Davlet Islamovich Yuditskiy
Text: Boris Malashevich
Edition and translation: Alexander Nitusov
History of the soviet computers (and computers in general) is a new subject. Although some printed publications and conference reports have already appeared, both in Russia itself and (a book and several articles) in European sources it is still covered with white spots. There's no need to say that the reasons are numerous. Partly it could be explained with the young age of computer engineering itself. The atmosphere of secrecy which surrounded hardware design and production in the USSR (but not only there) also contributed to this reality. Of course one should not forget that it was caused primarily by the confrontation and arms race of the cold war. The same cold war also caused information “iron curtain”, which, by the way, proved to have rather peculiar characteristic. It was rather a “one side liner”, because the East “filtered” Western information but did not block it, when the West did not admit “the red propaganda” at all – just substituted with its own sort of “information” about the “Eastern horrors”. The problem to what extent it functioned in reality is rather discussable but the result is clear – the “free Westerners” did not know almost anything about the Soviet achievements. That is really a pity because, generally speaking, the history (no matter which) belongs to everybody.
Yuditskiy Davlet Islamovich
However, one should be fair. It's not only the propaganda to be blamed but the soviet computer history itself is not yet studied enough, so we still have much to discover. Especially interesting was the early period when the soviet computers were not only efficiently developed but often displayed better design and performance than their foreign analogues.
One of the principal reasons for the post-war explosive computer progress consisted in enthusiastic work of the numerous scientists of all levels, which was maintained by “lucky combination” of the general industrial and economic advance and the superb educational system providing unlimited possibilities for everybody . Those times motivation of the majority was focused much more on pure scientific interest and some “social responsibility” (or even patriotic feelings) than on career or promotion. If usage of the notion “heroes of science” isn't a big mistake then Davlet Islamovich Yuditskiy was definitely one of them.
Davlet Yuditskiy was one of the young engineers who participated in design and assembling of the first soviet serial computer “ Strela ” (arrow). He also conducted a large part of the project “Ural- 1”, the first computer in mass production and headed design of K-340A – the world first computer, whose performance exceeded 1 Million ops. Later Yuditskiy designed the world first really multi-processor computer 5E53, more advanced in performance and reliability then any other computer of that time. He also became one of the most significant experts in the Rest Classes Arithmetic, his researches outstripped the foreign works for about ten years.
D.I. Yuditskiy was born on the 22 nd of September 1929 in Baku ( Azerbaijan ) into family of a book-keeper. During the Russian Civil War (1918-1920) his father Islam-Girey served in the Red Army, in cavalry division. As he was seriously wounded and could no more participate in actions, he -Islam-Girey- was placed into a hospital in a spa Pyatigorsk (a beautiful town in the North Caucasus ). During his treatment in Pyatigorsk he met a young Dagestan girl Maryam-Khanum who soon became his wife. At first the young couple remained in Pyatigorsk but later moved to Baku, where they settled and had two children, the daughter Safiyat-Khanum and the son Davlet-Girey.
The mother Maryam-Khanum was an educated woman, as a girl she had graduated from a state grammar school. She was fond of reading and also passed that interest to her children. Davlet-Girey learned reading in early age, when he was five. Later his wife Irina remembered, “When somebody was reading for him or his elder sister was doing her school homework he was always sitting opposite and watching attentively. This way he learned to read text upside down”. In spite of good education the family was not rich. When the father died Davlet-Girey had to do all possible work. He was 17 then. In summer he worked in geological expeditions and in winter taught private lessons.
Having finished school he entered the Azerbaijan State University in Baku . He also found position of an evening school teacher of physics. Since then he developed interest to teaching which lasted his whole life. In 1951 he graduated and his diploma was submitted to the diploma competition at the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences. There Davlet-Girey won one of the first places, he was awarded a prize and invited to the Academy for the further, post-graduate study.
He accepted the invitation but his study did not last long. Soon an official arrived from Moscow to select five best graduates for working at the Special Design Bureau SDB-245 (in Moscow ), where one of the first soviet computers “Strela” was being created. Among those five were Davlet-Girey Yuditskiy and Irina Kasakova, who later became his wife. Same as his parents Yuditskiy had a happy family life until his last day.
