“Minsk-1” – the first original Belarusian Computer

*First-generation computer Minsk-1*

The first completely original project at the plant became a computer names “Minsk-1”. Development of the device occurred in a fairly short time – 18 months. In parallel with the design of the machine, they also worked on preparing its series production.

Computer testing took place in September 1960, and the first production samples appeared in the same year. The speed of the computer was estimated at 2.5 thousand operations per second (for comparison: the speed developed by the Moscow Institute of Electronic Control Machines computer M-3 was about 30 operations per second).

Achieving these results was obtained in part through the use of high-speed memory on ferrite cores, which replaced the older memory on magnetic drums (in appearance, the memory on magnetic drums resembled the tank of a washing machine).

Ferrite cores were small rings of special magnetic alloy, 1.5 mm in diameter. For the “Minsk-1” there were 80 thousand such rings. 

"Minsk-1" - the first original Belarusian Computer 1

Ferrite core memory.

Programming for this computer was carried out in machine code, but included in the “delivery” of the machine was a library of 100 programs. Also some of the world’s first auto-programming systems — translators “Autocode Inzhener” and “Autocode Economist” – were developed for “Minsk-1”.

Another competitive advantage of the machine was its relatively modest size. It took about 4 square meters of space to accommodate the entire system, while some other computers (for example, the Moscow BESM) took as much as 100 square meters. 

All this has allowed the computer “Minsk-1” in the first half of the 60’s to become the leading type of tube production machines in the entire USSR. For four years, from 1960 to 1964, 230 “Minsk-1” computers were made, including a number modified for various industries.

“Minsk-11” was modified to work with seismic information and telegraph lines, “Minsk-12” was created with four times the external memory on magnetic tape. “Minsk-14” and “Minsk-16” were intended for the processing of meteorological data, and the “Minsk-100” was created by order of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR for the detection and storage of fingerprints and became the original fingerprint computer storage and retrieval system.