Our Compatriots – Computer Pioneers. Part 1.
Mykhail Kartsev. Late recognition
M. Kartsev (1923–1983) is one of those scientists, whose profound achievements got official and whole recognition, unfortunately, only after death. The academic elite didn't award him with high ranks.
Computer science and technique was his calling. He devoted to it all his time – at work, at home, on vacation.
Mykhail Kartsev was born in Kiev on March 10, 1923. Before the war his family moved to Odessa. At the first days of the Second World War he was drafted to the army. After discharge he studied at the radio technical department of the Moscow Energy Institute.
At the third year of studies he passed the examinations for the next year without attending lectures and in 1950, being the fifth year student, he becomes a part-time employee at the laboratory of electronic systems in the Energy Institute of the AS of the USSR. Over there young scientist participated in the one of the first USSR computer M-1 elaboration process. In 1952 he got a job of the young research worker in the laboratory of the electronic systems at the Energy Institute of the AS of the USSR. Working on the computer M-2, M. Kartsev demonstrated his great talent. A small group of people created the machine only in a year and a half! (it took twice longer to produce BESM and the team was much bigger!) Of course, the characteristics of the M-2 were lower than those of the BECM, but it was a solid machine (by Kartsev words). M. Kartsev defended his doctoral thesis on the results of the research, done during the elaboration of the M-4M that was designed for the computer gathering and processing of the radar data. For the construction of the machine he was awarded with the State Prize of the USSR (1967).
In 1969 the USSR government issued decree to create computer M-10. In December 1973 its industrial sample was tested, its serial production had begun and lasted for more than 15 years. Several dozens of sets were produced; most of them are still in use today. Several powerful computer complexes were created on the basis of the M-10 machines. Working in one of them, the machine M-10 and mathematic applications passed successfully state examination in 1976.
The computer M-10 was a multipleprocessor system of synchronous type and belonged to the machines of the third generation: its main logical elements were microcircuits of 217 series "Posol» ("Ambassador"). The machine was used to service complicated automated control systems in the real time scale, and also was able to solve a wide range of scientific and technical problems.
Being bit less productive than the American supercomputer "Cray-1" (due to imperfect elemental and technological base), the computer M-10 was better in terms of architecture possibilities. They are defined by the average number of machine cycles per one operation. The lesser is number, the better is architecture. This number for M-10 was between 0,9 and 5,3 for the whole spectrum of operations, and for the "Cray-1" – between 0,7 and 27,6.
The machine was elaborated for the System of Missile Attack Prevention (SMAP) and also for the general observation of the outer space. The information about it appeared for the first time in the "Pravda" newspaper (April 1, 1990, an article by A. Gorokhov "Standing on Perestryalove").
The task of the system was to provide the USSR military and political authorities with the reliable information on the missile attack threat and on the situation in the space (nowadays there are around 17 thousand objects of different origin, including functioning and non-active satellites, pieces of carrier rockets flying at the near-Earth orbits). The first division of SMAP is cosmic, the satellites recorded the rockets launch by the flame of their engines. The core of the system is its second on-land division, which includes powerful radar stations, situated in the different parts of the country (there were nine of them before the Soviet Union collapse: nearby Riga, Murmansk, Pechora, Irkutsk, Balkhash, Mingechaur, Sevastopol, Mukachevo), and also the network of computer complexes based on M-10.
Before 1980s the computer M-10 had the highest productivity (by some estimations 2030 million of operations per second), capacity of the core memory and carrying capacity of the multiplex channel in the USSR. For the first time in the world several progressive solutions were realized in the machine; the possibility to interconnect up to 7 computers synchronously during the direct (passing the multiplex channel) information interchange between the programs of separate machines and dynamic equipment allocation; the automatic reorganization of the processors' field was available; the computer got the second level of the inherent memory with capacity over 4 million bytes with easy access; the external interchange between both levels of memory was provided.
The novelty of the technical solutions was protected by 18 invention certificates and 5 certificates on industrial samples. In 1978 M. Kartsev initiated the works on new multi-processor vectorial computer; he utilized the experience gained during elaboration and production of the M-10 and M10M, and also the modern achievements in technology and electronic technique. The machine was conventionally called M-13. M-13 became the machine of the 4th generation. The big circuits were used as the elemental base. This multiprocessor vector machine architecture was designed to support real time large flows of information processing and consisted of four main parts: the central processing unit, the hardware devices for the operation system, communication device and the specialized processing unit.
In the multi-processor system of the IV generation M-13 some new technologies were used for the first time: the equipment of the post-operational cycles, which provided the independent work of the program regardless the number of processors in the system; the equipment for the segment-page memory organization, which extended the capacity of the file system; program controlled peripheral processor for operations like Fourier, Welsh, Adamar and Frenel transforms; calculation of correlation functions and spatial filtering etc. Average speed of the central part was up to 50 million operations per second (or up to 200 million of short operations per second), builtin memory was up to 34 MB, external interchange speed – up to 100 MB per second, equivalent speed of the peripheral processor on its type of tasks was up to 2 billion of operations per second.
For his innovative achivements M. Kartsev was awarded with the Lenin Prize (1978), with the "Red Labor Banner" order (1971), with "Sign of Honor" (1966) and with the medal "For Courageous Work". In 1967 M. Kartsev was awarded with the State Prize of the USSR. On April 23, 1983, he passed away. After 10 years in 1993 the Research Institute of Computer Complexes (Moscow) was given the name of its founder – Mikhail Kartsev.
By B.N. Malinovskiy.