The institutional computer of atomic physics

CIFA - Institutional Computer of Atomic Physics - 1957

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We live in a time when computing equipment and associated devices have revolutionized the world, being used by each of us in everyday life.

It is hard to imagine that we can carry out our daily activity, to be informed, to talk to friends and family members, without having a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone.

Global production of electronic equipment in 2017

The demand for electronic equipment in 2017, in the world, was enormous, approx. 130 million personal computers, 170 million laptops, 230 million tablets and 1.3 billion smartphones.

Research activities, education, collaborative work, production of material or cultural goods, find support in these modern and increasingly high-performance equipment.

The boom of technological development in the field of informatics

The real technological development in the field of informatics took place in the 60's, the evolution having a more than exponential curve.

Surprisingly, we find that, starting from the commissioning, in 1957, of the first Romanian computer and until today, almost 7 decades have passed. The dynamics and diversity are unmatched. A large part of the population had the privilege of witnessing this evolution.

We can say that yesterday's computing equipment is old today, and tomorrow is history.

The first electronic computer designed and made in Romania

The computer of the Institute of Atomic Physics (CIFA1) represents the first electronic computer designed and made in Romania.

The computer was designed by a team of researchers from Institute of Atomic Physics, guided by Victor Thomas, within the Electronics Section led by acad. Tudor Tanasescu.

Portrait of Victor Toma (1922 - 2008)

First presentation of the CIFA computer 1 took place in Dresden in 1955. The computer became operational in 1957.

The technical specifications of the first Romanian computer

The implementation was done using electronic tubes (approx. 1500) which represent the technology available at that time. It had an architecture on 32 bits. The control unit implements a number of 16 instructions which performed elementary mathematical operations, of 9-digit operands and performed 50 operations per second.

The memory was on a magnetic drum and contained 512 4-bit words. For read / write operations, the drum rotates at a speed of 3000 rpm.

The programming was done in machine code (binary). As input / output equipment, it had a perforated tape reader with a speed of 900 characters / minute and a typewriter with a speed of 480 characters / minute.

The power consumed was approx. 4–5 KW. CIFA1 worked for two years two hours a day.

At that time, Romania was among the first 8 countries in the world to make an electronic computer and the second of the countries CAER (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). The profile industry in Romania had its own manufacture. Romania was among the top ten countries in the world to produce computers.

The CIFA1 experience has been extended with new models CIFA-2 in 1959; CIFA-3 - in 1960. Victor Toma, based on the experience of the CIFA-3 computer, within the Agreement between the Romanian Academy and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, designed the VITOSHA computer in 1962–1963.

The team under his guidance Armand Segal he designed and made the computers CIFA-101 (1962) and CIFA 102 (1964), at the Institute of Atomic Physics, computers with more efficient characteristics (4K 4-bit word memory).

Nicolae Tapus, Information Science and Technology in Romania, Romanian Academy, Romanian Academy Publishing House - Bucharest, 2018

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  1. In several areas we can be proud of what the Romanians did. After '89, the second chess of the communists came with Iliescu at the head and fled from the country! Now our specialists add value to developed countries. Too bad the light at the end of the tunnel is not visible.

  2. We were ahead of many, but we left ourselves in the hands of the Chinese and not just us. We indulge in convenience and easy gains.

  3. Back then school was school, and people were people. Now just bombers, thieves, corruption, and fites. Woe to our star.

  4. Well said "I was the eighth, the third, etc." it was once like never before when we had diversified production of material goods as they were (some, others were top notch). The production of material goods is essential for a healthy economy.

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