Created: 8/1/1973

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Soviet RYAD Computer Program




The Soviet Union's computer development program is in serious trouble. For some years, Moscow has been pushing its RYAD programa series of third-generation computersin an effort to meet the country's enormous data-processing The program, howovcr, is at least three years behind schedule, and large-scaleis not likely for several years.

By modeling RYAD computers after theeries, the USSR hoped to save both time and money and make use of the large stock of IBM Although the concept was sound, the program has been hampered by shortages of high-qualityout-of-date production and testingand absence of effective direction and coordination.

The USSR,olid technological base, persuaded Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland to de-emphasize their own computer plans and help develop some RYAD models. These countries, and the USSR, are now testing prototypesew of the models. Only the smaller RYAD models have reached limited-series production or the customer-testing stage. The Soviet Union has the sole responsibility forthe two largest RYADs, which are roughly comparable with IBM's powerful 5hese Soviet computers, however, require special integrated circuits that are being produced in the USSR only experimentally.

A. Although no firm target was ever announced, the USSR apparently was counting on producingYADs per year Probablyew hundred machines will be produced in that year. Moscow has recognized this fact and has abandoned plans to phase out production of the

Note: Comments and queries regarding thisare welcomed. They may be directed to the Office of Economic Research,


n obsolete second-generation computer. Indeed, output of an improveds scheduled tonits annually These machines will be the foundation of the automated management systems to be set up.

Andhe heart of our computer center

5. Additional Western help willritical factor in determining how fast the Soviet Union caneliable set of RYAD models. The United States, Prance, the United Kingdom, and Japan already have supplied machinery tokey RYAD components. Despite COCOMthe USSR has acquired much Westernand machinery to produce integrated Nevertheless, without additional Western aid, the USSR will find it difficult to mass-produce RYADs during the next plan period. Moscow now is seeking to purchase completeplants for the manufacture of integratedmagnetic tape and disc packs, disc drives, magnetic cores, and printers. Selected purchases of large machines for high-priority uses and an interest in Western computer programs forapplications also can be expected.




new family of third-generationRYAD, was recently displayed at theExhibition of National Achievements (VDNKh)

in Moscow. These computers had been scheduledapplication in industry during the. The RYAD program,in deep trouble. This publication discussesits goals, progress, and problemsthe prospects for RYAD production


computer production hasrapidlyear*the USSR is currently the world's thirdof computers, after the United States By US standards, however, the Sovietis still small; output ofnitsomparedn the United States and

in Japan. omparison of computers in use is even more striking: igital computers in the USSR and moren the United States. The Soviets have importedfrom the West and probably lessrom Eastern Europe.

S. Soviet computer systems differ from those in the United States and in the West in severalrespects. All Soviet computers currently in series production are second-generation machines (fitted with transistors). Although somecomputers are still made in the United

*According to official data on the ruble value of output. Computer production in the USSR isunder the heading "Means of Computer (Sredstva Vychislitel'noyhich includes spare parts for computers, peripherals, and possibly non-computer hardware such as The extent to which ancillary output may distort the actual growth in output of computers cannot be determined.


states, most US production consists of third-generation machines using integrated circuitsomputers with integrated circuits are generally faster and more reliable than transistorized models and can be built in much smaller sizes and, in the United States at least, at greatly reduced cost.

9. Host Soviet computers are "scientific" machines. Design has been optimized to handle numeric inputs (numbers) rather than alphanumeric inputs (letters, symbols, and numbers). Therefore, Soviet computers are most efficient in engineering applications. Most US computers are general-purpose machines designed for data processing but useful and efficient in engineering applications as well.

performance and reliability, mostare obsolete by US standards. Fortheerhaps the most widelycomputer for data processing, has anofperations per second, has

a maximum internal memory capacity0 words, and can operate, on the average, onlyours before failure. Data processing computers currently available in the United States operate ot speeds of several million operations per second with mega-word (million-word) memories and can run trouble-frea for sovcral hundred hours.

