Hungarian History of ICT

1938: Laszlo Kozma (1902-1983) makes the first electromechanic calculator in Belgium. This machine could count, but very slowly. The sum took 1-11, the multiplication took 5-10 seconds. Afterwards Laszlo Kozma made his second machine. Only one calculator system was made which was suitable for more places of work. A buffer store was connected with it. It was used by the work stations when the calculator could not receive the task. It was its memory. It was used for accounting in László Kozma’s factory in Antwerpen. The workstations (telegraphs), the calculator and the wired memories were connected to each other by the telegraph center of the factory. To make this machine faster László Kozma built in a multiplication table. This way the sum and the multiplication became only one second long. This calculator was in a two meter-high, one metre-wide and half of metre deep wardrobe and it was available with the help of six table sets.
During the second World War one machine was sent to America because of the German attack but the machine never arrived there.

1952: The IAS (Institute for Advanced Study) machine was made which János Neumann planned and made with his co-workers in America. In its structure and memory this machine was the ’grandfather’ of every later computer. This machine was copied by the most people in the world. János Neumann invented and put into practice the principle of stored program.

1955: The MESZ-1 (Technical University Calculator) was started to plan and built. Its mechanism system and elements were simple relays. This machine had been built by 1958. It was used for counting of different tasks for nearly ten years. The program of the machine was stored in it by a handmade holed x-ray film and the data were stored by relays. There were 45 instructions on a program sheet. It could count binary way. The numbers had to be put into it in decimal form. The result could appear – on Laszlo Kozma ’s construction – on a MERCEDES typewriter also in decimal form.. This machine got into the Hungarian National Technical Museum in the late 1960s.

1956: MTA Cybernetics Research Group (MTA KKCS) was established, as an individual research place, the ’cradle’ of the Hungarian computer science including the computer building department. Balint Domolki was its leader and Győző Kovács was the technical deputy director.

1957-1959: M3 was biult with the help of the Soviet Union and by a young Hungarian work team (Istvan Abraham, Balint Domolki, Joszef Drasny, Kalman Kardos, Győző Kovacs, Imre Molnar, Sandor Podhraszky etc.), their leader was Sandor Varga and Rezső Tarjan. It was the first Hungarian electronic computer with vacuum tubes. It filled in a 60 square-metre room. It did not have a cooling sytem. There was a fan on the ceiling to lead off the heat wich was launched by the machine, but it did not work properly, that is why the windows of the machine had to be removed. During its working hundreds of vacuum tubes became hot.
M3 machine did not have an operation system and Neumann’s machine served as a model.
Its washing machine-sized magnetic drum memory was planned by Győző Kovacs. It had a very small memory. The first reserch works were in connection with the development of M3 which was done by research team of about 20 people. MTA KKCS transformed into MTA Calculating Centre (MTA SZK). That time the engineers’ task was the maintenance, development of M3 and to make the programs run. From this time the machine was working 24 hours continuously.
Operator, as a job, appeared first at this time. The first operators were Zsolt Varkonyi, Gabriella Varga and Mrs Kovacs.
At the same time 2 computers were built in Temesvar, Rumania, which memories were planned by Győző Kovacs.

Mihaly Kovacs, piarist monk, the teacher of Budapest Piarist Grammar School (1916-2006) tought cybernetics first in secondary schools in Hungary from the late 1950s.
During the 1960s he and his students together built cybernetic toys that were introduced to the press, such as Card-playing machine, Wondermill, Logi, Artificial Mouse.
Mihaly Kovacs wrote a lot of books which made the computer technology popular. During his whole profession he wrote articles, studies that were the basic methodology of physics and computer technology.
In the middle of 1960s he had a common licence with Lajos Terenyi: the Didaktomat reciting machine. In the second half of 1960s Mihaly Kovacs with his student, Woynarovich Ferenc, made the Mikromat cybernetics building set. It was a computer model with relays and printed electric circuit (electromechanic home computer) which was produced by Budaörs Craftmen’s Co-operative and was available in the shops. Torch lamps showed the result and it was programmed by wires. The Canadian Minivac-601 served as its model but with significant changes. It was good to show the basic principles of computer technology and was available in the shops, too.

Laszlo Kalmar professor (1905-1976) established a cybernetic and programming educational centre in Szeged. On his iniative in the late 1950s the Cybernetic Laboratory was founded. Lazslo Kalmar made a machine with relays which was good to solve logical tasks. His stutent was Daniel Muszka, who made the LADYBIRD in Szeged, it was the first Hungarian artificial animal, which was the model of Pavlov conditioned reflex eg. it can follow the light of a torch, it gives indignant sound if any spot of it is pressed.

1960: Győző Kovacs starts to teach computer technoloy at University of Economics (MKKTE).
1960-1964 Laszlo Kozma built a target computer after MESZ-1 with Bela Frajka and their colleagues., which was used for linguistic statistical analysis. It was a computer with relays. The machine stored the text on a five-channel punched-tape.

1963: Arpad Klatsmanyi’s product, the HUNOR table calculator appeared on the world market. Hunor 131 and 158 brought a big success for the Electronic Measuring Factory (EMG).
The EMG later produced table computers such as EMG-666, 666/B, 777 in the 1970-80s.
The EMG prepared to produce R-10 machines. In 1970 the test production started according to French licence and with French spare parts. But because of political reasons instead of EMG the VIDEOTON factory began to product R-10 machines.

1961-1965: beside M3 more and more computers arrived into Hungary. Two URAL-I, Bull Gamma ET data processing and twoELLIOT-803-B machine with a bigger output. Hungray bought three more URAL-II, that started to work in1965.

