Sergey A. Lebedev

1996 Computer Pioneer Award
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"Designed and constructed the first computer in the Soviet Union and founded the Soviet computer industry."


As head of the Moscow Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Techniques (IPM & CT) of the Academy of Sciences USSR, Sergey A. Lebedev created an active collective and scientific school for developing high-speed machines to solve new and complex problems. Lebedev considered such developments to be the motivation underlying the later development of digital computers and related sciences.

In 1951, Lebedev created a small electronic accounting machine (MESM). This was followed by the first computer, the parallel machine BESM-1 (8-10 operations/sec). The basis for subsequent computers in the USSR, the BESM-1 performed highly accurate floating-point operations over a large range of values.

Lebedev's work resulted in increased computer productivity, as evidenced by the M-20 computer (1958). The M-20 performed 20,000 operations/sec and featured partial operation overlapping, hardware organization of cycles, parallel processor operations, and a storage system.
By 1967 the work of Lebedev and his developer colleagues led to the universal high-speed computer BESM-6, which at 1 million operations/sec surpassed by more than an order of magnitude the performance of any computer developed up to that time in the USSR. The new machine was made possible by semiconductors and an advanced architecture. The BESM-6 contained features now considered compulsory in modern computing systems.

A significant part of Lebedev's legacy, exemplified in the BESM-6, was to advance the methods of computer design, including the use of mathematical simulation modeling of system execution.