Eduard Proydakov: “Personal computers pulled out electronics in due time. Robots will pull it out now. ”

Eduard Proydakov - Director of the Virtual Computer Museum , developer, IT expert, teacher, journalist and translator. In an interview for the DataArt Museum, Eduard Mikhailovich spoke about expeditions in the desert and swamps, the Soviet Aeroflot ticket booking system, Oginsky polonaise on the M-20 lamp, romantic programmers of the 1960s, the architectural crisis and its overcoming.


- As far as we know, before you engage in information technology, you have mastered another profession.
- Yes, and in general I have a rather stormy biography. To begin with, I was born in Usollag and the first years of my life, we can say, I served. Then I was adopted, with my parents I visited Tselin in Biysk. Finally, having moved with them to the Moscow Region, he graduated from school with a medal and hung out on expeditions for several years, since he received the specialty of a surveyor engineer at the Moscow Institute of Land Management Engineers (MIIZ). Surveying expeditions - it was something. Well, four years of life in a hostel are also strongly educated.

- What is a Soviet-era hostel?
“Five people lived in each room.” They dumped two rubles a week to buy food. Breakfast and dinner were prepared by the room attendant. We had some of our chips. For example, when we were going to buy a KVN TV with a water lens, we introduced a system of fines for behavior and scored the required amount in a week. They were fined for mating, because a man brought a girl in the evening, and everyone was forced to leave. It was the biggest fine, almost a ruble.

I also had a personal epic, since my girlfriend lived in St. Petersburg, and I went to her every year and a half every Saturday and Sunday. It cost 10 rubles 20 kopecks for a student if the ticket is reserved. Then, my student friend went to St. Petersburg for about three years, my best friend, who eventually got married there and moved there. Later, he became the main gardener of Pavlovsky Park.

- Tell us about the work of the surveyor.
“There were problems here.” Firstly, it is very difficult to find workers - people who would walk with you in the mountains, taiga, desert, shared this difficult life. Often these were guys after imprisonment or people of unusual fate. If we succeeded, we organized a qualifying exam - when out of 30 people we were left alone, it was good.

Gennady Dmitriev. The Beginning of Summer, 1977

“Did you do science?”
- Not. Now there are satellites, and then there was aerial photography from aircraft. So he flew, took pictures, after this photographs need to be tied to the terrain. That is, one of the tasks is to find a point on the ground, which is also in the picture, and prick it in the picture with the tip of the needle. This is the so-called identification mark. Next, you need to determine its coordinates - to make some measurements of the angles using the theodolite - and tie in height. In addition, all this must be sketched.

Some area is given to you. The plane flew, took a strip of 20 kilometers by 10. You need to find three points in the picture. And now you walk in the desert, around - nothing. Looking for traces of car wheels, old droppings. Finding signs quickly is a great art.
We did a large-scale shooting - for maps of scale 1: 5000 and 1: 10000. At one time there was a program when they made a map of the entire Soviet Union on a scale of 1: 25000. This is a tremendous job, a lot of people worked. In Leningrad, I had my own aerial photography dealing with the Baltic states - I worked there for one season. He met a unique person who walked on all expeditions. He did not recognize transport, except for a bicycle and a horse. About two weeks before the start of the season, he left Peter on foot in the direction of Tartu. And then another expedition itself - this is from 30 kilometers to 45 per day. Moreover, through the swamps. It’s good that the summer was dry, but I lost 12 kilos there.

- Did you pay well?
- In addition to the usual salary, it was supposed another 30 percent - the so-called field workers. The people lived on this money, and when he arrived at the base, he received everything else. At the end of the season, sometimes it ran well. Piecework - as you drown, so rummage.

- Why did you decide to change your profession?
- In 1972, I got married and realized that expeditions and family life are incompatible. Plus, the conditions were rather harsh on expeditions, and the people were specific. And I went to study at the engineering stream of the Moscow Institute of Electronic Engineering - MIEM, now it is a member of the Higher School of Economics. Wonderful university. They gave almost one mathematics, they tried to involve scientific communism rather for the sake of formality. Well, the level of teaching at MIEM in those days was just cool.

