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MESM Soviet computer project marks 60 years

Brian Heater
December 26, 2011
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Before you go complaining about your job, take a moment to remember the MESM project, which just marked the 60th anniversary of its formal recognition by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The project, headed by Institute of Electrical Engineering director Sergey Lebedev, was born in a laboratory built from scratch amongst the post-World War II ruins of Ukrainian capital city, Kyiv, by a team of 20 people, many of whom took up residence above the lab. Work on MESM -- that's from the Russian for Small Electronic Calculating Machine -- began toward the end of 1948. By November 1950, the computer was running its first program. The following year, it was up and running full-time. The machine has since come to be considered the first fully operation electronic computer in continental Europe, according to a Google retrospective. Check out a video interview with a MESM team member, after the break -- and make sure you click on that handy caption button for some English subtitles.

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