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History of computer hardware in communist countries

From Academic Kids

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XYZ, 1958
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, 1974
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Odra 1305, 1974

The history of computing hardware in former communist countries is somewhat different compared to Western countries.

Since no free exchange of ideas was possible in this field, ruling parties' propaganda maintained that western constructions were next to useless and the West had strict export restrictions on this technology, everything had to be constructed from scratch or tacitly stolen.

This led to adaptations such as the use of metric inches when interpreting Western blueprints.

Contents

MESM

The first universal programmable computer in continental Europe was created by a team of scientists under direction of Sergei Alekseyevich Lebedev from Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology, Soviet Union (now Ukraine).

The computer MESM (МЭСМ, Small Electronic Calculating Machine) became operational in 1950. It had about 6,000 vacuum tubes and consumed 25 kW of power. It could perform approximately 3,000 operations per second.

Strela

In the Soviet Union, for example, the Strela computer 1953-1956, used 43-bit floating point words, with a signed 35-bit mantissa and a signed 6-bit exponent.

Seven Strelas were manufactured in Moscow by a factory in the Ministry of Instrument Making and Automation Means of the USSR; they were the primary debugging platforms for computing, the most productive computers in the Soviet Union during this period. Strelas could process 2000 instructions per second. The last version of Strela used a 4096-word magnetic drum, rotating at 6000 rpm.

Odra

One of the original constructions were the first Odra computers. They were manufactured in Poland and exported to other communist countries.

Robotron and ESER

In East Germany the main manufacturer of computer hardware was Robotron. They were involved in the ESER development of a standard across Comecon countries.

See also

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