Nowadays, world famous media do not allow themselves to miss the opportunity to recall the harsh Russian hackers who broke into the American voting system and elected President Trump. Of course, they do not bother to provide evidence, and the investigation of the special prosecutor concluded that there was no serious interference. But the fact remains that this version exists and is readily accepted around the world inspires respect for the Russian “specialists.”
However, the unaware reader immediately has a legitimate question: if they are so smart, why are computer systems of foreign manufacture widely used in Russia? Why don't they make their own high-tech products? - Actually they do.
In this article I will talk about the little-known Russian company MCST, its history and products.
We should start with a very interesting fact that no one seems to remember: the firstcomputer using binary computing was created in the USSR in December 1948, six months earlier than in America. The Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering was engaged in the development under the guidance of Academician S. A. Lebedev. Soviet developments, like American ones, were mainly for military purposes. So the first Soviet supercomputer “Elbrus”, performing up to 12 million calculations per second, was created as a computer capable of tracking missiles with multiple warheads and “leading” each of them The ideology of Soviet developers was somewhat different from the western one. The requirements were the same - maximum reliability, security and fault tolerance of the system. Computer systems were tested in the most extreme conditions, and flaws were quickly fixed. Along with this, designers were constantly improving productivity, so that the Soviet Elbrus did not lag behind, and sometimes exceeded their foreign counterparts in terms of computing speed.
However, in the early 70s of the last century, the authorities came to the decision that importing American developments was cheaper than investing in our own. Funding was decreasing, the third generation of Elbrus was never launched into the series, the Soviet Union collapsed.
The successor of the team involved in the development of Elbrus supercomputers was the MCST company, founded in 1992. The company continued on the course set for the first computers of the USSR. MCST is engaged in the development of processors based on its own architecture, using VLIW - explicit parallelism of computations, which allows processing more than 20 instructions per cycle on 1 processor core. This solution significantly reduces processor power consumption due to the lack of large and complex nodes. Also, such parallelism reduces the requirement for processor frequency, which is why you can notice that even the latest Elbrus-8SV processor has a frequency of only 1500 MHz. Also an exceptional feature of the Elbrus architecture is the technology of dynamic binary translation of x86 code to the processor. Put it simply, despite the uniqueness of its architecture, the MS Windows operating system is stable on the Elbrus processor, as well as any other applications that uses x86 addressing.
Elbrus processors are ones of the most reliable and secure in the world as they use their own architecture, which is embedded at the hardware level.
It is also worth mentioning that the MCST company does not only produce processors, they carry out the entire technological cycle of computer production, their motherboards with their own chipsets, their graphics accelerators, Internet controllers, and even their own operating system, too.
The performance should also be mentioned: Elbrus-8SV surpasses server analogs from Intel by several times with a phenomenal security and reliability. By 2021, the MCST is planning to release a new processor, which will be much more powerful than this. This will allow to minimize the gap with the best Intel processors.
Summing up we can say that Russia inherited a huge potential from the USSR in the development of microprocessors, but due to crises it was difficult to realize. If the MCST company keeps its development at the current pace, then in 5-7 years in the western countries not only “Russian hackers” will be feared, but also the most powerful Russian computer complexes.