S01 E21
8 Nov 2021/01:31:34

Supercomputers, Cray, and How Sun Picked SGI's Pocket

Oxide and Friends Twitter Space: November 8th, 2021

Supercomputers, Cray, and How Sun Picked SGI’s Pocket
We’ve been holding a Twitter Space weekly on Mondays at 5p for about an hour. Even though it’s not (yet?) a feature of Twitter Spaces, we have been recording them all; here is the recording for our Twitter Space for November 8th, 2021.
In addition to Bryan Cantrill and Adam Leventhal, speakers on November 8th included Tom Lyon, Shahin Khan, Darryl Ramm, Dan Cross, Courtney Malone, MattSci, Aaron Goldman, Simeon Miteff, and Jason Ozolins. (Did we miss your name and/or get it wrong? Drop a PR!)
Some of the topics we hit on, in the order that we hit them:
  • Bryan’s tweet about George Brown’s recommending “The Supermen”
  • Charles Murray (1997) “The Supermen: The story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer” book
  • [@1:28](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=88) Tom’s story meeting Boris 
  • [@9:27](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=567) Supercomputers and power
  • [@15:16](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=916) Cray designs 
  • [@20:36](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=1236) ETA Systems wiki
  • [@23:57](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=1437) On to the next big thing 
  • [@29:37](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=1777) Super computers as one-offs 
  • [@33:47](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=2027) Shahin on interconnects 
    • Jason on failure caused by a storm
    • Cray C90
  • [@41:06](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=2466) Courtney on bespoke toolchains and systems
  • [@42:42](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=2562) Influence of Cray on Sun 
    • 1996 Sun to purchase Cray Business Systems Division, hpcwire
    • Floating Point Systems Inc wiki > Shahin: SGI really had no use for this system. They should have just killed it.
  • [@50:10](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=3010) Origin story of DTrace (2006 article
  • [@56:14](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=3374) Thinking Machines Corp, wiki
  • [@57:36](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=3456) Seymour Cray 
    • Les Davis “The ultimate team player” write up
    • 2010 Oral history of Les Davis pdf
  • [@1:00:08](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=3608) Business Systems Division history, long road to Starfire
  • [@1:04:20](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=3860) SGI and Sun early history 
    • Non-uniform memory access NUMA
  • [@1:10:40](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=4240) Cray T3E
    • Massively parallel MPP
  • [@1:12:33](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=4353) E10k stories 
  • [@1:18:37](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=4717) Cray, spooks, pop count
  • [@1:20:45](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=4845) Chen 
  • [@1:24:04](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=5044) An engineer sees his defunct machine being scrapped
  • [@1:26:27](https://youtu.be/y07PyBrrzMw?t=5187) Jason’s story of capacitors popping off the board 
If we got something wrong or missed something, please file a PR! Our next Twitter space will likely be on Monday at 5p Pacific Time; stay tuned to our Twitter feeds for details. We’d love to have you join us, as we always love to hear from new speakers!