SCD Supercomputer Gallery


CRAY-3 (graywolf): 1993–1995

On May 24, 1993, Cray Computer Corporation (CCC) delivered its first CRAY-3 supercomputer to NCAR. The gray, four-foot tall machine was called graywolf, following an NCAR tradition of naming computers after 14,000-foot peaks in the Colorado Rockies.

The CRAY-3 was the brainchild of Seymour Cray, chair and executive officer of CCC. Graywolf had four processors, 128 megawords of memory, 20 gigabytes of disk space, and a clock speed of 2.08 nanoseconds — the fastest clock speed of any supercomputer then available. It was connected via HIPPI to the Mass Storage System.

The CRAY-3 used gallium arsenide integrated circuits in place of silicon for all its logic circuitry. This circuitry was contained in the top eight inches of the computer in a system cabinet with a bronzed acrylic lid.

A larger cabinet beneath, called the control pod, contained controls and monitoring devices for the cooling system and power supplies.

The machine required 90,000 watts of power and gave off 310,000 British thermal units of heat per hour — enough to warm six 2,000-square-foot homes.

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CCC loaned the CRAY-3 to NCAR on an experimental basis. The supercomputer ran atmospheric and oceanic computer simulations and was used for CCC software development.

Graywolf was decommissioned on March 26, 1995, the day after CCC filed for Chapter 11.