compared to their western counterparts? Did they have advantages/disadvantages? Where they used in industrial/office applications, or just in universities and the military?
I'm asking about all categories of computers - super computers, mainframes, personal etc.
Post 05 Jan 2009, 18:51
They were developed but never compared to western computers.
Post 05 Jan 2009, 20:55
From what I understand, Bulgaria was the computer-expertise area of the Warsaw Pact. And I believe it was Bulgarian scientists or technicians, or nerds or whatever you want to call it, that programmed the first computer virus. (After the fall of communism, they sent computer viruses, harmless ones, to places like IBM.) Essentially being a pretty creative way of trying to get a job.
Post 06 Jan 2009, 00:35
I have no specifics, but I do have an opinion:

Because the USSR had a strong scientific and technical education system (one of the best in the world), the lack of initative in the computer sector was absolutely shameful in comparison to the potential which existed. Most Soviet computers, particularly in the 1980s, were clones of Western systems. Soviet computerization in the workplace was abysmal compared to that of advanced Western economies, and was often derided in Western periodicals of the time. I firmly believe the primary reason for the weakness in Soviet capacity to develop competitive computer technologies was due to the bureaucracy, which had realized that computers had the potential to reduce their power and influence by reducing dramatically the number of people needed to perform work tasks, and subsequently decided to limit funding and resources for the development of computer technologies. This is confirmed in a book once viewable on sovietcomputing.com, which contained a history of Soviet computing, including some of the main Soviet scientists involved, the successes and failures, etc., though for some reason that website is no longer working.
Post 15 Jan 2009, 01:39
Well, as a positive side-effect of the USSR's lag in computing, Warsaw Pact programmers are among the best in the world given teh dismal computer sector they had to contend with.
Post 31 Jan 2009, 02:27
Quote:
I have no specifics, but I do have an opinion:

Because the USSR had a strong scientific and technical education system (one of the best in the world), the lack of initative in the computer sector was absolutely shameful in comparison to the potential which existed. Most Soviet computers, particularly in the 1980s, were clones of Western systems. Soviet computerization in the workplace was abysmal compared to that of advanced Western economies, and was often derided in Western periodicals of the time. I firmly believe the primary reason for the weakness in Soviet capacity to develop competitive computer technologies was due to the bureaucracy, which had realized that computers had the potential to reduce their power and influence by reducing dramatically the number of people needed to perform work tasks, and subsequently decided to limit funding and resources for the development of computer technologies. This is confirmed in a book once viewable on sovietcomputing.com, which contained a history of Soviet computing, including some of the main Soviet scientists involved, the successes and failures, etc., though for some reason that website is no longer working.


I agree with this. There were computers yes, even some sitting fancy in the windows of the big electronic stores in Moscow. But my father still used punch-cards in the late 1970's, and didn't have e-mail until an American charitable/friendship organization organized e-mail access for Moscow State U professors in the very late 1980's.
Post 13 Feb 2009, 08:13
Soviet and Warsaw Pact computers were only very efficient calculators for the eyes of their users at that time.
Post 16 Feb 2009, 10:47
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbrus_(computer)

At least the engineers from the Soviet Union tried to apply western technology to their taste. And they gathered the know-hows that shaped today's Russian hardware technology.

Some people believe that every Soviet engineers just directly copied western computer technology. Well, not quite.
Post 01 Nov 2009, 19:54
In Poland we also developed some computers, most impressive of it is Mazovia 1016, which was compatible with IBM PC standard back in late 1980s. In general production and development of computers was quite difficult because of economical problems and embargo from the West on high level technologies

Image



Image

Here is another baby, Elwro Junior 800 which had ZX Spectrum standard. There was a whole scheme of supplying them to schools and setting up networks, as you can guess it never really scucceded in a mass scale
Post 17 Dec 2009, 16:51
Quote:
I agree with this. There were computers yes, even some sitting fancy in the windows of the big electronic stores in Moscow. But my father still used punch-cards in the late 1970's

Like punch cards were not still used in the US at that time.

I think it is often exaggerated in the West that the USSR was way behind in computers.
According to Zhores Alferov, who received the Nobel Prize in physics for microelectronics work he did during the Soviet era, the USSR was only 2 to 3 years behind in some areas of microelectronics and nanoelectronics while even being ahead in a few others, but now Russia is 15-20 years behind...
Post 17 Dec 2009, 17:52
In which areas was the USSR ahead?
Post 17 Dec 2009, 19:02
He did not specify. It is from an interview a few months ago.
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