Over at GigaOM, Signe Brewster writes that a project by a couple of hobbyists to build a working model of a CRAY-1A ended up turning into a major quest for early supercomputing software.
For these machines (Cray-1 or X-MP) you couldn’t really go into a store and buy an application, like you do for a PC these days. Now, you just ‘install’ Word and it runs. For these machines, everything came in source-code format and you needed to compile it before you could run it. You use the … compiler to turn it into machine code the machine could understand,” Tantos said. “That was the main way you interacted with these machines. Without the compiler, you can’t feed it that.”
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