What Does Cray Mean?

Cray Inc. is a manufacturer of supercomputers based in
Seattle, Washington. The company was founded as Cray Research by Seymour Cray
after he left Control Data Corporation in 1972. The company was purchased by
Silicon Graphics in 1996 before SGI sold it in turn to Tera Computer Company in


Techopedia Explains Cray

Seymour Cray was an engineer for Control Data Corporation, which was well known for designing systems like the CD 1604 and CDC 6600. Cray was so valuable to the company that it gave him his own lab in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. By the early ‘70s, CDC had run into some financial difficulties and after he was told a project would be put on hold, he left to found his own company in 1972, Cray Research. The company was also based in Chippewa Falls and focused on developing supercomputers. The company’s first machine, the Cray-1, debuted in 1976 and was used by government agencies such as the U.S. National Center for Atmosphere Research and Los Alamos Laboratory to perform complex computations. The Cray-2 and Cray-3 computers were less successful, and in 1989 Seymour Cray left his own company to form Cray Computer Corporation, which went bankrupt in 1995.

In 1996, Silicon Graphics purchased Cray Research. Later that same year, Seymour Cray died of injuries he suffered in a car accident. Tera Computer Company purchased Cray Research from SGI. The company continues to manufacture supercomputers based on AMD Opteron processors and running Linux. Cray has also moved into analytics and storage.


Related Terms

Latest Hardware Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…