CRAY-1 Supercomputer

CRAY-1 Supercomputer
Seymour Cray
Cray Research
  • Product Design

Seymour Cray, an electrical engineer educated at the University of Minnesota, designed computers while working at Minneapolis-based Control Data Corporation, which helped spawn his own firm, Cray Research. Cray believed that high-speed computing was not only necessary for the increasingly large data sets of information in the post-war world but that it could be best achieved by designing the whole system rather than concentrating on only faster processors. He began work on a new supercomputer'' in 1972, which was released in 1976 as the CRAY-1. Before the era of small desktop computers, mainframe computers were large machines that occupied entire rooms. The CRAY-1 has a distinctive tower formation that follows aC” configuration, whereby circuits on the shorter inside curve would handle tasks requiring faster performance while a low ring around unit housed an air conditioning system needed to cool the circuitry of the computer. Given the large-scale nature of the machine, this lower ring also served as a seating element.