How Fast is a Supercomputer…..when it travels between Virginia and Georgia

Artifacts, Exhibits, Super Computing

Computer Museum of America (CMoA) recently obtained a CRAY-2 supercomputer from NASA, after being housed at Virginia Air and Space Center for 25 years and documented the process of its delivery. The 580-mile trip started with a small forklift, an 18-wheeler, and a team of people working together to carefully load the 5,500 pound computer for its journey south to Roswell, Georgia.

The driver left Hampton, Virginia at noon on a Wednesday and arrived at CMoA early the next morning. With the same careful attention to every detail, the CRAY-2, sporting Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United colors, was moved into place on the floor in the Supercomputing exhibit.

The CRAY-2 was the fastest and most powerful supercomputer on the market in 1985 and the first of Seymour Cray’s designs to successfully use multiple CPUs. In 2012, Piotr Luszczek (a former doctoral student of Jack Dongarra), presented results showing that an iPad 2 matched the historical performance of the Cray-2 on an embedded LINPACK benchmark.

NASA used this CRAY-2 for nearly a decade to simulate flight for hundreds of research aircraft at NASA’s Langley Research Center.


Read the 1996 press release outlining the original transfer of the CRAY-2, now at CMoA, from NASA to the Virginia Air and Space Center.

The CMoA collections team will be cleaning and preparing the artifact for its debut at the Bytes, Brews & Bourbon: The Museum After-Hours event scheduled June 17th.  Purchase tickets here .

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