Soviot computer peripheralstape drives, printers, card readers, etc.are greatlyto their Western counterparts in quality, design, and performance. Peripherals and supplies (tape, paper, and cards)ajor cause of in-service failure of computer systemsatter of urgent concern in the USSR.

Finally, Soviet computer software systems are primitive by US standards. Cenerally the Soviets lack transferable high-level languages, application programs, and efficient operatingsoftware for most of their computers.* In the United States, both computer software andare developed by tho manufacturer for the user

** High-level Tanguages such as FORTRAN have tho special merit that almost anyone can be trained torogram; operating systems are software programs that operate the computer.

as an integrated package; in the USSB the user is forced to develop much ol his own software. Soviet computers are rarely identical,developed at user facilities is of limited or no value to other users, even to those employing the same model computer.

in the Eighth Five-Year Planplanners recognized the need for moregeneral-purpose computers and moreand peripherals for processing Although no official announcement wasA.A. Dorodnitsyn of the USSR Academyindicated to US businessmen in latea decision had been made toamilythird-generation machines (RYADs). remarks and other information, it

was apparent that Moscow hoped to modernize the entire Soviet computer industry relatively quickly.

General Aspects of the RYAD Program

The RYAD program is the USSR's first major effort toamily of computers designed specifically for economic and data processing applications. The RYAD seriesirect copy of theeries machines; technicalof RYADs andomputers are compared in Table 1. omparison of RYAD and other Soviet computers is given in Table 2.

The decision to copy IBM, strongly opposed by some who felt it degrading, had two distinct advantages. Byroved design, the Soviets hoped to avoid costly development programs and reach large-scale production more quickly than otherwise would be possible.* Theeries program was the most successful effort evertoamily of computers that, though differing in size and capabilities, were mutually

The task of copying may have been aided by the clandestine acquisition oferies computers and association documentation. This probably decreased the time and effort needed tooviet prototype, but the availability of the hardware for inspection does not reduce the effort needed to go from the laboratory to mass production.


Table I

TcchDlnl SpetdVatkiBi ol Selected RYAD tnd I


Cycle Tine*

Output Rite'


pre Second)






icqiuid lo exeoitf on? Million.

njuul loMibti ot hit.

ul Uipulwlpul corntioni

of itaiUoCiildmubleUMiiul ilmige Kili'ir

t'BilK umi of IMmni) uv4 to folio

Siilimi liBifnJ ivKr.-il

Table 2

Technical Speciltations of Selected RYAD and OlhcT Soviet Computers

Tune1 (Microicconds)

Memory Cycle Time2 (Microseconds)



imc rcquiicj io eiciute one Edition.

o leadpcttlkd numbci of bin.

Numtiri o( unlit of andrcmblc internal iloragr jvailablc.




compatible. Subject only to hardware limitations on speed and memory size, programs designed for any model in the series can be run on all other models. Soviet computers generally are notwith each other. The Soviets also hoped to make RYADs compatible withachines, since this would give them accessarge IBM library of systems software and applications programs. The USSR could also supplement domestic production by importing IBM machines and compatible

peripherals manufactured by IBM and other Western firms.

Soviets planned to put RYADproduction This enormouslyinvolved the concurrent developmentareas of technology that were poorlyin the USSR Integratednot being produced serially, nor wereprinted circuithich,integrated circuits, arc theblock of third-generation computers. disc technology, essential for allwas only in early stages of development.

To help meet the program's challenge, the USSR turned to Eastern Europe.

