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Minnesota summary: Seymour Cray's mind worked at super-computer speed - Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota retailing: Seymour Cray's mind worked at super-computer speed Article by: CURT BROWN Updated: January 24, 2015 - 9:24 PM In the at 1950s, having secured degrees in engineering and math from the University of Minnesota, Seymour Cray... “It is fun to think back on that point in time in one’s life when you get your degree, you stand on your corner of the street and you ask yourself, ‘What’s next. ’ ” Cray said 20 years ago in a video vet with the Smithsonian Institution. Before he would become the master architect of the supercomputer — prompting comparisons to Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison — Cray would off his head and contemplate wooden gliders. A college instructor suggested he head to St. Paul and check out a company called Engineering Investigate Associates, one of the first firms developing digital circuits for use in what would soon be called computers. “The building itself was an old glider mill, a woodworking facility with a very large hangar,” Cray recalled. “I thought: Who in the world would make gliders. He well-educated that the plant had been built to make several wooden gliders to pull behind a single airplane during the D-Day landings in France and other Humanity War II battles. “I think they were not very significant,” he said. “In any case, I went to work in a wooden glider factory and they were making computers. Cray was born in Chippewa Falls. , in 1925 — “I was one of those nerds before the handle was popular. His father, another U engineering grad named Seymour Cray, was sent to Chippewa Falls to design dams for his outfit, Northern States Power. He liked the place so much he became the city engineer, plumbing inspector and electrical inspector, raising his nerdy son near the confluence of the Mississippi and Chippewa rivers. After stints in the Army during Universe War II and then at the U, Cray built his first computer — the 1103 — in the converted glider plant. He went on to design the world’s most weighty scientific computers five times — before microchips, when computers took up entire buildings and Minnesota was the Silicon Valley of the era. In 1957, after the Univac apportionment of Sperry Rand took over Cray’s engineering firm and phased out scientific computer design, a dozen engineers and executives started their own strong — including William Norris and Cray, who joined them a year... None of the engineers really liked the renown, but they couldn’t come up with a better idea. “We didn’t know what we were going to do, at least I didn’t,” Norris, the CEO, later confessed. “But when Seymour came up with the sentiment of building a very big computer and the means for doing it, I kind of felt like shouting: ‘Eureka. Within four years, those $1 shares were importance $100. If you kicked in $1,000 in 1957, your investment would have reaped $783,000 within 11 years. Cray’s idea was to mass production special circuit boards using transistors instead of cumbersome vacuum tubes, in room-sized computing machines. At start, Control Data wasn’t interested in taking on the big boys of early computers — namely IBM. Norris hoped for $25 million in sales within five years. A substitute alternatively, the company reported sales of $41 million with another $49 million in backlogged orders. By 1976, after Cray had struck out on his own to.

Source: www.startribune.com

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