Рус / Eng

Evgeny Glezerov

I have been employed at Project Development Institute No. 1 since 1962 in the Department of Automated Design, which I headed in 1990. Since the early 1990s, I have been actively introducing computer design technologies at the Institute. We at the Institute (and in the country overall) started with simple automatic design projects for construction parts, all the way to all our major achievements today.

In the First Person:

I was hired by Project Development Institute No. 1 in 1962 immediately after graduating from the Leningrad Institute of Construction Engineering, and grew with the Institute and the rest of the country from elementary automation procedures in construction design to the current state of affairs in this field. We all started with abacuses, Felix arithmometers, slide rulers, and Rheinmetall computing machines from Germany, which could perform just four arithmetic operations - albeit with a large number of digits. All technical drawings were done on Whatman paper with the use of German drawing boards. The drawings were turned over to the copying bureau, where they were copied with the help of India ink and drafting pens. Strength predictions, on which the working documentation was based, required solving systems of 20 to 30 linear equations, which required several days’ work.

BESM 2M, the first computer, appeared at PromStroyDesign Institute, and we rented it by the hour. It was a lamp-based computer which took up a huge gymnasium at a school on Promyshlennaya Ulitsa, where the Institute stood. We used that computer for our strength predictions, and compiled programs in machine codes (there were no algorithmic languages back then). At this stage, automated design processes included entering the data using punchcards, and the results were printed in octal notation (with no 9s or 10s), on narrow strips of paper.

In 1966, the Institute acquired Nairi, the first computing machine, designed in Yerevan and built in Kazan. In 1968, our mentor and leader, Voldemar Yakovlevich Pavilainen, brought a Minsk 22 computer from Moscow. That same year, we set up the Automated Design Department, which he headed. I must mention here the leading specialists of the Department: Eduard Anatolyevich Smolensky, Viktor Mikhailovich Pushkin, Tatyana Evgenyevna Voitkevich, Valentina Fedoseevna Yablokova, Alla Fedorovna Ter-Mesrobyan. We handled a large number of problems: strength analyses, sanitary engineering computations, budget and payroll computations, software program computations. Then we had several generations of computers at the Institute: Minsk 32, CM4, EC1022, EC 1050. But we still had a long way to go until the computers were able to produce working documentation, which was the dream of all automated design professionals.

Everything changed in the early 1990s, when we got our first PCs with screens and mouses, an AutoCAD editor and HP Graph Maker with jetting technology. It was quite a challenge switching designers from their usual work routine to using computers. I had to spend lots of time trying to convince the management and the team that automation had its advantages. One particular incident helped me. We received an order to design a diamond ore-dressing and processing enterprise in Angola. The customer wanted a computer version of the project with all the texts in Portuguese. We had to design a Portuguese language font and study the language. This was when the designers took to the computers and quickly realized what advantages automatic design gave them. Other designers quickly caught on, and one by one the drawing boards started disappearing.

We achieved a giant leap in the sphere of strength prediction, which is the central element of any design, thanks to the finite-element technique, which appeared in the 1960s in a number of programs, such as SCAD, LIRA and ROBOT. As previously, all calculations are done as a system of linear equations, but today, equations with, say, 4 million unknowns, can be solved in just 5 to 10 minutes with the use of our cutting-edge computer technologies. It is easier to prepare and control the initial data, the results are presented in an understandable format, and everything is done ten times faster.


Institute projects