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The Ural was developed at the Electronic Computer Producing Manufacturer of Penza in the Soviet Union and was produced between 1959 and 1964. In total 139 were made. The computer was widely used in the 1960s, mainly in the socialist countries, though some were also exported to Western Europe and Latin America.
When the University of Tartu received a new computer, its old computer, the Ural 1, was moved to a science biased secondary school, the Nõo Reaalgümnaasium. That event took place in 1965 and made the Nõo Reaalgümnaasium the very first secondary school in the Soviet Union to own its very own computer.
Models Ural-1 to Ural-4 were based on vacuum tubes (valves), with the hardware being able to perform 12,000 floating-point calculations per second. One word consisted of 40 bits and was able to contain either one numeric value or two instructions. Ferrite core was used as operative memory. A new series (Ural-11, Ural-14, produced between 1964 and 1971) was based on semiconductors.
It was able to perform mathematical tasks at computer centres, industrial facilities and research facilities. The device occupied approximately 90-100 square metres of space. The computer ran on three-phase electric power and had a three-phase magnetic voltage stabiliser with 30kVA capacity.
The main units of the system were: keyboard, controlling-reading unit, input punched tape, output punched tape, printer, magnetic tape memory, ferrite memory, ALU (arithmetical logical unit), CPU (central processing unit), and power supply.
- Charles Simonyi, who was the second Hungarian in space, stated that he would take old paper tapes from his Soviet-built Ural-2 computer into space with him: he kept them to remind him of his past.
- Bashir Rameev, chief designer of the Ural series
- "The best enemy money can buy", Chapter V, "Computers – Deception by Control Data Corporation", book by Antony C. Sutton