Role of Eastern Europe

EMA-wide programleadership and control inCzechoslovakia, East Germany,Poland reluctantly agreed to cooperateUSSR in the joint development andRYAD computers. These countries wereSoviet computers and were not anxioustheir dependence on Soviet computer The East Europeans strongly opposedbecause they already had computerthat were tailored to their specialcommitment to purchase RYADs wasfor Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,Poland, since they had licenses tostyle computers that were notRYAD. Eastern Europe was first givenfor developing software and peripheral

* Used for mounting and interconnecting the ICS.



hardware. heir role was expanded to include producing central processing units as

18. The East European computer industry is quite small. Poland, with the largest, hasonlyomputers during the pastears. Nevertheless, capability to producedesign computers has improved markedly in recent years through the acquisition of Western computers and computer-related technology. Poland has built prototypesedium-sized third-generation computerased on British design and hasinicomputerased on UK technology acquired illegally. allegedly has acquired French technology to produce integrated circuits for calculators and Japanese technology to manufacture magnetic tape drives. Hungary and East Germany areew third-generation process control computers based on imported components. Poland soon should have the best capability to produce integrated circuits in Eastern Europe, having acquired an integrated circuit production facility from France. Czechoslovakia manufactures ICs in small quantity based on clandestinely acquired US technology.

Models: Characteristics, Uses.

19. The RYAD program will have six basicmodels referred to, interchangeably, as the ESeries. In ascending order of complexity, they are the and

The Smallest of the RYAD series, thes memory and low processing speed restrict itsto simple engineering tasks, teaching applications, and limited process control and data processing operations, it can serve alsoatellite processor for larger RYAD computers in preparing input data or controlling peripherals.

1 The central processing unit includes the main memory and arithmetic circuitry.



The Having about the same speed as the0 computer and the Soviotheill be used for data processing or engineering problem-solving at tho enterprise level.

The Several times faster than thendemory twice as large, thes about equivalent to an It will be used in medium-sized enterprises.

The. According to claimed specifications, thearge computer, roughly comparable with the it is large enough tomultiprogramming and time sharing and will be used by productionor regional computer centers for complex economic and scientific problems.

The Faster than theut having the same maximum memory size, thes the counterpart of the It is to be used for planning at the Republic or All-Union level.

The lanned speedillion operations per second and a

maximum memoryillion bytes, theompares with the largestomputers. It will be used at the highest levels of government for the most demanding

planning, economic, and scientific

weather prediction) problems.

odels of the approximatelyasic types of peripheral machines will be produced in the USSR and in Eastern Europe for use with RYAD. Some typesmagnetic disc storage systems, video terminals, plotters, and alphanumeric optical readersare not yet in production in the Soviet Union, while other peripherals currently inwill be redesigned and improvedfor RYAD use.

20. All RYAD models, except possibly theinicomputer and there under development in the USSR. The very largest machines.

thendre-being developedby the USSR and the others jointly with Eastern Europe. Hungary is building theith the helpicensed French design* that has been modified extensively to meet RYADstandards. Thes Bulgaria'salthough versions with greater speed but smaller memories are being developed in East Germanynd in Czechoslovakia Poland is developing the basic model of thend Czechoslovakia isodified versionthe East Germany is the only country working on the The principal development production centers for RYADs in the USSR and Eastern Europe are shown in Table 3.

The prices available for two RYAD systems are surprisingly high. Thes priced atubles Thes pricedillionor comparison, rough counterparts in the IBM0ost07 million, respectively.

The high RYAD prices reflect the high costs of prototype production. The price cf theeems low relative to that of theuggesting that the bigger models in the RYAD series may be subsidized. The price of thes about four times that of thehereas, for IBM, the price of the larger model

is about seven times the smaller one.

production costs decline withproduction and unless the USSR'son Prices decides to cut prices, of computers will find RYAD priceswith those of existing .cadinq Sovietnoted that: "somecomputers with the same capacity aswill cost several timesmeasures are implemented toprices, second generationbe used extensively." In fact, the

Possibly theeveloped by Compagnie Internationale pour 1'Informatique. ** At the official rate of exchange.


Tabic 3

USSR and Eastern Europe: Facilities for RYAD Production1

Country and Model




East Germany



Biest Electrotech-nical Plant/Brest

Minsk Computer Plant (Oidzhon-ikidze)/Minsk

Yerevan Experimental Computer Plant/ Yerevan

Moscow Computeroscow

Penza Computer Plant/Penza







Video ton/ Sickesfchervat


several dozen units have been built. Apparently convened for computer production.

Development, testing, andproduction. Full-scale production of RYADs has been delayed owing toproduction of.

