Cray-1A Supercomputer, serial number 11, by Cray Research

Made:
1976-1978 in Chippewa Falls
maker:
Cray Research Inc.

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Cray 1a Supercomputer, serial number 11, with accessories, by Cray Research Inc, Chippewa Falls, Chippewa county,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Close up detail of the Cray 1a Supercomputer, serial number 11, with accessories, by Cray Research Inc, Chippewa Falls,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Cray-1A Supercomputer, serial number 11, with accessories, by Cray Research Inc, Chippewa Falls, Chippewa county, Wisconsin, United States, 1976-1978

Seymour Cray founded the high-performance computing industry with machines like this 1976 Cray-1A. Each Cray-1 was hand wired and took nearly a year to assemble. Its cylindrical shape kept wires short, so signals arrived at their destination sooner, while the cushions ringing the unit covered the enormous power supplied at the base of each tower. With Freon cooling and pioneering processing systems, the machine achieved then-unrivalled operating speeds. The Cray-1 design suited it to many critical computational problems, such as cryptography, bomb simulation, and aircraft design. This Cray-1A cost £8 million in 1979 and operated at England’s Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Cray’s designs embodied innovative technology and a great aesthetic sense, but he like to work with simple tools – often a pencil and paper. It is said that when he was told that Apple had bought a Cray to simulate their next desktop machine he remarked, ‘Funny, I am using an Apple to simulate the Cray-3’.

Details

Category:
Computing & Data Processing
Object Number:
1991-159
Materials:
electronic components and metal (unknown)
type:
supercomputer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Cray Research (UK) Ltd.

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