The main entrance of MIEM at the intersection of Mal. Pioneer Street and Stremyanny Lane. Photo taken between 1978 and 1982.

Simultaneously with my studies, I worked out three years in distribution. He was engaged in a very interesting thing - shooting underground communications in Moscow. There are all sorts of them here, it was necessary to understand this whole system. Well, when the deadline expired, from the post of senior engineer I went downgrading in both the salary and the rank of mathematical engineer to the Main Computing Center of Civil Aviation of the USSR.

Badge with winged terminal - emblem of MCC Civil Aviation


- It was 1975, and a very interesting project “Siren-2” was waiting for me at the MCC - a queuing system for the sale of aviation tickets. There were about 10,000 flights a week in the Soviet Union. One of the tasks that I was trying to consider was called “connecting flights.” You fly where there is no direct flight, and you need to change trains somewhere. Firstly, you need to calculate so that you have time - usually 4 hours are required for a transplant. Secondly, you need to choose the shortest route and somehow optimize it at a cost.

But in those days there were no cars that could hold in memory a table of 10 thousand flights. Therefore, "Siren" served only the Moscow air hub. Depth of reservation began from 30 days, then made 45. At the same time, Western companies, in particular, Air France and some American, booked flights for the year. They had much better memory, for example, there was a magnetic drum of colossal capacity at that time - 800 megabytes. Moreover, he was very fast, 800 tracks per megabyte each.

- What is the difference between Siren-1 and Siren-2?
- “Siren-1” worked on very old M-3000 machines. My work began with a monthly internship at her operator.

The M-3000 machine had the structure and architecture of the IBM 360 system adjusted for the parts available in the USSR

There was no documentation for this system, so at first the people sat and restored the source texts, as it is now called. The system was written in Assembler, and about 20 people sorted it into blocks. This is such a research work, when you try to understand what was programmed from the contents of the memory. From here I have a great love for disassemblers. I wrote a lot during my life and became a specialist in this field. Sometimes you get a piece of a system, and you need to understand what it was like. Let's say a very expensive installation burned down, we need to restore it. To do this, you need to restore the firmware. Restored.

"Siren-2" was initially supposed to be done on the M-4030. This is an absolutely wonderful Ineum machine (INEUM - Institute of Electronic Control Machines). She has a cool story, almost a detective story. At one time, the British company ICL made the Spectra 70 machine. When in the USSR they chose what to copy, IBM System / 360 or ICL, there were voices that ICL was better architecturally. But IBM won the Union, and stopped at the ICL in Germany. Siemens took the Spectra 70 as the prototype and released the System 4004, and INEUM made the M-4030 on its basis.

Control computer complex M-4000

I liked the M-4030 much more than all the others. I spent five years working on it as a system programmer. He graduated from six-month courses and really could do a lot of things on it. And she was very reliable. Soviet technology had two problems: poor plastic chips and contacts. M-4030 for some reason released with gilded contacts. Others did not, because there were very strict limits on precious metals. For example, it was impossible to finish the car with nickel. Nickel is a strategic metal.

They wanted to make “Siren” -2 for the Olympics-80, but they launched it in 1981, and it worked until 2005. Then they bought an ibiem system for a replacement. By that time, I had already left civil aviation - back in the year 77 I went to work at the Central Research Institute of Integrated Automation. I just realized that with these development managers it will not work.

- M-4030 - was it a clone or your own development?
- Own. They often say: “Fuck!”, But you can tear the idea, architecture, but not circuitry. Firstly, we have a different element base. We have to do the same functionality, but with completely different means. We have a different technology, different standards. American equipment has inch connectors, we have metric connectors. They are not compatible - just do not stick the board.

