Definition of Cray

Cray is a brand associated with high-performance supercomputers, originally developed by the Cray Research company, founded by American computer engineer Seymour Cray in 1972. Cray supercomputers are known for their exceptional processing capabilities and are used extensively in various fields like science, engineering, and cryptography. Today, Cray is a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, continuing the legacy of designing powerful supercomputing systems.


The phonetic spelling of “Cray” is: /kreɪ/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cray Inc. is a pioneering supercomputing company founded by Seymour Cray, widely known for their high-performance computing solutions.
  2. The company’s supercomputers are utilized by a broad range of industries including weather forecasting, aerospace, energy, and scientific research communities for their complex computational requirements.
  3. Cray, now part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, continues to innovate and evolve, merging their advanced technology with HPE’s expansive product portfolio to create powerful, industry-leading hybrid HPC solutions.

Importance of Cray

The term “Cray” holds significance in the field of technology because it is associated with the Cray line of supercomputers, designed by the pioneering computer architect Seymour Cray.

Cray supercomputers, such as the Cray-1, Cray-2, and Cray XC Series, have been at the forefront of both hardware and software innovation since the 1970s.

These high-performance machines have facilitated groundbreaking research in various scientific domains, including climate modeling, cryptography, nuclear simulations, and molecular dynamics.

By pushing the boundaries of computation capabilities, Cray’s supercomputers have become synonymous with exceptional speed, power, and parallel processing, contributing immensely to the ongoing evolution of the technology industry.


Cray, a name synonymous with the field of supercomputing, has been at the forefront of designing and manufacturing some of the most powerful and fastest computing solutions for scientific, engineering, and industrial purposes. These cutting-edge systems are utilized to perform complex calculations and simulations at lightning-fast speeds in order to solve a wide range of problems in areas such as weather forecasting, aerospace, disease research, and quantum computing.

Cray’s high-performance computing (HPC) systems are specifically designed to tackle these large-scale tasks by using massive amounts of parallel processing, where thousands of central processing units (CPUs) work together simultaneously, breaking down vast computations into smaller, manageable parts. This parallelism allows research institutions, government agencies, and companies worldwide to solve critical real-world problems in a considerably shorter amount of time.

The applications of Cray’s supercomputing technology are vast, spanning from enhancing drug discovery and development, where it accelerates the process of understanding molecular interactions in diseases and designing novel treatments, to aiding in the exploration of renewable energy sources like fusion power and solar energy. Furthermore, Cray systems play a critical role in national security, providing governments with intelligence insights and facilitating advanced military simulations.

Additionally, Cray’s technology paves the way for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, empowering researchers to develop more efficient algorithms and data models to identify patterns, predict outcomes, and even simulate human-like decision-making processes. Through these myriad applications, Cray’s supercomputers have become an indispensable tool for driving scientific progress, industrial innovation, and technological advancements globally.

Examples of Cray

Cray, founded in 1972 by Seymour Cray, is a company known for designing and manufacturing high-performance computing systems, also known as supercomputers. Here are three real-world examples of Cray technology:

Cray XT5 “Jaguar”: In 2009, the Cray XT5 supercomputer, named Jaguar, was considered one of the fastest supercomputers in the world. It was installed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, USA. Jaguar was used for various scientific research projects, including climate modeling, materials science, astrophysics, and energy production. With its massive computing power, Jaguar provided insights into the behavior of subatomic particles, fusion energy reactions, and the evolution of the universe, among other scientific discoveries.

Cray XC50 “Piz Daint”: Deployed in 2013 at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), Piz Daint is a Cray XC50 supercomputer that remains one of the most powerful systems in Europe. Piz Daint supports various scientific research projects in fields such as climate and weather modeling, computational chemistry, physics, and life sciences. In 2020, Piz Daint was used to assist research on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), providing simulations and models that helped scientists understand the virus and develop potential treatments and vaccines.

Cray Shasta System “Perlmutter”: In 2020, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, USA, deployed the Cray Shasta system called Perlmutter. This supercomputer is designed for data-intensive and artificial intelligence (AI) workloads and supports research in areas such as climate modeling, precision medicine, and materials science. Perlmutter’s advanced capabilities enable scientists to tackle complex challenges such as analyzing the formation of galaxy clusters and simulating particle interactions within next-generation batteries.

FAQ: Cray

What is Cray?

Cray is a leading manufacturer and developer of supercomputers and advanced high-performance computing solutions. Founded in 1972, Cray has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of computational power and providing cutting-edge technology to numerous industries, academic institutions, and government agencies worldwide.

What are the different types of Cray supercomputers?

Cray offers a variety of supercomputer models to meet the needs of different customers and applications. Some of their popular products include the Cray-1, Cray XE6, Cray XK7, Cray XC40, Cray XC50, and Cray Shasta. Each model has its own unique specifications, features, and capabilities designed to solve specific computational challenges.

What industries use Cray supercomputers?

Cray supercomputers are widely used in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, electronics, energy, finance, life sciences, manufacturing, research institutions, and weather forecasting. These industries rely on Cray’s advanced computing power to solve complex problems, conduct research, develop innovative products, and make breakthroughs in their respective fields.

How do Cray supercomputers differ from other high-performance computing systems?

Cray supercomputers are known for their exceptional performance, scalability, energy efficiency, and reliability. They are designed specifically for high-performance computing applications, featuring powerful processors, interconnect technology, storage solutions, and cooling systems to support the most demanding workloads. Cray’s supercomputers are also backed by a team of experienced engineers and researchers who provide customer support and optimization services, making Cray a trusted brand in the industry.

What is the future of Cray and supercomputing?

The future of Cray and supercomputing is centered on continuously improving performance, efficiency, and usability. Cray is actively working on developing new technologies, such as quantum computing and AI accelerators, to meet the growing computational demands of various industries. They are also focusing on making high-performance computing more accessible to a broader range of organizations by offering more affordable and user-friendly solutions. This is achieved by working closely with other technology partners and collaborating on research initiatives to drive innovation in the computing industry.

Related Technology Terms

  • Supercomputer
  • Vector processing
  • Parallel computing
  • High-performance computing (HPC)
  • Scalable architecture

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