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The history of Artificial Intelligence in the USSR – a personal view


V.L. Stefanuk

The starting phase of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the USSR is described. It is shown that AI has been laid upon the rich picture of scientific achievements prepared in the USSR due to Cybernetics. As a consequence many of the Western AI results have turned out to be the only some analogs of the results obtained in the schools headed by M.L.Tsetlin, M.M.Bongard, A.P.Ershov and in many other scientific units. Using information obtained during his extended visit to MIT and his participation in the large international AI conferences held in USA and Great Britain, the author has started the activity of the distribution of AI knowledge in the USSR. Hence the present paper contains mostly documentary material on the first steps of AI in this country. It is stressed that the organization of the conferences on AI in Tbilisi (IJACA-IV) and The first international meeting on AI in Leningrad became possible due to the favorable attitude of the leading Western scientists, including John McCarthy, Donald Michie, Erik Sandewall, Edward Fredkin and many more. A great positive role has been played by the prompt translation of vast AI literature into the Russian language. For the sake of completeness of the picture some problems of combining of our science with its Western counterparts are also mentioned. A great role for the introduction of AI in the USSR has been played by the prominent Russian scientists such as A.I.Berg, L.T.Kuzin, V.M.Ponomarev, V.I.Varshvsky, D.E.Okhotsimsky, G.S.Pospelov, D.A.Pospelov. The international events described above and the general enthusiasm have led to the appearance of the coordinating AI council (SAAI, or to-day RAAI) with Prof. Dmitrii Pospelov as its recognized leader. Somewhat later similar processes in Europe have led to the combining the activity of many AI groups under the auspices of European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI).


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