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Electronic Digital Computer Ural-16 (Урал-16)

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  1. Chief designer: Dr. B.I. Rameev (Rameev Bashir Iskanderovich).
    Chief designer assistants: V.I. Burkov, A.N. Nevskiy, G.S. Smirnov, A.S. Gorshkov, V.I. Mukhin.
    Leading designers:  L.N. Bogoslovskiy, V.K. Eliseev, V.G. Zhelnov, A.G. Kalmykov, M.N. Knyazev, O.F. Lobov, A.I. Pletmintsev, Y.V. Pinigin and others.
  1. Basic organisation in charge of the project and design: Penza Scientific-Research Institute of Electronic Control Computers.
  2. Producing plant: Penza Plant of Electron Computing Machines (under MIAM USSR).
  3. Completion of design (year): 1968.
  4. Beginning of serial production (year): 1969.
  5. Finishing of serial production (year): 1969
  6. Application field: computations in expanded field of mathematic and information-logic problems and operation at computer centres of scientific research institutes, design bureaus and industrial enterprises.
  7. Number of produced computers: 1 (one) piece.

(structure, architecture and peripheral devices of the computer)

URAL-16 was the senior model of the URAL computers line. Its specially designed arithmetic device U-330 performed arithmetic, logic and transfer operations with binary numbers and the words of variable length (form 1 to 48 bit). Arithmetic operations were performed with both fixed- and floating-point numbers. Also a number of special additional operations were introduced to increase the computer’s performance at solving information problems.

The structure of URAL-16 central unit comprised arithmetic device U-330 and separate special control device U-331. U-331 provided interaction of all computer devices during simultaneous solving of several problems: parallel execution of up to five instructions in central devices, information exchange between magnetic tape and/or drum storages and ferrite storage and operation of several input/output devices.

U-331 performed immediate addressing of the words, with length varying from 1 up to 48 bit, and arrays of words from48 up to 98 000 bit in RAM with capacity up to 25 000 000 bit.

Hardwired program protection system protected some programs from possible errors of other simultaneously running programs. The base displacement addressing system provided program independence from concrete location in memory. Special instructions for maintaining a “dialog” between up to 8 computers on their central processors’ level were incorporated among the total of 300 instructions performed by the device.

URAL-16 was completed with URAL-standard two-input magnetic drums, magnetic tape storages, punched-tape and punched-card devices and alphanumeric printer.

Components of URAL-11 – URAL-16 computers

Computers URAL-11 – URAL-16 were based on unified complex of logic elements URAL-10. An element consisted of a set of semiconductor circuitry modules. There were 5 types of basic general-purpose modules and 10 special ones (for storages and peripheral devices). 90% of URAL-14 electron circuitry consisted of diode-transistor modules of two types, which were able to operate in temperature range: –10 C to +70 C. The modules were placed on the cells with soldered plug-socket connection.

Design of URAL-11 – URAL-16 computers

Computers of URAL-11 – URAL-16 family were produced according to the same standard. Electron components were placed within standard cabinets. There were boards with diode-transistor components mounted in cells. Modules, cells and some contact connections on the boards were produced upon implementation of printing technologies. Storages and peripheral devices were common for all URAL computers.

Assembly technologies

Traditional technologies of mechanic and plastic parts processing were implemented. Cabinet frames were welded. Cells and modules, first time in URAL computers development produced with printed wiring, were made of foiled dielectric. Their serial production was performed at special plant. Manufacturing technology of ferrite memory storage and peripheral devices, as well as of magnetic tape memory and alphanumeric printers, was new for the Penza plant.


Dispatcher program was the basic software to organise computer operation. It provided input/output of information, organised operation in multi-program mode, protected RAM zones, supported dynamic allocation of RAM resources and also external memory on magnetic drums and tapes.

The computer was also provided with special automatic code ARMU (Russ. abbr. for Automatic-code of Row (line) of Machines URAL (URAL computers)). That was a unified auto-code for all URAL computers line. It was composed upon consideration of their specific features and fully maintained compatibility of junior models to senior ones. However, each model of URAL had its own translator from ARMU language to its internal machine language, therefore the compatibility of URAL computers remained limited and existed only on the ARMU auto-code level.

Besides testing programs, library of programs and debugging program for the ARMU language special translator from ALGAMS language to ARMU was supplied with it.

Main operation and technical data of Ural-16

Specific features

URAL-16 was the senior model of the URAL computer line. Same as the other computers of the family URAL-16 was produced on unified component and technology basis of URAL-10. That was the USSR first experience in designing of not a single computer but an extended line of compatible computing machines and appliances. Their technical unity was the focus of designers’ attention. Most of their technical, structural and designing solutions were undoubtedly progressive and promising ones. However, only one piece of URAL-16 computer was produced and put into operation. No reason or analysis of that can be found in printed sources.

Translated by A. Nitussov

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