*Cray (adjective): Slang; abbreviation of crazy.
Prepare for your weekly dose of history, as WDD recaps significant events that took place in the tech and engineering space.
On March 4, 1977, the first Cray-1 supercomputer, tasked with nuclear weapons modeling, was shipped to New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, going on to become the world’s fastest computer until 1982. Ten times faster than competing machines, it could perform over a hundred million arithmetic operations per second.
In terms of design, the 80 MHz computer featured a seven-foot central column (the roundness of which minimized the space required by its 1,662 printed circuit boards, integrated circuits, and 60 miles of wires), surrounded by a padded, circular seat.
The 5.5-ton Cray-1, configured with one million words of main memory, drew 115 kW of power—enough for ten homes—and required its own built-in, Freon-based refrigeration system. (Fun fact: the computer’s architect, Seymour Cray, and his employees ran the machines to warm their offices during the cold Minnesota winters.)
The Cray-1 was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for $8.8 million.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)