“When you started working with large machines, what did it look like?”
- At first, we tried to work, like everyone else, in the so-called batch mode. You write on paper, give it to the girls, they fill it, the operator launches the deck, they give you a printout with errors, you correct them, and the process repeats. But it was a very long time. And when we were creating a system that needed to be handed over urgently, we made sure that we were allowed to leave at night when there were no operators. Things went much faster.

- There was a division: operators, programmers, technical group. How were you allowed to do the work of the operators?
- This is a very conditional division. Just before there was a so-called batch mode. When you prepare punch cards, give the operators with a bunch of instructions what tapes to put, which disks to take. This is because programmers did not have access to the machine. There were few cars. At first, almost the deputy minister shared the machine time between organizations, and then, when there were enough machines, the need for this disappeared. Over time, we learned how to connect a sufficient number of terminals to one machine, a collective work mode appeared. As a result, the profession of "computer operator" disappeared. Everyone understood that it is much more productive when a person works directly with the machine, especially the developers. Efficiency increases by an order of magnitude. There are quite a few professions that disappear with the development of technology. The typists have disappeared. I remember the mashburo - you come, order a letter or a document to print, and 20 typists knock on the keys in sweat.

- What terminals did you work with?
- The first terminals are an electric typewriter. "Consul" was called, I do not remember the number. What you typed was recorded on the tape as a log file. Well, the answers of the car were recorded, because there was no monitor. The machine was printing pretty slowly. I remember one of the fun. On the EU computer, I learned the language PL / 1. The people called him "I ate alone." When the first languages ​​appeared - in 1957 Fortran, a little later Kobol - the idea arose to make a powerful universal language. IBM made and called it Programming Language 1 - "the programming language is one." They believed that it would be a single language for all occasions. Description - 600 pages. I read. But, unfortunately, it turned out to be very cumbersome, although some ideas were wonderful, they later migrated to other languages. PL / 1 had a very big influence on subsequent developments, and in order to learn it, I wrote the game “Sea Battle” on the machine. Entered a move, she tapped, hit or missed.

They came at night, if there was time, I had fun. At the same time he taught at the Moscow Mathematical College. Just read them languages. Threes taught Fortran, good guys - PL / 1, excellent students - Assembler.

The era of romanticism

- Do you remember how EU computers were introduced?
- A persistent internal struggle was going on around the single series. In the system plan, the IBM-360 was worked out superbly. A single line, which we did not have in any series. Not in Ural, although now many former developers of those machines cheeks are inflated, such as "we had a BESM." There was no BESM line. Plus, it is very expensive, turning it into a production car for everyone at that time was extremely difficult.

I do not know the background of all kinds of undercover games, but the main argument of those who struck the EU computer was this: guys, with this machine we get such a lot of software that will cover all our needs. Because at that time there were not a million programmers in the Soviet Union. It was later that 700 thousand people were engaged in all kinds of automated control systems. One can argue whether they worked effectively or ineffectively, but these are literate people who they trained, trained. Universities began to produce a lot of programmers, and this is to some extent the elite.

If we talk about the attitude towards cars at that time, I would say that this was the era of romanticism - the first love and so on. Because there were enormous hopes: a tool appeared that makes it possible to greatly increase the level of human intelligence and solve the most unusual problems.

1956 year We are working on machine translation when the memory machine has only one kilosword - the equivalent of 8 kilobytes. They believed: "Now let's take it and do everything." When we were confronted with technical problems: there is no memory, there is not enough speed, understanding of how it works has not yet been formed, - a science called “mathematical linguistics” was born. That is, a direct consequence of the failure of the first machine translation systems.

The first chess games were made in the 1960s. I mean, there was tremendous enthusiasm and there was romance. Although the first languages ​​had just appeared, everyone saw that this was a living thing, that it was developing, and each next generation was growing rapidly. Especially when transistor machines appeared, which are an order of magnitude more reliable.