Development, testing, andproduction. May be preparing for production. This plants previous productionIR! computers may have been shifted to the Baku Radio Plant.

Prototype production. Planning to

fabticaie five prototypespparently preparing for production.

Still in designrototype hai nol yel been produced.

A few models hare been assembled using imported components.

A piniotype reportedly has been produced.

Uuiiei design.

Several units reportedly have been produced.

Development, testing, and prototype production.

Preparing (orewhave been built.

Development. Idling,prototype production

AwcniMf ol central prceewng unilr 2. torn o(odel*



costs throe times as much as the MINSK-320hehich has roughly the same computing power as theill costubles, nearly twice as much.

additionuch higher initialprice, the RYAD, because of itsand software, will require the usermore people with higher skills. Thisoperating costs. At three times thocost and many times the operating cost,would need to perform several timesworko be competitive. which cost more to buy, will probably encounterespecially from smallerthe technical capabilities offered byare adeguato.

Production Goals

No official plan for production of RYAD computers has been announced. lan provides only that the USSR will "put into series production now systems of electronic computers based on integrated circuits."

There is much evidence, however, thatobjectives for RYAD productiono exist. rototype had beenhe Soviets began to talk The Deputy Chairman of the State Planninge. Rakovsky, stated00 third-generation computers would be produced. The Soviet press reported that more0 third-generation computers wouldthe base of the automated systems ofto be set up.* Other sources said that the total number of computers of all types in use in the USSR would increase 00n increase possible only with large-scale production of RYAD or other third-generation

* AvtomaVizirbvannye Sistcmy Upravleniya everal such systems have been developed by andew large plants. The heart of theseis thecenter* (Infl' niy Tscntr 1VT) which typically includes one or more computers for data processing.


computers or with massive .imports.* Sovietindustry officials alsoS consulting firm that the USSR would0 RYADsnother aspect of the RYAD program callsuge training effort to provide skilled programmers, systems analysts, and technicians. ,omputer specialists will be trained,0 systems analysts. That number of trained specialists, based on US experience, would be sufficient to maintain0 RYAD Together, these statements suggest that the Soviets hoped to beYADs annually

Cost of the RYAD Program

RYADostly program in terms of both expenditures and manpower. The cost of developing RYAD (hardware and software) was estimated by Academician Dorodnitsyn7 atillion rubles8lthough the USSR'sburden has been reduced to some extent by Eastern Europe's participation in the program. This cost is equivalent to that of building and equipping three plants the size of the Kama Truck Plant, the largest heavy truck plant in the world. In the United States, the counterpartwas developed at an estimated cost of S5

Although the RYAD program is large, the program's manpower requirements seem astonishingly high. According to Sovieteople are involved in the program in the USSR and Eastern Europe. By comparison, onlyeople were employed in the entire US computer industry

RYAD's manpower requirements probably

* Besides the RYADs, the USSR is developing third-generation computers for process control in industry. That program, called Augrcgatnaya Sistetna Srcdstv vychislitel' noyenters oneries ofow claimed to be in the early stages of production.

** In tho United States, three programmers are needed at the user facility for eachand one is needed at the plant for every three systems.

*** At the official rate of exchange.

1 3


be cut back sharply when RYAD moves out of development and into large-scale production. In the Unitedabor force0 couldmall RYAD systems annually,components (integrated circuits and memory cores) and all the peripherals needed for aconfiguration.

29. Although manpower needs may fall, theto large-scale production of RYADs will strain the production capacity of tho Sovietindustry. The estimated requirements for electronic components and peripherals to support an annual production ofYADs of the simplest typendtandard configuration are large relative to current Soviet capabilities. This situation may be seen in theg tabu1at ion.

