Outstanding scientist Zinovy ​​L. Rabinovich

Published on June 30, 2016

Outstanding scientist Zinovy ​​L. Rabinovich

    He was a very charming, kind, sympathetic and cleverest person. A talented scientist who was enthusiastic about teaching others. Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Head of the Department of the Institute of Cybernetics, Honored Scientist of Ukraine, laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine. One of the authors of the first electronic computer in the USSR with a program stored in memory. For more than 60 years he was engaged in scientific activities, participated in the birth and development of Soviet digital computing technology and made an invaluable contribution to the theory of electronic digital computers. Zinovy ​​Lvovich participated in the design of external devices of MESM - the first electronic computer in the continental Europe and the USSR with a program stored in memory. He is also the chief designer of the Specialized Electronic Calculating Machine (SESM) for solving systems of linear algebraic equations. This computer has become the forerunner of vector processors.



    The beginning of the way


    It all began on the night of August 1, 1918 in the city of Kiev, when the boy Zinovy ​​was born in the family of a doctor and nurse. After the birth of his son, parents rent an apartment on Demeevka (then, the outskirts of Kiev). The father, as a doctor, enjoys great prestige and love of the proletariat. Education, as Zinovy ​​L'vovich recalled later, was “classical and, at the same time, multi-polar, in which the“ classics ”intermingled with the new Soviet trends.

    Zinovy ​​Lvovich recalls:
    My father hired a governess who taught me up to preschool age with three other children, but at the same time she lived with us and mainly dealt with me.

    Subsequently, the pro-Soviet upbringing in the family, then the school principles “as it should be” and the tendency to reasoning and practical comprehension, laid from early childhood, will serve as a choice to devote themselves to creative research activities.

    After graduation, Rabinovich enters the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, which graduated with honors in 1941. Despite the fact that on the night of June 22 Kiev was bombed, in the morning he was on a call from the institute going to defend his graduation project. During his diploma defense, an air-raid alarm sounds and almost the entire commission moves to an air-raid shelter, with the exception of a few people who listen to and evaluate the work as “excellent”.



    Kiev Polytechnic Institute

    After a couple of days, according to the mobilization, Zinovy ​​Lvovich is sent to the defense enterprise at the new MAP plant in Kirov. He gets into the serial design office (SKB), where he translates product documentation into working documentation in accordance with factory standards, assists in the development of these products in serial production and accompanies their planned production up to military acceptance. And all this takes place in extremely intense mode due to wartime conditions. At the beginning of the war, during the development of products, designers were even equipped with sleeping places in the red corners of the shops, so that they could be at the factory at night. The product, which led Zinovy ​​Lvovich and made it redesign and modernization, was not only high quality, but also the highest quality among the whole complex of products of the plant, which allowed him to improve aviation equipment. Later he will be awarded the medal "For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945."



    Medal "For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945"

    After the end of the war, the plant still works in the same mode for some time, but then peaceful production is added to the production, the former enormous tension decreases, the work rhythm becomes calm, more free time. At the same time, Zinovy ​​Lvovich has a desire for scientific work. Just at that time, Stalin issued an order for unhindered leave from defense plants and from the army of persons admitted to graduate school and adjunct. And it helps him make the final decision.

    Work with Lebedev


    In 1947, Rabinovich returned to Kiev, enrolling in graduate school at the Institute of Thermal Power Engineering of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, from which, on the arrival of S. A. Lebedev, in 1947 the Institute of Electrical Engineering distinguished itself.

    The production worker from distant Kirov immediately passes his candidate exams. This makes a favorable impression. He especially liked Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev and was admitted to him as a graduate school. But at the plant Zinoviy Lvovich was persuaded to work for another year and were released only at the insistence of the chief military representative. The laboratory to which Rabinovich came was engaged in the development of basic tube components of electronic automation, but he was immediately introduced by Sergey Alekseevich into the beginning contract work on the creation of the installation of semi-natural modeling of aircraft systems. The installation was to consist of a platform with three degrees of freedom, an analog computer, simulating the movement of the aircraft, and a tracking precision system that accurately transmits the effects from the model to the engine of the platform.

    The idea and the main principles of the construction of this installation were highly appreciated in the journal Automation and Remote Control as an outstanding achievement by S. A. Lebedev. Much later, Rabinovich Z. L., with details previously subject to secrecy, will set forth this work in his writings about S. A. Lebedev, to whom he treated with great respect and love. And as he himself wrote in his memoirs, “in addressing him I felt as if I was addressing God, as a believer does in his mind, without embarrassment, directly.”

