IT-Museum DataArt fully opened a virtual exhibition dedicated to the history of computers in Armenia

“Mathematical Machines of Armenia” – the first big special project IT Museum DataArt… It is dedicated to Armenian electronics engineers and computer technology, created by them in the second half of the 20th century.

The “Hrazdan-2” computer was put into production in 1961. In 1962, it was shown at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the USSR as the first Soviet computer of the second (transistor) generation

The Yerevan Scientific Research Institute of Mathematical Machines, opened in 1956, became one of the first organizations in the USSR initially focused on the development of computers. The first large projects of YerNIIMM were completed in the early 1960s; over the next 30 years, Armenian designers played a significant role in the history of the development of computing technology in Eastern Europe. New machines for science and education, industry and transport, administration and defense programs were designed and assembled in Yerevan.

Employees of the Perm University Computing Center against the background of the
Employees of the Perm University Computing Center against the background of the “Aragats” computer. Late 1960s

The project team tried to summarize the history of the most important developments of YerNIIMM, placing it in the context of the cultural, social and everyday life of Soviet Yerevan. To do this, we recorded several interviews with designers and engineers, including the oldest employees of the institute, talked with experts in the field of cultural history and architecture.

“Muse of Cybernetics”, Yervand Kochar, 1972. Photo: Radik Ananyan

The first tube machines and independent acquaintance with semiconductors; one of the first Soviet computers that left the USSR for export; small machines that had a chance to turn into Soviet PCs; the most balanced machine of the international project ES EVM; the strategic aviation control complex is only a part of the most notable subjects described on the exhibition page. You can find out what films the Yerevan engineers watched and shot, what jazzmen and bards they listened to, where they went in the evenings and went on weekends.

Monument “The Seagull” at the entrance to the city of Abovyan, 1960. Photo from the personal collection of Karen Balyan

We hope that even the connections between the “mathematical machines”, the post-war repatriation of Armenians and the modernist architecture with its glass and concrete will become much clearer for the visitors of the exhibition. Perhaps it will help someone to look at the history of local IT in their city or country from a new angle.

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