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Crave visits the Cray-1, a true museum piece (Albuquerque Journal)

This Cray-1 is now part of a supercomputing exhibit in Los Alamos.

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Many great masterpieces reside in museums. There’s the
“Mona Lisa” at the Louvre. “Nighthawks at the Diner” graces the wall at the
Art Institute of Chicago. And the Cray-1 sits at the Bradbury Science Museum
here in Los Alamos.

The first Cray-1 was installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1976 at a
cost of $8.8 million. It set a new world record speed of 160 million floating-
point operations per second and boasted 8MB of main memory. According to the
museum, it was the first computer to break the megaflop barrier.

MANIAC data register unit from 1952. Vacuum tubes! (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

By today’s hardware standards, the Cray-1 is a great lumbering beast. The
dramatic lighting shining on it at the Bradbury exhibit shows off its curves
and hulking size. But by 1976 standards, it was a svelte creation whose
circular shape kept the complex wiring compact.

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