Victor Shestakov

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Victor Shestakov
Born 1907
Died 1987
Nationality Soviet
Fields Mathematics, Engineering
Alma mater Moscow State University
Doctoral advisor Valery Glivenko

Victor Ivanovich Shestakov (1907 – 1987) was a Russian/Soviet logician and theoretician of electrical engineering. In 1935 he discovered the possible interpretation of Boolean algebra of logic in electro-mechanical relay circuits. He graduated from Moscow State University (1934) and worked there in the General Physics Department almost until his death.

Shestakov proposed a theory of electric switches based on Boolean logic earlier than Claude Shannon (according to certification[clarification needed] of Soviet logicians and mathematicians Sofya Yanovskaya, M.G. Gaaze-Rapoport, Roland Dobrushin, Oleg Lupanov, Yu. A. Gastev, Yu. T. Medvedev, and Vladimir Andreevich Uspensky), though Shestakov and Shannon defended Theses the same year (1938)[citation needed] and the first publication of Shestakov's result took place only in 1941 (in Russian).

In the early 20th century, relay circuits began to be more widely used in automatics, defense of electric and communications systems.[clarification needed] Every relay circuit schema for practical use was a distinct invention, because the general principle of simulation of these systems was not known.[citation needed] Shestakov's credit (and independently later Claude Shannon's) is the general theory of logical simulation, inspired by the rapidly increasing complexity of technical demands. Logical simulation requires solid mathematical foundations. Namely these foundations were originally established by Shestakov.

Shestakov set forth an algebraic logic model of electrical two-pole switches (later three- and four-pole switches) with series and parallel connections of schematic elements (resistors, capacitors, magnets, inductive coils, etc.). Resistance of these elements could take arbitrary values on the real-number line, and upon the two-element set {0, ∞} this degenerates into the bivalent Boolean algebra of logic.

Shestakov may be considered as a forerunner of combinatorial logic and its application (and, hence, Boolean algebra of logic as well) in electric engineering, the 'language' of which is broad enough to simulate non-electrical objects of any conceivable physical nature. He was a pioneer of study of merged continual algebraic logic (parametrical) and topological (structural) models.[citation needed]


  • Shestakov, V.I. Algebra of Two Poles Schemata (Algebra of A-Schemata). In: Automatics and Telemechanics, 1941, N 2, p. 15 – 24 (Russian)
  • Shestakov, V.I. Algebra of Two Poles Schemata (Algebra of A-Schemata).In: Journal of Technical Physics, 1941, Vol. 11, N 6. p. 532 – 549 (Russian)
  • Bazhanov, V.A., Volgin, L.I. V.I. Shestakov and C. Shannon: the Fate of One Brilliant Idea. In: Scientific and Technical Kaleidoscope, 2001, N2, pp. 43 – 48. (Russian)
  • Bazhanov, V.A. V.I. Shestakov and C. Shannon: Different Fates of One Brilliant Idea Architects. In: Problems of History of Science and Technology, 2005, N 2, pp. 112– 121. (Russian)
  • Bazhanov, V.A. History of Logic in Russia and the USSR. Moscow, Kanon+, 2007. (Russian) ISBN 5-88373-032-9
  • Gaaze-Rapoport, M.G. The Making of Cybernetics in the USSR. In: Cybernetics: Past for the Future. Moscow, 1989, pp. 46–85. (Russian)
  • Gastev Yu.A., Medvedev, Yu.T. Some Problems of Electric Circuits. In: History of Russian Mathematics. Kiev, 1970, Vol. 2, pp. 443 – 446. (Russian)
  • Dobrushin, R.L., Lupanov, O.B. Preface to the book: Shannon, C. Works of the Theory of Information and Cybernetics. Moscow, 1963, pp. 9. (Russian)
  • Yanovskaya S.A. Mathematical Logic and Foundation of Mathematics. In: Mathematics in the USSR During Last 40 Years. Moscow, 1959, Vol. 1, pp. 13 – 120. (Russian)

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