Boris N. Malinovsky | History of Computing in Ukraine

Boris N. Malinovsky

Boris Nikolayevich Malinovsky is one of the pioneers of computer technologies in Ukraine, and one of the witnesses to its inception during the 1950s. He took part in a number of projects, including the development of USSR’s first semiconductor multipurpose control computer “Dnepr”, as well as the first family of micro-computers: «Elektronika C5», mini-computer M-180, signal processors and so forth. He spent the last ten years writing books on the establishment and development of Ukrainian computer-building during the first post-WWII decades, and about his participation in the Great Patriotic War.

Boris Nikolayevich Malinovsky was born on August 24, 1921 in Lukh, Ivanivska Oblast, into a family of teachers. In 1939, upon completing middle school, he was drafted into the army. During the Great Patriotic War, he participated in battles on a number of fronts, he was wounded twice, and progressed from sergeant, to senior lieutenant, to commander of an artillery battery. Officer titles were earned at the battlefront, without attending officer school.

In 1950, Malinovsky graduated from the Ivanovo Energy Institute and began graduate study at the Institute of Electrotechnology, part of the Ukranian SSR Academy of Sciences in Kyiv. He received his Candidate’s title in 1953, and Doctorate in 1964. In 1954, Malinovsky became a researcher at the laboratory of computer technologies at the Institute of Electrotechnology, then deputy director for scientific research, and head of the digital machines department at the Ukranian SSR Academy of Science’s Computing Centre. From 1962-1981, he was the administrator of the cybernetic technologies department, and was head of the control machines department at the Institute of Cybernetics, which was named after V.M.Glushkov, from the Ukranian SSR’s National Academy of Sciences. In 1969, Malinovsky was elected corresponding member in the “computer technologies” specialty at of the Ukranian SSR’s Academy of Sciences (now the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). In 1981, he became advisor to the directorate of the academy. Overall, Malinovsky spent over 60 years working for the Academy, with all of his involvement related to computer technologies, starting from its inception in Ukraine.

Malinovsky devoted his key works to substantiating the theory of designing, practical creation and application of digital computing and control machines.

From 1958-1961, Malinovsky was lead designer of the semiconductor multipurpose control computer “Dnepr”, the first machine of its kind in the USSR, and the “first child” of the Ukrainian computer-building industry.

In the later years, Malinovsky was the initiator and director of several projects on the creation of a wide variety of state-of-the-art digital control systems based on the “Dnepr”. Kyiv Scientific Production Association “Elektronmash” produced over 500 machines designed by Boris Nikolayevich, all of which were successfully used, especially in Russia. He also initiated the creation of the journal “Control systems and machines”.

From 1969-1979, Boris Nikolayevich was chairman of the board on the automation of scientific research at the Presidium of the Ukranian SSR’s Academy of Sciences. By the mid-70s, the board with the help of countless institutes, the board created over 100 digital systems, including those based on “Dnepr” for automation of laboratory experiments.

From 1973-1986, Malinovsky took part in the development of the first wide application microcomputers in the USSR (for example “Elektronika C5”, with the assistance of Leningrad technology design bureau “Svetlana”, and “Neuron”, with the assistance of Kyiv Scientific Production Association named after S.P. Korolev), as well as the development of signal processors for new-generation surface and on-board digital communication systems. During these years (due to the agreement between the USSR Ministry of the Means of Communications Industry and the Institute of Cybernetics, named after V.M. Glushkov) he also did a lot of work on scientific and methodological administration of, namely mass computerization of the communications industry project using microprocessor technology.

In 1998, Malinovsky organized the International symposium “Computers in Europe. Past, present and future”, which attracted a number of participants including Sir Maurice Wilkes from Great Britain - the creator of EDSAC, the first ROM-based computer.

Malinovsky authored and co-authored over 200 research papers and inventions in the computer science and technology sphere. In recent years, he wrote several monographs on the history of computer technologies, first in Ukraine and Russia, such as: “Academician S. Lebedev” (1992), “Academician V. Glushkov” (1993), “The History of Computer Technologies” (1995), “Essays on the Hstory of Computer Science and Technology in Ukraine” (1998), “The Known and the Unknown in the History of Information Technology in Ukraine” (2001, re-published in 2004), “There is Nothing More Precious” (2005), “Store Eternally” (2007, in Ukrainian, Russian and English), and “Documentary Trilogy” (2011).

He also taught 10 Doctors and over 40 Candidates of Sciences.

Among his awards are two State Prizes of Ukraine, awards named after S.A. Lebedev and V.M. Glushkov awards, and from the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the V.I. Vernadskiy award. He is an honored worker of science and technology of Ukraine. Malinovsky was decorated with orders of the October Revolution, of the Workers’ Red Banner, of the Great Patriotic War of the First and Second degrees, of the Red Star, of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, and medals “For Service in Battle”, “For the Defense of Moscow”, “For the Victory over Germany”. He was also awarded the Honorary Certificate of the Ukrainian Supreme Council and the Honorary Certificate of the Institute of Cybernetics at the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the creation of the first electronic computing machine SECM in continental Europe, and for carrying out the first scientific studies on it.

The semiconductor general-purpose control computer “Dnepr” is currently being preserved in Moscow Polytechnic Museum and has been certified as a Monument of national science and technology.

Malinovsky also wrote two books about his participation in the Great Patriotic War: “The Way of a Soldier” (1974) and “They Didn’t Choose Their Fate” (1995).

Until November 2019 , the great scientist is an advisor to the directorate of the Institute of Cybernetics (named after V.M. Glushkov), as well as the chairman of the Council of the House of Scientists, the president of the Fund for the history and development of computer science and technology, and a member of the Board of the Committee for veterans’ affairs at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, on November 13, 2019, Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky passed away, but the memory of him will remain for many years in the hearts of relatives and friends, comrades, students and everyone who had the good fortune to work and live with him ...