The history of domestic ICT: Mykola Brusentsov created a computer with a triple code

The history of domestic ICT: Mykola Brusentsov created a computer with a triple code

Peter Chachin

In February 2020, 95 years have passed since the birth of Mykola Petrovich Brusentsov (1925 – 2014), a Soviet and Russian computer specialist, Candidate of Engineering,
Honored Researcher of MSU, Chief Designer of Ternary Computer Setun.


He was born on February 7, 1925 in Ukraine in the city of Kamenskoe (now Dneprodzerzhinsk). In 1943 – 1945 he served in the RSCA, a participant of the Great Patriotic War. After demobilization he finished tenth grade
school of working youth in the city of Kalinini (now Tver) and in 1948 he entered the Radio Engineering Faculty of the Moscow Energy Institute.

As a researcher Nikolai Petrovich revealed himself during the writing of his diploma project – he calculated and compiled diffraction tables on an elliptical cylinder, known as Brusentsov’s tables. by
graduated from the MEI in 1953 Brusentsov was sent to work at SKB at Moscow University.

In those years headed the Department of Computational Mathematics, Moscow State University, Sergei Sobolev intended to get into the university existed then the computer M-2. But by coincidence, the car at MSU is NOT
hit. Sobolev also came up with the idea of ​​developing a small computer specifically for use in schools.

For this purpose a special problem laboratory was opened at the organizing center (OC) of MSU, and at it – a seminar where university programmers looked for ways to create
small, reliable, easy to use and inexpensive machine. Brusentsov, on the initiative of Sobolev, joined the seminar.

One of the main issues discussed was on what elemental basis to build the car. The tube machines already seemed cumbersome and energy intensive. Transistors just started appearing and were too
unreliable. Stopped on magnetic elements.

In April 1956, a seminar was held, the participants of which made the final decision to develop a small digital machine on magnetic logic elements, formulated technical
requirements and the appointed head of development – Nikolay Brusentsov.

In the years 1956 – 1958, a triple ferrite diode element was developed on the basis of the binary ferrite diode element of Gutenheimer and based on NP Brusentsov with a group of like-minded people
HC MSU triple computer “Setun”, named flowed along the river.

Such an unusual machine could be born only within the university walls. With its simplicity and practicality, Setun is obliged to represent numbers and commands in symmetric code (-1, 0, 1). In fact, at
university developers released the first RISC-computer (true RISC can only be a triple, Brusentsov believed). It is noteworthy that quantum computers are being developed these days
the principle is also threefold.

The serial production of Setuna was entrusted to the Kazan Plant of Mathematical Machines, but there was no desire to establish a large-scale production of these computers in the plant management. The plant produced 15 – 20
cars per year, a total of 50 cars were produced, 30 of which worked in high schools.

In 1961 – 1968 NP Brusentsov together with EA Zhogolev designed a new Setun-70 machine, which had a number of design innovations. Its current model was tested in 1970. But, yes
it is a pity that after the work on Setuny-70 was completed, Brusentsov’s laboratory was forced to stop the development of the Setun-70 machines and to start a computer system at the direction of the new management.

So under the guidance of NP Brusentsov one of the first computer systems of training “Mentor” was created in the USSR, the pedagogical system of Jan Amos became the didactic basis.

More about the materials about the works of N.P. Brusentsov and other Russian computers can be found on the site of the Virtual Computer Museum

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