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Essays on the History of
Computer Science in Russia.

Edited by D. A. Pospelov and Ya. I. Fet.


Printed by Scientific Publishing Center of the Siberian Division of RAS.


The book is a collection of various materials concerning the period of origin of computer science in Russia. Papers by leading specialists are included analyzing the ways of development of cybernetic movement in our country, as well as memoirs of the parti­cipants of those events, essays on most distinguished scientists and scientific schools, re­printings of some important papers of the ’50s and ’60s. A series of archive materials is published related to the activities of famous scientists of those days: A. I. Berg, L. V. Kantorovich, A. N. Kolmogorov, A. A. Lyapunov, and others.

The book is intended for scientists and for general readers interested in the history of computer science.


Preface (in Russian) 3

Preface (in English) 5

D. A. Pospelov. Development of computer science in Russia 7

I. Early history of Soviet cybernetics 45

A. A. Lyapunov. On the use of mathematical machines in solving logical problems 45

Discussion of the lecture by Professor A. A. Lyapunov “On the use of mathematical machines in solving logical problems” 52

S. L. Sobolev, A. A. Lyapunov, A. I. Kitov. Essential aspects of cybernetics 84

Discussion of the article “Essential aspects of cybernetics” by S. L. Sobolev, A. A. Lyapunov, and A. I. Kitov with the editorial board of the “Problems of Philosophy” journal. 103

Seminar on cybernetics, November 14, 1955 114

V. A. Uspensky. Fragments from reminiscences 121

V. A. Uspensky. Two paragraphs from the article “Preamble to the Semiotic Messages by Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov for the readers of New Literary Review 130

V. V. Ivanov, M. K. Polivanov, V. A. Uspensky. Theses on cybernetics with comments 137

A. N. Kolmogorov. Theses on cybernetics 142

A. N. Kolmogorov. Automata and life (synopsis of a report) 147

V. M. Glushkov. Some problems of computing and related mathematical problems 150

Discussion of cybernetics with A. A. Lyapunov, February 17, 1957 159

Resolution of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences (draft) 162

Minutes of the meeting on the establishment of an Institute of Cybernetics within the Physico-Mathematical Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences 164

A proposal on the establishment of the Institute of Cybernetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences 167

A. A. Lyapunov. Draft list of areas of research for the Institute of Cybernetics 169

I. A. Poletaev. Comments on the Draft list of areas of research for the Institute of Cybernetics by A. A. Lyapunov 173

The structure of the Institute of Cybernetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences 179

Resolution of the Presidium of USSR Academy of Sciences concerning the establishment of the Institute of Cybernetics 180

A letter by the Secretary of the Physico-Mathematical Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences to A. A. Lyapunov 183

R. I. Podlovchenko. A. A. Lyapunov’s contribution to cybernetics 184

N. V. Timofeev-Ressovsky. A word to mathematicians 189

A. P. Ershov. The teacher 193

Yu. A. Shreider. A. A. Lyapunov, a leader of cybernetics as a scientific movement 197

A. I. Fet. Recollections of Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov 206

I. B. Pogozhev. Lyapunov had a gift to presentiment the future needs of science 209

G. Sh. Fridman. A few words about Alexey Andreevich 211

A. I. Berg. A science of unlimited potentialities 213

M. G. Haase-Rapoport. Openning address at the First Seminar on the History of Cybernetics, December 22, 1983 222

M. G. Haase-Rapoport. On the formation of cybernetics in the USSR 225

II. Computer Linguistics 257

Vyach. Vs. Ivanov. Academician A. I. Berg and the development of structural linguistics and semiotics in the USSR 257

V. A. Uspensky. The “silver age” of structural, applied, and mathematical linguistics in the USSR and V. Yu. Rosenzweig: how it all began (notes of an eyewitness) 273

Vyach. Vs. Ivanov. From the past of semiotics, structural linguistics, and poetics. 310

O. S. Kulagina. A. A. Lyapunov and the machine translation 341

A. K. Zholkovsky. About Melchuk 351

I. A. Melchuk. How mathematical linguistics was born 358

III. Cybernetical problems of biology. 371

N. V. Timofeev-Ressovsky, A. G. Malenkov. An inheritance waiting for heirs 371

V. A. Ratner. Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov 379

V. A. Ratner. Igor Andreevich Poletayev 386

A. A. Titlyanova. A systemic approach in ecology (the way A. A. Lyapunov did it) 392

A. M. Molchanov. Limiting factors (according to Poletayev) and the principle of Le Chatelier 399

V. E. Demidov. Nikolay Alexandrovich Bernstein and biocybernetics 405

IV. Cybernetics in Economics 417

L. V. Kantorovich. My road in science (fragments) 417

L. V. Kantorovich. The prospect of the development and application of electronic calculating machines 429

L. V. Kantorovich. Report at the Annual General Meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences, March 27, 1959 437

L. T. Petrova. Commentary to the works by L. V. Kantorovich on large-scale programming 446

V. A. Zalgaller. Recollections of L. V. Kantorovich and of the emotions related to his works on economics 449

G. P. Akilov. He aimed at invisible targets 456

I. M. Gelfand. Leonid Kantorovich and a synthesis of two cultures 460

V. Biographical Materials 463

R. I. Podlovchenko. Reflections on the phenomenon of Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov 463

B. A. Trakhtenbrot. Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov 470

 “Computer Pioneer” awards for Russian scientists 480

M. M. Botvinnik. From the series “Portraits and sketches” 481

V. A. Uspensky. Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov — the great Russian scientist 484

L. V. Kantorovich. Autobiography 506

A. I. Poletaev. “Military cybernetics”, or A fragment of the history of a domestic “pseudo-science” 515

W. M. Tursky. Andrey Petrovich Ershov 531

S. S. Maschan. The last years of the life of academician A. I. Berg 536

M. A. Berg. Recollections of my father. Before the war 544

E. V. Markova. An echo of Gulag in the Academic Board on Cybernetics 551

Vyach. Vs. Ivanov. From the history of cybernetics in the USSR. An essay on the life and work of M. L. Tsetlin 556

N. N. Vorontsov. Afterwords to the “Pages of My Life” by M. M. Zavadovsky 580

A. A. Lyapunov. P. P. Lazarev: in memoriam 594

VI. Supplements 603

Cybernetics (an article from the “Concise Dictionary of Philosophy”, 1954) 603

In whose service is cybernetics? 604

A. N. Kolmogorov. Cybernetics (an article from the “Soviet Encyclopaedia”, 1958, Vol. 51) 614

Vyach. Vs. Ivanov, M. K. Polivanov, V. A. Uspensky. Wiener (an article from the “Soviet Encyclopaedia”, 1958, Vol. 51) 617

A. N. Kolmogorov. Foreword to the translation of the book “Introduction to Cybernetics” by W. R. Ashby. 618

A. N. Kolmogorov. Automata and life (report) 621


About the authors 633

Index 639

Contents (in English) 656

Contents (in Russian) 659