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Andrei Petrovich Ershov

1931- 1988, Siberia

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principal papers

hardware

software

keywords
programming, theoretical programming theoreum

Achievement


Biography

Academician Andrei Petrovich Ershov was one of the early Soviet pioneers in the field of theoretical and systems programming, a founder of the Siberian School of Computer Science. His significant contributions to establishing informatics as a new branch of science and a new phenomenon of the social life are widely recognized in our country and abroad.

A.P.Ershov's fundamental research on program schematology and theory of compilation inspired a large number of his students and successors. He investigated a broad spectrum of systems programming problems: implementation of DO statement in programming languages; hash-addressing with application to the common subexpression elimination; program schemata over distributed memory; the theory and algorithms for global memory optimization, etc.

Ershov's book "A Programming Programme for the BESM Computer" was one of the world's first monographs on automatic programming.

For major contributions in the theory of mixed computation he was awarded the Academician A.N.Krylov Prize: it was the first time that a programmer received the most prestigious mathematical award of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

A.P.Ershov's works on software engineering formed the basis of this research direction in the Soviet Union.

The ALPHA programming language and optimizing ALPHA compiler, the first Soviet time-sharing multiprocessor system AIST-0, the CAI system Shkol'nitsa, the electronic publishing system RUBIN and the multiprocessor workstation MRAMOR — all these projects have been initiated and directed by A.P.Ershov.

Since 1959 Andrei P. Ershov was with the Siberian Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He played an active role in the foundation of the Novosibirsk Computer Center. In the 60s his popular lectures greatly affected the formation of programming as a profession.

Due to a breadth of his vision and unique ability to see the perspectives, A.P.Ershov was one of the first men in our country who managed to recognize a key role of computerization in the progress of both science and society. He generated a wealth of seminal ideas which became a basis of research automation, parallel programming and artificial intelligence in our country. More then 20 years ago A.P.Ershov began to experience in teaching programming in secondary school. Initially unrecognized, these attempts evolved into the notion of computer literacy and resulted in establishing a course on informatics and computing machinery in Soviet schools.

A.P.Ershov was an outstanding organizer and active contributor of many important international conferences; he served as an Editor or a member of Editorial Board of Mikroprotsessornye Sredstva i Sistemy, Kibernetika, Programmirovanie (all in Russian), Acta Informatica, Information Processing Letters, Theoretical Computer Science, etc. In 1974 A.P.Ershov was appointed Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society; in 1981 he received the Silver Core Award for services rendered to IFIP.

A.P.Ershov's brilliant speeches on both professional and general themes were always in the focus of public attention. Especially notable was his lecture on "Aesthetics and the human factors in programming" presented at AFIPS Spring Joint Computer Conference in 1972 that greatly influenced the world scientific community. The title of another paper, "Programming, the second literary", has become a popular metaphor which is now widely used without any reference to the author. His kind mind, coupled with remarkable powers of observation and penetrating analysis made a great impact on everything he did.

A.P.Ershov was not only an extremely gifted scientist, teacher, and fighter for his ideas, but also a bright and many-sided person. He wrote poetry, translated the works of R.Kipling and other English poets. He enjoyed playing guitar and singing. He possessed the rare gift to care about the concerns of others. Everybody who had the pleasure of knowing and working with professor A.P.Ershov will always remember his great visions, eminent achievements and generous friendship.

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