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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 2000.
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.