OGAS | Wikipedia audio article

OGAS | Wikipedia audio article


OGAS (Russian: Общегосударственная
автоматизированная система учёта и обработки информации,
“ОГАС”, “National Automated System for Computation and Information Processing”) was
a Soviet project to create a nationwide information network. The project began in 1962 but was denied necessary
funding in 1970. It was one of a series of attempts to create
a nationwide network analogous to what became the Internet, all of which failed. The primary architect of OGAS was Viktor Glushkov. A previous proposal for a national computer
network to improve central planning, Anatoly Kitov’s Economic Automated Management System,
had been rejected in 1959 because of concerns in the military that they would be required
to share information with civilian planners. Glushkov proposed OGAS in 1962 as a three-tier
network with a computer centre in Moscow, up to 200 midlevel centres in other major
cities, and up to 20,000 local terminals in economically significant locations, communicating
in real time using the existing telephone infrastructure. The structure would also permit any terminal
to communicate with any other. Glushkov further proposed using the system
to move the Soviet Union towards a moneyless economy, using the system for electronic payments. The project failed because Glushkov’s request
for funding on 1 October 1970 was turned down. The 24th Communist Party Congress in 1971
was to have authorised implementation of the plan, but ultimately endorsed only expansion
of local information management systems. Glushkov subsequently pursued another network
plan, EGSVT, which was also underfunded and not carried out. Soviet network plans failed while the American
ARPANET succeeded. The OGAS proposal was resented by some liberals
as excessive central control, but failed primarily because of bureaucratic infighting: it was
under the auspices of the Central Statistical Administration and as such fell afoul of Vasily
Garbuzov, who saw a threat to his Ministry of Finance. When EGSVT failed, the next attempt (SOFE)
was done in 1964 by Nikolay Fedorenko, who attempted to build an information network
that could be used in economic planning in Soviet Union’s planned economy. The project was successful at a micro-level
but did not spread into wide use.==Cybernetic economic planning==
Beginning in the early 1960s, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union considered moving
away from the existing Stalinist command planning in favor of developing an interlinked computerized
system of resource allocation based on the principles of Cybernetics. This development was seen as the basis for
moving toward optimal planning that could form the basis of a more highly developed
form of socialist economy based on informational decentralization and innovation. This was seen as a logical progression given
that the material balances system was geared toward rapid industrialization, which the
Soviet Union had already achieved in the preceding decades. But by the early 1970s the idea of transcending
the status quo was abandoned by the Soviet leadership, who felt the system threatened
Party control of the economy. By the early 1970s official interest in this
system ended.==See also==
ARPANET Project Cybersyn

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