    Development of MESM and SESM


    Starting in 1948, together with work on the installation, S. Lebedev entrusts Rabinovich Z.L. other, auxiliary works, when creating the first Soviet computer MESM (Small electronic counting machine). This is the creation of a stand for the selection of lamps with the same characteristics, systems for automatic stabilization of the lamp heat, etc.

    SECM parameters:
    — двоичная с фиксированной запятой перед старшим разрядом система счета;
    — 17 разрядов (16 плюс один на знак);
    — емкость ОЗУ: 31 для чисел и 63 для команд;
    — емкость функционального устройства: аналогичная ОЗУ;
    — трехадресная система команд;
    — производимые вычисления: четыре простейших операции (сложение, вычитание, деление, умножение), сравнение с учетом знака, сдвиг, сравнение — по абсолютной величине, сложение команд, передача управления, передача чисел с магнитного барабана и пр.;
    вид ПЗУ: триггерные ячейки с вариантом использования магнитного барабана;
    — система ввода данных: последовательная с контролем через систему программирования;
    — моноблочное универсальное арифметическое устройство параллельного действия на триггерных ячейках.


    And from the end of 1949, he joined the development of electronic computing equipment - high-speed elemental structures, sequential arithmetic devices, etc., for which he was allocated a small group of engineers and technicians. Also Rabinovich is given a separate work on the development of a digital-printing output device, in which I. T. Parkhomenko took an active part. The development of this device related specifically to the creation of the MESM itself.

    To create the MESM, it was necessary to have a room of about 150 square meters. And about the same - for generators, batteries, control automation. It was necessary to place workshops and other services somewhere. Finding such a building in Kiev destroyed by war was very difficult. This room was allocated near Kiev, in the building of the former hotel at the monastery in Feofaniya. Despite the fact that the building was in disrepair, it was quickly repaired. The MESM was created on the first two floors, and a hostel for employees was arranged on the third floor. Work was in full swing. Every day from Kiev to the village of employees drove a dedicated bus. But at 17 o'clock he was leaving back. Therefore, people stayed at work for several days or even weeks. Z.L. Rabinovich, who returned home only on weekends, was no exception.



    The building in the suburb of Kiev - Theophany, where Lebedev's laboratory was located and the MESM was built

    on November 6, 1950, begins the trial operation of the MESM, and its transformation from a working model into a regularly working sample. The solution of the control problem was recorded by a special act, in which, after the signature of S. A. Lebedev and E. A. Shkabary, there was the signature of Rabinovich himself. But the car was still being finalized and only on December 25, 1951 was handed over to the state commission. Lebedev recommends Rabinovich to lead the development of the SECM, and he himself comes to Kiev to advise these developments.

    Development of SESM


    For 3 years (1948 - 1951), the MESM universal machine was created, and a year more was needed to create the SESM, which was commissioned in 1956 and became the first computer in Europe with a vector processor.

    In SESM a whole range of new products was applied for that time. It was used by customers for solving a number of tasks and entered with the MESM into the main equipment of the Computing Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, and then was transferred for training purposes to the radio engineering college.



    The specialized electronic counting machine of the SESM

    Z. L. Rabinovich believed that only after the SESM he fully asserted himself as a high-class specialist in the field of digital computing technology, and this circumstance, of course, greatly influenced his future scientific activities.

    Afterwards, KVIAVU addresses Z.L. Rabinovich with a proposal to conduct a search development of a digital target detection system using radar data. He is interested in this proposal, and together with B. N. Malinovsky they begin research. V. Glushkov is responsible for the scientific leadership of this work, together with the Ministry of Defense. The work is carried out in two directions: primary processing of radar information, automatic capture of the target and its tracking.



    Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky

    . V. M. Glushkov himself (through his works and lectures) plays no small role in the scientific aspirations of Z. L. Rabinovich. He is allocated a laboratory and from
    practical development, he proceeds to conduct independent scientific research in the field of computer theory (Computer Science), which began to gain momentum already at that time. Rabinovich's scientific group defines the subject of computer theory, which was included in the Encyclopedia of Cybernetics and answered at least two disciplines from Computer Science. Thanks to Z. L. Rabinovich, the concept of a hierarchical process of information processing in a computer appears, the interactions between its levels, which are divided into three groups - the element structure, the algorithmic structure and the computer architecture.



