Original Cray-1 vs Clustered-Pi Zero

It was powerful back in the day...

10 February 2022 by Kevin McAleer

Cray-1 1975

Seymour Cray and Lester Davis of Cray Research designed the original Cray 1 supercomputer in 1975. The first Cray-1 system was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1976.

Around 100 Cray-1s were sold worldwide, mainly due to the price tag of circa $8.7 Million, about $33 Million today.

The unique ā€˜Cā€™ shape cabinet allowed the wires that connected the processors to be as short as possible. The ā€˜Cā€™ shape also enabled airflow around the boards from the cooling system on the bench around the central core.

Floating Point Operations

The Cray-1 could perform around 160 million floating-point operations per second (MFLOPS). At the time, this was unheard of and enabled types of modelling and forecasting that were not previously possible on a computer. The models included weather forecasting, Vehicle crash simulation and finite element analysis of metal deformation, financial modelling, and global environmental modelling.

Clustered-Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 is orders of magnitude faster than the original Cray-1. The Zero 2 can handle around 5.1 thousand million floating-point operations per second (GFLOPS). With 12 Nodes, the total possible GFLOPS is around 61.2 GFLOPS.