Video: Seymour Cray Introduces the CRAY-1

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Our Video Sunday feature continues with this rare footage of Seymour Cray giving a talk on the CRAY-1 supercomputer in 1976. Some people claim it took place at LANL, but he does say something about “across the Bay” so I believe this was shot at LLNL.

Some fun facts from commenter Dave Patterson:

  • The CRAY-1 was 39 inches in diameter, just over 6 feet tall, and dissipated 100,000 watts using freon cooling.
  • The talk is in December 1976, when Cray was 51 years old.
  • The CRAY-1 was the sixth generation of computers that he designed.

I figure I timed my career just about right. By the time I run out of ideas, I’ll be approaching retirement. … I see at least three steps at, say, every four years that will produce a factor of four in speed. And I pretty much believe that.”

What I found fascinating was how this video provided a glimpse of the personality that launched the supercomputer industry. To learn more about the man, check out this Seymour Cray tribute video that I helped produce back in 1996.


  1. Michael Wolfe says

    He also says that the first 6600 and 7600 were delivered “here,” and considering that the first 6600 and 7600 were delivered to LLL (as it was called then), this was clearly shot at Livermore.

  2. Michael Wolfe says

    As an aside, listen to the talk and look at how many slides he uses. He shows a few photographs of the machine, but absolutely no bullet-point slides; most of the talk is just Seymour Cray, no useless graphics. We could all learn something about giving lectures or talks, as opposed to giving Powerpoint presentations.