    Glushkov Victor Mikhailovich

    The results of this work were presented in "Elementary operations in computers" and "Fundamentals of the theory of computer elemental structures". They showed a structural process of processing information in computers at its two lower levels (operations on numbers and on words).

    The monograph “Elementary operations in computers” was a success in higher educational institutions (civil, military, including refresher courses), and was considered a “teacher’s reading book”. The book is gaining popularity not only in our country, but also abroad.

    The desire to learn new things and to develop switches Zinovy ​​L'vovich's interest to the development of computer machine intelligence. This concept, according to L. N. Korolyov, characterizing “the mathematical abilities of machines that are particularly significant for the efficiency of their use, especially in the mode of interactive human-machine interaction,” will be introduced by V. M. Glushkov and Z. L. Rabinovich and will be encyclopedic.

    Introduction of high level language (HLM)


    Rabinovich takes an active part in experimental development related to the principle of the use of high-level language (HLM). V. Glushkov, Z. Rabinovich, S Mikhnovsky, A. Stogny, V. Gladun, V. Shemansky submitted their first application for a high-performance machine based on this principle in 1962. But the usefulness of these works will be recognized only in 1968, when it becomes known about the appearance of such machines abroad. And the author's certificate will be issued only by that time.

    Then, the principle of the structural interpretation of HLM will perfectly manifest itself in small microprogram machines of the MIR series, and the department of Z. L. Rabinovich will continue to develop a universal high-performance computer, called "Ukraine", with an internal algol-like language, and additional tools for automatic organization of the computing process. The principle of the structural interpretation of the NCI was taken up in a number of highly authoritative organizations, of which ITM and VT named for them are particularly indicative. S.A. Lebedeva, who used it as one of the two fundamental principles of building the "Elbrus", the first domestic supercomputer that received excellent reviews abroad. Thus, the very strategy of creating a computer was changed, and the principle of bringing them closer to users was no longer questioned, but developed in every way.



    Interdisciplinary research


    In the spring of 1969, when Z. L. Rabinovich was 50 years old, as a result of these works, he was defended by a doctor of technical sciences. In 1970, Rabinovich was presented to receive the Prize. S.A. Lebedeva of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR together with B.N. Malinovsky and V.A. Melnikov.

    Since 1987, Zinovy ​​Lvovich has ceased to lead the department, but it remains to work, without ceasing to make new proposals, both in the field of computer technology and in the scientific and educational direction of artificial intelligence.

    In particular, he notes:
    The machine by design must be widely universal in the sense of efficiently solving both traditional computing tasks and processing complex data structures.

    The activities of this person covered many areas. So one of the directions of his intellectual search was related to the field of human thinking. He was interested in structural mechanisms and thinking processes, mainly creative. He asked himself what is the process of creative thinking in terms of processing information and what are the possibilities of its formalization.

    On this subject, he delivered a report in London at the World Cybernetics Congress. The report aroused interest. And later he was offered to repeat it at a conference on the philosophical problems of cybernetics, as well as to participate in the co-authors of the philosophical collective monograph “Management, Information, Intellect” edited by A.I. Berg and others.



    Monograph “Management, Information, Intellect” edited A.I. Berg and others.

    Developing this topic further, Z. L. Rabinovich proceeds to the comprehension of the nature of thinking in general and makes a report at one of the prestigious symposia. It was attended by the best specialists in neurophysiology and artificial intelligence, who accepted the Rabinovich hypotheses as a new approach to the study of the mechanisms and processes of thinking. He filled out a “niche” between the constructions of psychologists at the level of mental functions of the brain and neurophysiologists - at the level of chemical reactions in the brain. And in 1979, according to his report, an article was published in the journal “Cybernetics”, which interested not only cybernetics but also neurophysiologists and psychologists. The article includes the list of recommended literature on psychology, and Zinovy ​​Lvovich is invited to make a plenary report at the All-Union Congress of Psychologists.



    Zinovy ​​Lvovich had an extensive experience, more than 60 years of scientific activity, and the ability to communicate with people. He always shared tips with his students on the further development of research. Under his leadership, 43 Ph.D. theses were prepared and defended, later 11 of these candidates became doctors of science and scientists known all over the world.

    Zinovy ​​Lvovich did not become on November 2, 2009 due to the increased arrhythmia, which he had long suffered. But the name of this outstanding person with the glory of a prominent scientist in the field of computer science and technology is known both in the expanses of the post-Soviet space and beyond.