The history of Cray branded computers is long and has a few twists along the way. Beginning as a classic start-up in 1976 and building to a multi-million dollar company Cray Research Inc went through cycles of boom, innovation, not-quite-bust, buyout (three times), occasional refocus and of course a split with the founder.
A few timeline posters have attempted to cover the history of the Cray machines and major events in the company lifecycle some of these posters are presented here. Most show the Cray systems within a linear timeline, but the journey of the Cray branded machines was more complex. Other companies were bought to compliment the in-house technology (FPS, OctigaBay) other parts were sold off (chip Foundry & CraySoft) and Cray Computer Corporation was spin off to accommodate Seymour Cray and the Cray-3 Project. Along the way Cray branded supercomputers changed the world providing computational solutions in such complex problem areas as molecular chemistry, weather & climate prediction, fluid dynamics, complex structural analysis and discovering occasional very large prime numbers. Supercomputing is largely about the machines and these posters start to give a taste of how technology evolved over the nearly 50 years of development.
Cray Family tree
This poster covers the timeline of machines released between the Cray-1 Serial number 1 up to the year 2022. Each swimlane shows a sequence of related machines. See the Cray machine families page for more details.
Corporate Timeline write up.
Charlie Clark came across this very clear and detailed write up of Cray Corporate history over on Encylopidia.com
Or click through for a better view of these posters ….
This poster may have been brand adjusted 🙂
Wide format version up to 2009
From the Cray Corporate Computer museum in Chippewa Falls now CFMIT 1946 to 1991
NCAR Timeline of computer systems
Thanks to Laura at NCAR for sending these photos. (Apparently other supercomputers are available)
Oak Ridge National Lab
This interesting chart derived from Top500 supercomputer listing data shows the longevity of the Cray T3E.
German Weather site DKRF Partial history
And just for fun here is a programming languages timeline.