YADS Soviel Output


(millionmemory cotes

(billiondisc units




30. In addition, atillion squat's feet of floorspace would be required to assemble the central processing units alonemore than half of tho estimated floorspace in the eight Soviet plants known to be major producers of these units. The largest computer assembly facility in the USSR, the Minsk Computer Plant, hasquare feet of floorspace, an amountto produceYADs annually. Toer year, the USSR would need four plants the size of the Minsk Plant just to assemble central processing units; toYADs annually, the requirement for floor-space would be about two-thirds larger. Only two facilitieshe Minsk Computer Plant and the Brest Eloctrotechnical Planthave beendefinitely with the manufacture of central


processing units, and the -main item of production at Minsk continues to be the The Brest plant may become the major producer of thets size is unknown.

Progress and Problems

Reportedly, 'several dozen" RYAD computers have been built in tho USSRew have boon installed in user facilities. Several more have been built in Eastern Europe. Mo RYAD model is being produced in large quantity, however, and the programhole is at least three years behind the schedule originally announced by Academician Dorodnitsyn.

Thethe smallest variant) is being tested in Hungary, and according to the local press will go into production beforo the end of this year.ungary plans too ISOear. rototype of theas fabricated by the USSR as early0 and passed acceptance tests The "first batch" reportedly was delivered to customers in early

hen series production wa3 said to have begun. Subsequent information indicated that theas being redesigned at the Minsk Computer Plant, and inosplan Chairman Baybakov implied that production would begin Although this model was still undergoing acceptance testingmall number of users inherobably is now in limited production.

In Eastern Europe, Bulgaria was the first torototype of thet the Plovdiv Fair in Czechoslovakia claims to haveuccessful prototype of its version of thothentended mainly for internal use) and said that production might begin East Germany's version of thethelso designed primarily for internal use) is behind schedule too,ew units have been built and installed.

Little is known about production of the more advanced RYAD models. Theas been "recommended" for production in the USSR, and Poland claims to haveorking prototype.




Czechoslovakia's version of thes still in the design stage. East Germany may have built two experimental models of the The two largest RYADs, thendequire special integrated circuits that are only inproduction in the USSR.* The USSR hasrototypend plans to produce five more experimentalhis year; thes still in the design phase.

delay in the RYAD program is thea number of factors,hortagecritical components. The limited outputintegrated circuits has beenother high-priority claimants, such asof military equipment and ASVT processcomputers. There are also problems withof peripheral equipment. Magneticneeded for every RYADstill in short supply despite years of The USSR has found too thatcomputers and peripheral equipmenttolerances that are difficult to obtain. regard, the RYAD, like all Soviethas been handicappedailureautomated production techniques ortesting technology. Softwarehas lagged. The RYAD program was supposed

to capitalize on the software used in theeries, but it has proved more difficult thanto adapt IBM software or to modify the RYADs to handle the IBM software.

all, the RYAD program isthe same lack of effective direction,and control that has plagued Sovietover the years. ecent Pravdathe duplication in research and theof skilled labor resourcesinstitutes, ministries, andso, no single authority, as far as isbeen vested with responsibility to bringnecessary coordination.

"* These circuits are emitter-coupled logic (ECL) integrated circuits rather than transistor-.transistor logic (TTL) devices to be used in all other models. ECL, which is significantly faster than TTL, is needed for the very high speedsby thendodels.





The West hasmall but crucial role in the RYAD program. Early in theumber oferies machines were approved for export to Eastern Europe and hence became available for Soviet inspection. In addition, critical RYAD components are being manufactured with the help of production machinery acquired, both legally androm firms in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. Tomultilayer printed circuit boards, forthe USSR purchased several dozen precision spray-etchingostly from the United States, valued at about S2 million, and an unknown number of lamination presses and numericallydrilling machines from tho United Kingdom. The USSR also reportedly purchased two complete printed circuit manufacturing plants from France. The USSR now is interested in buying more advanced US technology and machinery for manufacturing printed circuit boards.

The COCOM embargo has hindered the USSR in its efforts to acquire technology and machinery to produce integrated circuits. Still, much US, British, Japanese, and French equipment has found its way to the Soviet Union and is being used to make integrated circuits in Soviet laboratories and plants. So far the USSR has been unable to buy complete plants to produce ICs, but inquiries in the West continue.

