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Definition: SGI

A pioneer in computer graphics. Founded in 1982 as Silicon Graphics International by Jim Clark, SGI manufactured servers and high-end graphics workstations. Used in commercial, industrial and military applications, the company officially changed its name to SGI in 1999. SGI used its own graphics technologies in a line of Unix and Linux hardware geared to high-performance computing and visualization. Its custom chips and subsystems performed the tedious processing necessary to display objects on screen.

Running a flight simulator or playing a game was always more realistic on an SGI computer, and SGI led the way in computer graphics until commodity chips from companies such as Intel and NVIDIA began to perform equally well. In 1992, SGI acquired MIPS Technologies and, before spinning it off again in 2000, used its RISC-based microprocessors in most of its product lines. In 2009, SGI was acquired by Rackable Systems, Fremont, CA, and in 2016, the company was acquired by HP Enterprise (HPE).

Dr. James H. Clark
Clark has a penchant for creating innovative companies. He founded SGI in 1982 and Netscape in 1994. (Image courtesy of SGI.)

Virtual Reality
SGI's specialty was 3D graphics, and its visualization applications were always ahead of the pack. (Image courtesy of SGI.)