1960-1968: In this period the performance of unique designs was the main task to solve with computers. The Computer Technology Coordinator Institute (SZKI) was founded by Zsolt Naray and began to work from 1968. SZKI had significant products eg. the first Hungarian microcomputers: M05X, M08X and the first Hungarian PC (Proper).

In the middle of the1960s Program Stored Analysator (TPA) was born. 20-30 machines were made. TPA 1001 became soon out of date because it had Geranium transistor. At that time in Western Europe Silicium transistors were used. The integrated electrical circuit version of TPA computer (TPA-i) was started to be worked out. It had been made for a year and it was modal. Its usage was the same like PDP-8. This machine had small capacity and that is why the preparation of producing of TPA-70 was started. The TPA-70 computer converted into a 16-bite word lenght, it was more suitable for nuclear data collection. It had more registers so its working speed was faster. In the 1970s hardware centric thinking was formed and only a small software group worked. By the time TPA-70 had been made, the basic software had been made, too in order to use it.

Between 1969 and 1973 the experts endeavoured to work out program packages which could solve generally useable complex designing tasks. In the early 1970 120 computers worked in our country.

In 1970 it was Kozma László’s big merit that Telecommunication Technique Department received a Japanese electronic computer and in 1972 the education of Digital Computer Technology Section was started. In the 1970s Hungary bought more IBM 360 or 370 computers for industrial usage.

By 1971 PDP-11 machine was made. PDP-11 was copied and this way TPA 1140 machine was started to produce. GD-71, the first Hungarian graphic set was also made, it was developed by SZTAKI and it was connected with TPA-70. It was used for making designs.

In 1974 the importance of computerised technical desingning was recognized and this year a Siemens-4004, a computer with big capacity was put into operation. The initiation of the computer technology into electronics was very fast. From 1974 the socialist countries worked out the program packages together and more and more computers got into Hungary.

In 1975 the Measurement and Computer Technology Research Institute was established (MSZKI). Computer technology profile was formed from the analysators which were needed in nuclear measuring technology.

In 1976 KFKI research institute gave the TPA-70 computer to the Electrical Automation Institute. This machine was suitable to control discreet processes, for process direction, it could be used for controlling machine-tool and in medical electornics. This way the Hungarian computer technology appeared on capitalist markets.

In 1977 Practicomp-300 microcomputer was developed. It was a slow machine which worked whith a monoprogram, it was used for management procedures.

In the late of 1977 number of computers increased by 850. The operative store capacity has risen from 38.3 Kb to 79.5 Kb on the average. The computer science held the experts attention in a large measure.
In 1979 R-40 computer was put into operation.

In the early of 1980s the BRG (Budapest Radio Engineering Factory) produced the ABC-80 home-computer within the framework of Swedish-Hungarian cooperation, its central unit was LUXOR production. The computer which had a data taperecorder with two cassettes, was connected with a TV. It showed black and white picture, it could have been programmed with Basic language and its RAM was 16 Kb. It was used at colleges and some secondary schools. Originally a one-cassette taperecorder belonged to the Swedish computer. The taperecorder mechanism was a Hungarian production.
At the same time HCC, computer makers’ community was established according to a Californian pattern, its leader was Endre Simonyi. Within the framework of this club József Lukács and Endre Lukács built the HOMELAB home-computer. Small series of it were produced for education and playing.
In the middle of the 1980s BRAILAB,a speaking home-computer was made which was good for blind people’s education. Its speaking modal was designed by András Arató and Teréz Vaspöri.
Marcell Jánosi who was a State-awarded taperecorder engineering general constructor, designed the first cassette floppy of the world, the forefather of 3.5 small floppies which are used today. It was the MCD-1. This desing was worked out in the 1970s but it could be produced only in the early of the 1980s. Later the licence expired and the cassette floppy was clonned all over the world.

The PROPER computer was an IBM clone which was produced by the Computer Technology Coordination Institute (SZKI) in 1982. (In 1981 the first IBM personal computer of the world appeared in America.)

Around 1983 the HT 1080Z school computer won the school computer competition and it became a generally used computer in public education. The original type had a 16 Kb memory, it was compatible with the American TRS-80 computer, it was the licence of the Far Eastern VIDEOGENIE machine. The HT 1080Z machine later had a 64 Kb version, too.

In the middle of 1980s the HT 3080C machine was introduced which could have been suitable to emulate the ZX Spectrum machine but it was not produced in series because COMMODORE computers became wide-spread istead of it.

In 1983 the first entirely Hungarian development appeared, the PRIMO home-computer, it was available in trade and designed by MTA (SZTAKI) experts. About 9000 pieces got into the shops. The PRIMO A computer had capacitive, touching-button keyboard which was a Hungarian licence. It was available in the shops with 16, 32 and 48 Kb memory but it had setting and letter repetition problems.
About 1985 PRIMO B was made with traditional push-button keyboard.

From the 1970s VIDEOTON factory in Székesfehérvár produced line-printers, screen terminals, matrix printers, modems on world level. Then from the middle of the 1980s VIDEOTON TV Computer was produced which was the licence of the earlier version of ENTERPRISE machine. It had a good-quality keyboard, biult-in joystick, but it was not so popular as Commodore.

KFKI went on producing of TPA in Budapest, they made professional room-sized machines (which were used in computer centres) and desk computers, too for example TPA QUADRO. This computer got the form design award in Hungary.

Dozens of companies produced computer spare parts or whole computers in the country eg. ORION company made monitors, TV games, in Esztergom the Labor MIM firm produced the LabSys-80 professional computers.

During the 1980s the automatic word processor appeared instead of the the type-writers. ROLITRON firm made a set called ROSYTEXT, which was designed by László Rózsahegyi. It was advertised with the slogen: ’Rosy the electronical secretary’. Beside this one KODEX 2000 appeared and later at the end of the 1980s Vera word processor was made but it was not so wide-spread.