One should not be surprised that a young man, “yesterday's student and scientificly inexperienced newcomer” was invited for the responsible government project. It was Bashir Rameyev, executive head of the “Strela” design who very cleverly distributed tasks among the colleagues. Rameyev was the eldest of the team – he was a little older then thirty.
During the last half-century legendary Design Bureau has undergone numerous transformations. It began its existence as SDB-245, then Scientific Research Institute of Electronic Machinery, later it was combined with one more institute and finally it became a Scientific Research Institute “Argon”. Yuditskiy left it in 1960 but his wife Irina is still working there.
D.I. Yuditskiy demonstrated unusual abilities not only as specialist but also as administrator. Very soon he was promoted to head his scientific laboratory and, a little later, his department. When “Strela” project was completed he participated in “Ural- 1” already as one of the leading experts. “Ural- 1” was the first computer of the famous series “Ural”, established and successfully lead by Bashir Rameev until 1970.
Full official name of Yuditskiy was Davlet-Girey Islam-Gireevich Yuditskiy. In Russia it sounded uncommonly “orthodox Muslim-Caucasian” and sometimes caused him rather ridiculous problems. Thus once, when he was visiting a (secret) enterprise of Ministry of defense, security officers on passport control point were so astounded with “abundance of Gireys” in his papers that they did not agree to admit him for several hours. On his return from the business trip indignant Yuditskiy rushed to his district department of census with application for “abridging” his name. As “truncation” of his first name did not meet any objections similar procedure with the second one (actually the father's name) failed on bureaucratic grounds. Thus he remained Davlet Islam-Gireevich Yuditskiy. However his colleagues and friends always loved him, independently of the length of his name, and humorously called not in official way, Davlet Islam-Gireevich but, one day Davlet Islamovich, another one Davlet Gireevich.
and D.I. Yuditskiy made the first attempt to start research and design of modular computer. However, it was a failure that time, not all could realise basic principles of the System of Rest Classes (rest classes arithmetic - RCA).
In 1960 F .V. Lukin – the director of the Scientific Research Institute No 37 (subjected to the ministry of defence) invited Yuditskiy to head the department at his institute where he should perform design of two powerful computers based on the rest classes arithmetic. Those were computers T-340A and K-340A for radio-location stations of the anti-rocket defence system. Israel Yakovlevich Akushskiy was invited together with him and appointed a chief of laboratory in Yuditskiy's department.
Both theory and applied methods of modular arithmetic as well as principles of modular computer design were suggested and developed by Yuditskiy and Akushskiy. Computer K-340A was in serial production, it demonstrated unusually high performance and reliability for those times. It was the world's first computer with performance exceeding 1 million ops (1.2 million double and 2.4 million common operations a second). The remarkable fact with K-340A consisted in its lowest operation/maintenance cost among all contemporary soviet computers. More than fifty such computers were produces at special computer plants. Due to its astonishing reliability and unique characteristics K-340A is still in operation. More than 40 years .
In January 1964 the same F.V. Lukin, who had been promoted to director of a new centre for researches in microelectronic, transferred Yuditskiy to newly founded Scientific Research Institute of Physical Problems where he was appointed a vice director on scientific work. Yuditskiy invited there the team of his colleagues from the Institute No 37 to begin new project – rest classes arithmetic based supercomputer.
At the same time designer in chief of the whole anti-rocket defense system development – general G.V. Kisun'ko, launched large-scale work on multi-channel launching complex for new generation of the anti-rocket system. Computer centre of the new system needed computer with performance of 3 million algorithmic ops (12 mil common ops). Government authorities decided to invite three independent organizations for project competition. Those were S.A. Lebedev with his institute, M.A. Kartsev for the Institute of Electonic Control Machinery and the centre of F.V. Lukin. According to the state commission conditions deadline for the pilot projects submission was appointed for the 30 th of March 1967.
That was the beginning of pilot project for computer “Almas” (diamond) which was prepared by joint efforts of F.V. Lukin, D.I. Yuditskiy and I.Y. Akushskiy and submitted to the state commission, which accepted it as the basic computer for the anti-rocket system. Finally their centre received an order for computer with performance of 10 million algorithmic ops (40 million common ops). The computer received code name - 5E53. Yuditskiy was appointed its designer in chief and also a deputy of G.V. Kisun'ko on computer engineering. New enterprise - Special Computer Centre was established in Moscow area for that purpose. Yuditskiy became its director .
