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USA, 1972


cray_seymour_1.gif (14223 bytes)
founder : Seymour Cray
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In order to concentrate his efforts on design, Cray left the CEO position in 1980 and became an independent contractor. As he worked on the follow-on to the Cray-1, another group within the company developed the first multiprocessor supercomputer, the Cray X-MP™, which was introduced in 1982. The Cray-2™ system appeared in 1985, providing a tenfold increase in performance over the Cray-1.
In 1988, Cray Research introduced the Cray Y-MP, the world's first supercomputer to sustain over 1 gigaflop on many applications. Multiple 333 MFLOPS processors powered the system to a record sustained speed of 2.3 gigaflops.
Always a visionary, Seymour Cray had been exploring the use of gallium arsenide in creating a semiconductor faster than silicon. However, the costs and complexities of this material made it difficult for the company to support both the Cray 3 and the Cray C90 development efforts. In 1989, Cray Research spun off the Cray 3 project into a separate company, Cray Computer Corporation, headed by Seymour Cray and based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Tragically, Seymour Cray died of injuries suffered in an auto accident in September, 1996 at the age of 71.
The 1990s brought a number of transforming events to Cray Research. The company continued its leadership in providing the most powerful supercomputers for production applications. The Cray C90™ featured a new central processor with industry-leading sustained performance of 1 gigaflop. Using 16 of these powerful processors and 256 million words of central memory, the system boasted unrivaled total performance. The company also produced its first "minisupercomputer," the Cray XMS system, followed by the Cray Y-MP EL series and the subsequent Cray J90™.
In 1993, Cray Research offered its first massively parallel processing (MPP) system, the Cray T3D™ supercomputer, and quickly captured MPP market leadership from early MPP companies such as Thinking Machines and MasPar. The Cray T3D proved to be exceptionally robust, reliable, sharable and easy-to-administer, compared with competing MPP systems.
Since its debut in 1995, the successor Cray T3E™ supercomputer has been the world's best selling MPP system. The Cray T3E-1200E system has the distinction of being the only supercomputer to ever sustain one teraflop (1 trillion calculations per second) on a real-world application. In November 1998, a joint scientific team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the University of Bristol (UK) ran a magnetism application at a sustained speed of 1.02 teraflops.
In another technological landmark, the Cray T90™ became the world's first wireless supercomputer when it was unveiled in 1994. Also introduced that year, the Cray J90 series has since become the world's most popular supercomputer, with over 400 systems sold.
Cray Research merged with SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc.) in February 1996. In August 1999, SGI created a separate Cray Research business unit to focus exclusively on the unique requirements of high-end supercomputing customers. Assets of this business unit were sold to Tera Computer Company in March 2000.

Tera Computer Company was founded in 1987 in Washington, DC, by Jim Rottsolk and Burton Smith. They have served as President and CEO, and Chief Scientist, respectively, since Tera's inception. Prior to starting Tera, Rottsolk had been involved with several high-technology start-up companies, and Smith had served on a number of prestigious technology committees and scientific panels. The company moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1988.
Tera began software development for the Multithreaded Architecture (MTA) systems that year and hardware design commenced in 1991. The MTA system provides scalable shared memory, in which every processor has equal access to every memory location, greatly simplifying programming because it eliminates concerns about the layout of memory. It provides a very flexible and efficient approach to parallelism, since any processor can operate on any data no matter where the data are located, greatly enhancing applications with irregular or unpredictable data flow. The MTA system software leverages the use of existing applications by analyzing and automatically extracting parallelism. For example, some programs written for existing vector multiprocessing systems are automatically translated to run at high speed on the MTA with minimal changes.
The company completed its initial public offering in 1995 (TERA on the NASDAQ stock exchange), and soon after received its first order for the MTA from the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The multiprocessor system was accepted by the center in 1998, and has since been upgraded to eight processors.
Now, after more than 10 years in development, the MTA systems are on the verge of full-scale commercialization. The company has stated its goal to double the number of processors every six months.

Cray Inc. (NASD: CRAY), formed from the March 2000 merger of Tera Computer Company and Cray Research, is the global market leader in high-end supercomputers.
Cray Inc. is dedicated to helping customers solve the most-demanding, most-crucial computing problems on the planet-designing the cars and trucks we drive, creating new materials and life-saving drugs, predicting severe weather and climate change, analyzing complex data structures, safeguarding national security, and a host of other applications that benefit humanity by advancing the frontiers of science and engineering.
Cray Inc. builds upon a rich history that extends back to 1972, when the legendary Seymour Cray, the "father of supercomputing," founded Cray Research. R&D and manufacturing were based in his hometown of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; business headquarters were in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 1996 Cray-computer sells her computers to foreign countries under the condition that scientists from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libia, North-Korea, Syria and Soedan may not use any Cray computer.(2)


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