- What was your first contact with the computer?
- Somewhere in the senior years, in the year 71, we were given an excursion to some kind of computer center, and there was an M-20 car, still a lamp. Each of her teams made a sound, and the people programmed the Oginsky Polonaise on it. She plays, we listen. The lights are blinking, everything is cool. But I did not even imagine that I would have to work closely with this. The first cars were vacuum tubes, then transistor ones, but I got on the third generation cars when a small and medium degree of integration went.

M-20 is a Soviet vacuum tube electronic computer developed in 1955-1958.

I had an absolutely amazing meeting with the M-20. I already worked at the INEUM as a laboratory of translators and traveled with the group of comrades around the Union republics, gave lectures on computer technology. After a lecture in Almaty, we were taken to watch a unique solar observatory located at an altitude of 2900 meters. We arrive, and there the native M-20 stands. It was the year 1985, there are almost no such cars left. Almaty residents said that it is amazing in that it does not freeze, because the lamps are heated. For them, this turned out to be the most.

Electricos of all Armenians

- In the early 1980s, you worked at the Institute for Management Problems.
- Yes, I was probably one of the youngest blunders, we were engaged in the automation of experiments. For 14 people there were 9 cars of various types, it was necessary to know them all.

IPU is a wonderful place. Young team, graduates mainly. You study them during the year, and then they work quite independently. There were several bison. Kolya Nadolsky is an extremely literate person. Perhaps the only Smalltalk specialist in the Union is such a programming language. In general, there are probably about 5,000 languages ​​in the world now. I have learned about 25 in my life. There are unique languages ​​that two or three people know.

Once, Nadolsky and I were lucky enough to join the team of academician Iosifyan, who was developing Istra-4816. He recruited people at his dacha in Barvikha. He looked at the man and said: “We take this.” Such testing has passed and I am very proud of.

Iosifyan said: “I am the electricos of all Armenians. There is a Catholicos, and I am an electricos. ” He is truly the largest scientist in the field of electrical engineering. Created VNIIEM - Institute of Electromechanics at the Red Gate, including the Meteor series of satellites. During the war, Andronik Gevondovich invented such wedges that were driven under the enemy tank and undermined. The only thing was that there was no radio control - a wire stretched behind the wedge heel.

ET-1-627. Electric torpedo

The Germans quickly realized that they needed to interrupt these wires and learned how to deal effectively with wedges. Therefore, they did not go further, but destroyed a certain number of tanks.
Josiphian invented selsyn, and in general man is unique. Incidentally, he is the only winner of the Stalin Prize in Transcaucasia. They simply forced everyone to change their certificates for the State Prize, and he managed to write a note to Khrushchev at the 20th party congress saying that I could be left as is, and dismissed everyone with this note: "Khrushchev allowed me." Then, at some reception, he put on the laureate badge. Shevardnadze told him: “Oh, you are a cunning Armenian!” Joseph was happy - he washed! Because not a single Stalin Prize laureate was left in Georgia.

Missed opportunities

- What is the last car in the development of which you participated?
- If we consider what has been really done, it was not even a machine, but such a controller on the 51st processor. For the 51st, I wrote a command interpreter in my time, a debugger such that I used software to give up on. This processor was produced in Kiev, just on my software they debugged programs. In the end, we made a good controller. Already there was a collapse of everything in the world, for three years they sent me letters from all over the Union - sell. You could make a million dollars on it. But some of the guys from the team fled, not fulfilling promises. When I found electronics engineers who helped to do this in hardware, the order shaft passed. We automated something, set it somewhere. But that was not the same.

- Which development impressed you the most?
- I participated in many projects, it’s hard to say. If you take up something, the idea should capture, like. You and the team must believe in it. When all this is, it turns out cool.

In general, any project in computer technology is a compromise between future and current capabilities. Every machine should have an idea, then it lives on.

Istra-4816, Polytechnic Museum in Moscow

Here is the "Istra-4816", which now stands at the exhibition at the Polytechnic Museum. Mass, it was released 45 thousand pieces - at that time a good circulation. There were a few ideas. The first is a large circuit board. There are no gilded contacts - it's expensive, so you need to make sure that there are at least contacts. The board is huge, 300 by 400 mm, everything fit on it, and it is printed. The technology of printed circuit boards is well established, it immediately guaranteed high reliability of the machine.

