Powerful methods based on supersymmetry allow one to find exact solutions to certain problems in strong coupling gauge theories. The inception of some of these methods (holomorphy in the gauge coupling and other chiral parameters, in conjunction with instanton calculations) dates back to the 1980's. I describe the early exact results the calculation of the β function and the gluino condensate - and their impact on the subsequent developments. A brief discussion of the recent breakthrough discoveries where these results play a role is given.
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I am grateful to A. Gorsky, A. Ritz, A. Vainshtein, and V. Zakharov for useful comments in the process of conversion of notes which I had prepared for the talk at the Centennial Meeting of the American Physical Society into this expanded written version. The work was supported in part by DOE under the grant number DE-FG02-94ER40823.