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Definition: Cray


(Cray, Inc., Seattle, WA, www.cray.com) A supercomputer subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Cray was founded in 1972 as Cray Research, Inc., by Seymour Cray, a leading designer of large-scale computers at Control Data. In 1976, Cray shipped its first computer to Los Alamos National Laboratory. The CRAY-1 was a 75 MHz, 64-bit machine with a peak speed of 160 megaFLOPS, making it the fastest vector processor the world had seen thus far.

Over the years the company introduced numerous models of entry-level to high-end supercomputers including the X-MP, Y-MP, C90, T90, J90, T3E, SV1, SV2 and MTA series. All Unix based, they were used for many industrial, technical and commercial applications.

In 1989, Seymour Cray left his company to found Cray Computer Corporation, which closed six years later. In 1996, Cray Research was acquired by Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI). In 2000, Tera Computer Company acquired the vector processor technology from SGI and changed its name to Cray, Inc. In 2019, Cray was acquired by HPE, and the company's latest highest-performance computing systems are liquid-cooled clusters of x86 chips from AMD. See vector processor and supercomputer.




Seymour Cray
Cray became famous for his supercomputers, and his passion for high-speed computing led to many innovative designs. Cray died in 1996 at the age of 71, due to injuries in an automobile accident. (Image courtesy of Cray Research, Inc.)






The Cray 1
In the late 1970s, the Cray 1 became synonymous with high-speed computing. It was often photographed for "space-age" computer shots because of its science fiction silhouette. (Image courtesy of Cray Research, Inc.)






The Cray T90
In this world of look-alike boxes, the machines that Cray built were sure standouts. (Image courtesy of Cray Research, Inc.)