Since there were few chips, we made the machine multiprocessor. These processors shared functions among themselves. They installed an 8-bit processor, which was engaged in input-output, but at the same time it emulated western circuits, which physically we did not have.
The second idea was that the next processor should be with its own operating system. It was also 8-bit with the CP / M-80 operating system, emulated bios (this is the basic input-output system) and generally any functions related to the hardware. We did not know which operating system would win. In those days, we had DOS, there was Xenix - this is Unix, but on the 86th processor. And which of them will break ahead at the development stage was not obvious. Therefore, we made a foundation that could be pulled onto any of these systems. If you want MS DOS - you installed it later - you want Xenix, Linux, and so on. All this was possible due to the fact that there stood its own level, which was based on a lower level, and which emulated any environment that is needed.

Finally, the 86th processor was already upstairs. Since we thought it would be used in CAD, we already made 4 megabytes of video memory. It was 1982-1983, there were no such machines in the world. Therefore, she was greeted everywhere with a bang, and then they began to ruin and slow down. She arrived at the plant only after 6 years. But even at the end of 45 thousand copies, the series survived.

- Why did they begin to ruin?
- Because there was a big fight. There were groups who believed that there should not be good computing technology, and organizedly sabotaged its implementation. I know a lot of examples, not only of our development, but also of others, when such things happened.

- How did microelectronics cope with the problems of perestroika?
- We had such a "Club 80", which included the leading circuitry of the country. Once a year in Riga we had gatherings. There worked a completely brilliant developer Andrei Nikolaevich Kolesnikov. He started with microprocessors, all sorts of systems, and then there was a colossal project for a digital telephone exchange.

If you read Julian Semenov, he had Stirlitz after the war worked in Spain. And not just where, but at ITT, which developed the most ambitious digital telephone exchange system at that time. It was called System 12, then they sold it to Alcatel, he supplied the system to Russia, and we went to its opening in Surgut. Ingenious station, about 40 million lines of code are written there. The special language CHILL was developed, the system was written by 8000 people.

ITT came up with an “eternal summer mode” for programmers. That is, they built camps around the world, and people moved from one to another after the season. They came up with a lot of things, and in this work, I believe, was the first super-difficult task in the history of mankind. Next came the software for American lunar programs. For the Apollo, it was written by 10 thousand programmers from the New York branch of IBM, if I remember correctly. Well, the third is modern operating systems, the same Windows, which also exceeded 40 million lines. That is, these are systems that one person is not able to calculate in his entire life, the level of complexity has exceeded a certain threshold. Therefore, the qualifications of managers of such projects are growing non-linearly. These are completely unique people should be.

So, we gathered in Riga, evaluated what can be done, what architectural decisions to make. There was just a year when the Americans released the 386th. And here it became clear to everyone that you could not catch them anymore. There was a gap, which will only increase further.

Why did this happen? The industry was chronically underfunded. For some reason, it was believed that on old investments we would catch up with the West with minor improvements. Nothing like this. It was necessary to build new industries, to spend money on research and development. , . , - .

— ?
— 90-. . 10–12 , . , 90-, IT- , . . , «». , , . .

— 12- . ?
— . — 23 . , . . , . : ! .

— . — - , 28 . , - 40500 . , . , . Lingvo, . . , . — 10 . . , , , .

— ?
— . — . , . , . , .

, . , . 8- , , 60- — Intel . 512, 1024 . , .

, -2000 — . , , - . - . , , , , .

. , , - . - . - : . - , . . , , . , , , , 512 , , , . - 40 , . . — . . . . , . .

What could be? — . . , — , . , . — . IBM , . . , .

, , — . — , . , . , .
, , . , . 25, , . , .

, , , - , . , - . , . . .


All Articles