In the beginning of 1971 design of the computer was completed. An experimental piece was assembled and all its units tested. All necessary documents were given to manufacturing plant, which began preparations for its serial production. Unfortunately it was never started. The works on the new anti-rocket system were finished and the investments in 5E53 were cut. By that moment the plant preparations for serial production were entering final phase and some single parts of the computer were already being manufactured.
That was a painful blow. However Yuditskiy managed to successfully complete some more projects. Thus he developed and implemented joint computer network for all enterprises of the town. His new computer “Electronica NC- 1” remained in commercial production for 15 years. Electronic switching centre “Yuryuzan'” for the telegraph communication network of the Ministry of Civil Aviation produced by his team was in operation more than 20 years serving the St. Petersburg airports. Multi-processor (up to 16 processors) computer complex “Svyas'- 1” was intended for various communication systems. It was in serial commercial production at the St. Petersburg plant “Krasnaya Zarya”. D.I. Yuditskiy was also famous as designer of the first soviet microprocessors and very popular micro-computer family “ Electronica NC ”. His centre performed much more projects, however, soon it was decided to close it although most of the concerned ones found it unreasonable.
From 1976 till 1982 Yuditskiy changed four computer-related institutes where he was always vice-director on scientific work.
Yuditskiy was always an active scientist. Besides his pioneer work for rest classes arithmetic and design of modular computers he authored general theory of “computer vitality” and made a great contribution in creation of the first soviet micro-processors and micro-computers.
In 1962 he received scientific degree “candidate of technical sciences” and in 1968 was awarded his doctorate. He also participated in establishing of the chair “Computer engineering” at the Moscow Institute of Electron Engineering, where he taught several years.
Among his main scientific works one can mention 63 publications: including 2 monographs, 20 articles, descriptions of 30 inventions and 30 foreign patents ( USA, France, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland, FRG, GDR). All his patents were received for researches on rest classes arithmetic (modular arithmetic) and microprocessor engineering. As university professor he also advised numerous theses for scientific degrees.
D.I. Yuditskiy had relatively few publications for notable scientist. The reasons were two. First and the chief one – most of his important works belonged to military field and were naturally “top secret”. The other one consisted in his moral principles – he always refused to sign his name under articles for which he did too little. Some young researchers tried to include important scientists as co-authors into their publications, what could be a good promotion factor. Yuditskiy always grew angry with such proposals, but if he saw an able young person doing some promising work he was ready to help without any “pay-back”.
He was working as vice director on scientific work at the Institute of Computing Complexes when his short life suddenly came to its end. On the 23 rd of May 1983 he went to a business trip to an anti-rocket defense base in Kazakhstan near lake Balkhash. An extensive heart infarct interrupted his life in a few moments. He was only 53 then .
Davlet Islamovich Yuditskiy lived a short but intensive and notable life and left among his friends and colleagues most warm impressions of his charismatic personality. Many of them regularly come together to celebrate (posthumously) his jubilees. Thus they did so at his 60, 70 and 75 anniversaries .
The “story of Yuditskiy” could be completed with the words of general N.K. Ostapenko, former customer of the computer 5E53 and, after its finishing, designer in chief of the “Yuryuzan'” system. He said, “I am grateful to have had the lucky chance of working with the wonderful people, G.V. Kisun'ko and D.I. Yuditskiy. These both brilliant, highly educated persons possessed huge scientific, creative and managing potential as well as common “weak point” – they were unable for intriguing. Unfortunately scientific career and great deal of health of the both were complicated, or may be even partly ruined, by human jealousy and rivalry. It's a pity of course that their potential had not been fully realised. In reality, they were able to provide much more provided they had appropriate conditions”.
1. It should not be understood as complete absence of career ambitions. However, paradox of the situation (that times, but not later) consisted in concentration on social (also scientific) motivation with -logically following- intensive work, whose abundant results brought numerous scientific degrees, promotions, state awards, etc., but rather as “by product”, not the objective. That was the reason why many scientists received then -e.g. Doctor- degree without submitting any thesis (see Lebedev, Rameyev and more in the Museum).
2. His full name was Davlet-Girey Islam-Gireevich Yuditskiy.
3. this is linguistically correct form for many eastern countries (also for Island ) – the first - then the father's name.