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The director and founder of the Institute of the Cybernetics of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, academician Mr. V.M.Glushkov developed computers to fulfill mathematical and technical needs in Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the father of PROMINJ, MIR-1, MIR-2 and MIR-3 computers.

MIR-2 System

Information about MIR-2 computer (Source: ERT 1/1974 Pertti Jotuni)

The MIR-2 computer represented exceptional design in many ways. It represented many new features compared to other computers manufactured at that time. MIR-2 was designed to process mainly mathematical and analytic problems. The design was not limited to solve only numeric mathematical problems but MIR-2 was capable of handling also symbolic expressions. That was the most significant feature in MIR-2. The computers manufactured in Soviet Union or in any socialist countries had a special feature where the future purpose of the computer was taken into account already in the manufacturing phase. So the designed function of the computer could not be later changed only by changing the program. MIR-2 represented this trend while it was very highly developed on its own area of use. Computer specialists evaluated MIR-2 to be the most advanced computer in the world at that time, especially because its capabilities of solving mathematical problems and handling symbolic expressions.

Basically it was possible to use also older computers to handle the assignments defined for MIR series computers. The main difference between older computers and the MIR series computers was that handling symbolic expressions or handling symbolic operations needed a lot of data processing capacity and computer time because the resolutions of the assignments had to be deployed into the programs itself.

The first computer of this series was PROMINJ which was the basic type for the development of the later versions. MIR-2 was the third model of this series of computers. The second model was MIR-1 and the fourth model was MIR-3. The computer specialists in Technical University of Helsinki defined MIR-3 to be the first computer where the symbolic processing capacity was extended even to the level of verification of  expressions. Instead of that MIR-2 was able to manipulate only elementary functions and the most common operations related to differential and integral calculus.

It was quite difficult to compare MIR-2 to conventional computers because of their different functional modes and different approach of functions. Technologically MIR-2, which belonged to the second generation of computers was concidered as a small or middle size computer when evaluated by the size of the hardware.  On the other hand if MIR-2 was evaluated by its performance it reached the same category with IBM system 350 model 67, which was in general a quite big computer. But the nature of MIR-2 was totally different compared to an IBM machine and this was as specialization always is, naturally a great advantage and on the other hand a limitation.

It was also quite difficult to compare MIR-2 to other computers on the technical level. The core memory of MIR-2 was eight bits but on the other hand it was working in its own configuration the same way as a typical high memory. There were also other differences compared to other computers. MIR-2 was not applying binary number system. It operated by using decimal system also internally, not only by input and output.

The working environment for MIR-2 was interactive. The interface between MIR-2 and the user was carried out by using a graphic monitor. The monitor was built by modifying a normal television tube to work with a light pen. The data input by using the screen and light pen were not yet complete in MIR-2 but it was enhanced in the next series of MIR computers. Creating a programming language for this kind of computer was also a very challenging task. The language should be user-friendly for the user to define mathematical functions while it should also enable the user to utilize the special features of MIR-2. The whole programming language had to be created from the scratch and nothing from the normal symbolic based languages could be utilized as such.

The language that was created for MIR-2 was naturally also symbolic. It resembled very close to normal spoken language and supported the use of mathematical syntax itself in immediate programming. The language contained only 20 basic commands and 60 statements. While the language consisted only of a few commands and the mathematical symbolic language could be established as such it was relatively easy to learn the basics and the basic use of the language.

MIR-2 computer was in use in the computing center of the Technical University of Helsinki in Otaniemi. It was taken in use in the early February 1974. It was used as one part of the computing center machinery.

MIR-2 computer was donated to the Association in 2003.

More information about MIR-2 and other Russian made computers can be found from the following addresses:




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