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Tech Culture: Tales of Silicon Valley: The Mighty Cray

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Tech Culture: Tales of Silicon Valley: The Mighty Cray

2:18 /

Meet a supercomputer inspired by Star Trek with a wall-sized power bank in this episode of Tales of Silicon Valley. <br> <a href="http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/crays/index.html">Cray Supercomputers and Memorabilia at the DigiBar</a>

[ Music ] ^M00:00:01 >> Silicon Valley is full of stories. Some pretty, some not. This is one of those stories. ^M00:00:07 [ Sound effects ] ^M00:00:10 >> Bruce Damer, curator of the DigiBarn tells the tale of the Mighty Cray. >> This is a Cray-1 super computer, sold and used at Lawrence Livermore Labs. Designed by Seymour Cray who was a serious Trek fan and he wanted to make something that looked like Star Trek, so you've got the naugahyde over plywood seats. >> Uh-hum. >> And you've got this beautiful tower with a different colored panels that looks like, you know Scotty's work corps. Comedy's Scotty's work corps of the Transporter and the Bridge of the Enterprise. >> Yeah. >> And that's the Cray-1. >> What era is this from? >> The first Cray-1 was from '76. >> Okay. >> And they were made until about '82 and they -- it's three on the world's first super computer and they consist of these columns of boards. All on copper plate that go in this way and they're cooled by the edge. So, the heat that's produced by these chips gets drawn out the edge, you know chilled water column going up and down. >> Uh-hum. >> And so, you need a full sub-basement full of gear, full of refrigerators and generators and other big computers that will drive this because this is just the processor. There's no keyboard or terminal on this. >> So, this is the motherboard? >> This is ... >> Or even that one? >> This is actually the vector processing unit that would find in an end-video game card. >> Aha. >> You know, just that single vector processor. That's all this is. There's tens of miles of wiring. All wired by little ladies out in the [inaudible] consoles. And this, this is the power distribution cabinet, which allows you to change the voltage levels to the different transformers, which is the seats and this shows us - the machines has run for almost 68,000 hours, which will cost a lot of money. A lot of taxpayers' dollars went into this. >> I expect the manual would be bigger. >> Look for more tales of Silicon Valley at CNET TV.com

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