Cray promotes exec, upgrades supercomputer

The promotion goes to Peter Ungaro, who takes over the presidential role formerly held by Chief Executive Jim Rottsolk.

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Cray has promoted a top executive to president and upgraded its flagship supercomputer, the company said Monday.

The promotion went to Peter Ungaro, who takes over the presidential role formerly held by Chief Executive Jim Rottsolk. Rottsolk will focus on strategic and corporate governance issues and work with large customers; all company departments except legal, finance and government relations will report to Ungaro.

Cray hired Ungaro from IBM in 2003 and promoted him to senior vice president for sales, marketing and services in 2004.

In addition, the company announced its X1E, an update to its X1 "vector" supercomputer geared for scientific tasks such as weather forecasting and aerodynamics engineering. The upgrade performs nearly three times as fast as its predecessor, Cray said.

The system competes with mainstream high-performance machines from IBM and Hewlett-Packard, vector machines from NEC, and a technology in development at IBM called the Virtual Vector Architecture.

The X1E replaces the X1's processors with dual-core models that combine two computational engines on each slice of silicon, Cray said. Data transfer speeds to memory also are 50 percent faster.

X1E customers include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which plans to buy a machine this year that can perform 20 trillion calculations per second; the Korea Meteorological Administration; Warsaw University's Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling; and Spain's National Institute of Meteorology, Cray said.

Cray also sells more-conventional systems using Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor, the smaller XD1 and the larger XT3.