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Viktor Glushkov was a futurist before the term was in vogue. Growing up in a country still grappling with the aftermath of World War II, Glushkov witnessed exponential growth in population and production. However, he also saw firsthand the inefficiencies of the clunky error-ridden administrative procedures that governed the country. He predicted that by 1980, the economy would not be able to scale further.
Lebedev Peredach
Employees at the Institute of
Cybernetics’ Computing  Center
Viktor Glushkov, the Director of the Institute of Cybernetics
has a look at a program to be installed on MIR
When Glushkov, in the 1950s, learned about the emerging field of cybernetics, he believed it was the solution to the problem. By 1956, he began devising a plan for the OGAS ("National Automated System for Computation and Information Processing"). Part internet, part enterprise management system, Glushkov believed OGAS would bring much-needed efficiency to an empire that had outgrown its existing bureaucracy.

For several years, Glushkov worked on OGAS in private. In 1962, an influential friend at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine introduced Viktor to an influential government official. He was impressed with Glushkov's prophetic vision and gave OGAS the green light.

As the head of the Institute, Viktor visited nearly 1,000 industrial sites during the first few years of development, studying production and efficiency. OGAS was a massive project requiring a network of around 100 centers in large cities throughout the USSR, connected by broadband communication channels linked to 20,000 smaller computing centers located in production facilities.

Computering center
Hard at work: The Institute of
Cybernetics’ Computing Center.

However, in 1970, the government was skeptical and declared a lack of resources to implement the whole system. They offered to use a simplified version of OGAS as a government network of computing centers without any industrial or management control. It rendered Glushkov's idea "a hardware solution without any appropriate software support." Ideology and red tape once again prevailed over practical concerns.

Glushkov had to abandon OGAS and focus on more localized projects, such as the automated management system at the Lviv Radio Factory. He continued to advocate for OGAS throughout the 70s, to no avail. The ARPANET project—a Western analog of OGAS and a predecessor of the modern-day internet, was initiated in 1966, four years after Glushkov presented his idea.

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