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Authors: Tatarchenko, Ksenia
Advisors: Gordin, Michael
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: A. Ershov
Cold War
G. Marchuk
history of computing
Soviet Information Age
Subjects: History of science
Russian history
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Grounded in the story of one particular institution and its people "A House with the Window to the West": The Akademgorodok Computer Center (1958-1993) examines the history of computing from a transnational perspective. I argue that the history of this center reveals a new picture of computing as a Cold War phenomenon, demonstrating the interconnectedness of local, national, and international realms of knowledge production. If the Siberian "science city" of Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk was built as an experiment and embodiment of a new relation between scientists, society and political power under Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, the emerging profession of programmer and the new field of computer science had to engage many battles to construct its identity and make its "place" both at home and abroad. Introduced to international science as residents of a "showcase," Siberian scientists became cultural mediators who partook in the creation of the international computing community, and by the same token obtained authority and status on the national level within the Soviet Union. They then used this authority and strategic knowledge to climb scientific hierarchies and approach power structures in order to implement their own visions of a socialist "Information Society." An abundance of evidence stemming from Russian, American and French archives, as well as publications and oral histories, enables me to approach transnational computing from a variety of perspectives that respond to the challenge of connecting the multiple scales of local (micro-historical), national, transnational, and geopolitical levels. In my effort to intertwine different scales of analysis, I experiment with multiple perspectives, ranging from institutional and urban history, to media representation, to translation, to memory construction, to pedagogical history. All these strands are united into a coherent narrative by a triple biographical approach. The opening and closing chapters engage, respectively, with the careers of Akademgorodok's founding father - Mikhail Lavrentiev, and of the director of Computer Center and Lavrentiev's successor at the head of Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences, Gurii Marchuk. The main body of the dissertation features as its chief protagonist Andrei Ershov, the head of the programming department of the Computer Center.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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