The USSR also has sought to purchaseUS plants to manufacture magnetic tape, magnetic discisc drives, magnetic cores, and printersall based on highly automated (computer-controlled) production and test techniques. Some equipment to manufacture disc drives has been acquired from Japan and France.

* Tnat is, outside established COCOM embargo channels.

** Chemical milling machines used to etch out electrical patterns of printed circuit ecent applicationS firm to export two separate plants to produce magnetic tape andacks, valued at nearlyillion, was denied by the US Government.

: 7


likelihood that RYAD computersarge scaleeveralper yearis poor. No new facilitiesRYAD central processing units arebe under construction. Neither does theof existing floorspace from theof second-generation machines appear toplace. To the contrary, the Minskoriginally designed to produce RYADs, now

is scheduled to continue to produce the obsolete. Indeed, these machines are being improved, and output is scheduled to grownits2nits Therather than RYAD, according to recent Soviet press statements, will serve as the basic machine in the automated systems of management being set up.

ass production ofwill be difficult withoutfrom Western manufacturers. Tho USSR canto press its efforts to acquiretechnology for automated assembly ofunits as well as otherand technology. The value of theequipment and technology that theimport over the next few yearsillion0 million. Thearc not likely to purchase manyIBM computers; the Soviets havethat they are firmly committedand are not interested in large numberscomputers.* Any machine imports willto high-priority needs forcomputers clearly are not adequate. however, will involve largefor use in complex applicationsresult in sales of several hundredduring the next three to four years.**

ecent press. Gvishiani, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology, stated: "we are not interested simply in buying computers, even if credits are available."

** The USSR reportedly hasultimillion dollar contract with (footnote continued on p.


The USSR would also purchasepplications programs for use with RYADs if these could be obtainedingle-price no-royalty basis. Such programs would be especially useful In fostering increased industrial productivity.

The least complex RYADndill probably be producedmall scale in Eastern Europe and tho USSR. Small numbers oflso may be produced by East Germany. All these machines are based on electronic circuit elements that already are in production. ew experimental production models of theill be built, although the most advanced RYAD machinetheay not even reach the prototype stage.

The RYADs that are produced are likely to fall short of Western standards, just as thenow in uso do, despite the RYAD's reliance on IBM designs. The USSR lacks the newestfor testing components, quality assuranco techniques (including zero-defect and othermanufacturing procedures) are only now being adopted, and the labor force is less skilled than its Western counterparts. The operational effectiveness of RYAD computers probably will be further limited by shortages of external random access storage devices, display terminals, and high-speed data transmission equipment.

Tho crash program to increase the number of systems programmers is likely to fail. Mostare being trained in Soviet universities, many of which do not evenomputer and none have RYADs. In any0 systems analysts cannot be trained adequately in universities on an accelerated basis. In the United states, several years of highly specialized post-university training sponsored by computer manufacturers is generally needed to reach professional standards. As in the past, trainees are to be ha mathematical training, which may have beenfor programming past Soviet computer aystems,

IBM for large computers to handle the scheduling and reservations for Intourist. IBM apparently has also been chosen to provide the computers for management and automation of the Kama Truck Plant.

takes time and is not needed -for RYAD's high-level languages. Finally, to be fully effective,need in-place training at the usertraining that the USSR does not generally provide.

4b. When the RYAD program finally gets into high gear, it probably will keep the Sovietindustry technologically inferior to those in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. Soviet industrial practices will tend to freeze the RYAD design and prevent the modifications and improvements needed to stay abraast of changes in technology. In fact, the hardware and software technology embodied in the RYAD design is being superseded rapidly in the United States. IBM has introduced aneries of computers that incorporate across-the-board hardwareand more efficient concepts of operating software.

46. Meanwhile, it may take some time for RYADs to be used efficiently. Technical manuals and other documentation are not yet available, making it difficult for tho user to choose among the various RYAD models. In addition, because the programmers, systems analysts, and technicians are not being trained on RYADs, many users will have to rely on specialists who will have to learn as they go.

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