Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Peyomp, Jun 28, 2009.
btw - guys, if you haven't been to the computer history museum in Mountain View, CA... you owe it to yourself to go. Look for an airfare special. It alone is worth the trip. Puts a whole lot of things in perspective.
The best part is the bench to allow for the computer nerds to sleep during installation/maintenance procedures.
Yes. Yes that is the best part
That thing ran at 80mhz in 1975-76.
cray loveseat? that was the cray 2? or was it the TMP?
Thats a cray 1. I believe another, later model had the seat as well. Wikipedia tells me the Cray Y-MP had seats, too.
I remember a scene from Sneakers where Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley are sitting on what looked like those. That was a 1992 movie.
that was an x-mp. one of my favorite movies
Nice pink shoes.
That looks like a fun place to visit. Maye I can donate my old DEC Alpha ... I can't bring myself to just throw it away.
I'm like 15 mins from Mountain View...maybe I'll go next weekend
What's the reason for the shape of Cray's enclosures?
The integrated circuits used were only 2-gates per IC, a few dozen ICs per index-card sized module, a couple hundred thousand gates total. "ICs were mounted on large five-layer printed circuit boards, with up to 144 ICs per board." So, what you are seeing is like an intel chip - little lines all over the place, but stacked in 3d. He built it in a horse shoe to reduce the distance of the wires - shorter wires, faster clock speed. He couldn't just make it a cube because these things got really, really hot - he had integrated freon cooling already
Think about how smart you had to be to hand design that. Think about how hard it was to wire it up without making a mistake. Cray wired much of the prototype himself, with his own hands. He believed no task was too mundane for the architect, did this throughout his career - he believed that anyone who wouldn't get their hands dirty was a useless premadonna and churned through executives without technical knowledge. He felt that unless he actually touched the machine, he would lose touch and do bad designs. I just finished this book about him, and HIGHLY recommend it (used copies are cheap): http://www.amazon.com/Supermen-Seymour-Technical-Wizards-Supercomputer/dp/0471048852
What you're looking at is a really big version of something roughly as fast as an Intel 386/486 - albeit in 1975, using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emitter_coupled_logic which ate up TONS of power, put of TONS of heat, etc. but made a lot of sense for US research labs during the cold war.
It would've been fun to have been at the leading edge of the information revolution, when people were doing things for the very first time. Seems like nowadays people still want to play, to see what they can come up with, but don't appreciate that they're not reinventing the wheel with what they're doing. And while I understand your point about no task being too mundane for the architect, you bet your ass he figured out what the layouts of those circuit boards should be on paper before etching and soldering the prototypes. I seem to be sandwiched between people who want to be artists and people who want to plan and research everything down to the minutest detail before doing anything that isn't hypothetical. There is a balance point, and it's more time- and cost-efficient than either of the two extremes. Obviously Mr. Cray knew how to find it, to be as successful as he was.
I should fuck up more so I can get promoted to management already.
I really wasn't trying to make a point about your career with my story, thats just who Cray was. It was all through the book. He knew he couldn't be a worthwhile architect unless he had intuition, and he knew the only way to get it was to be in there at a low level. Yes, he spent an enormous amount of time on design, and would bail on each project before it was complete. His design however depended on literally hand wiring things, something most other guys like him (well, there was nobody as smart as him, but lead scientists/engineers at other companies) would never think of doing. They were literally doing low level programming physically, as well as in software and I find that totally amazing. He was an ME, EE, CE and CS master. They did a kind of agile development because they were pushing the edge - they would do some design, and start building right away. They had to design their way around what didn't work as they went.
Anyway, it sounds like you might have more fun at a different shop, non-military, product oriented software/hardware/systems shop of some kind.
I know you weren't trying to make a point about my career, but the points that were significant enough for you to mention rang a bell anyway -- you've mentioned them before.
I would like working in the non-government-contracting sector, I suspect. Stardock seems like a pretty cool company, but I really don't want to move to Michigan. I lived there as a kid, it's too damned cold and depressing for half the year.
Get a job in Silicon Valley. I think about it all the time. I'd get so much smarter there.
only at the right job. there are tons of companies there that will use you to program widgets all day long and not give a shit about your creativity or growth.
I doubt they would bother to hire me, but immersion in that culture of meritocracy provides mucho opportunities to learn.
I am so not interested in meritocracy I can't even begin to explain it. My value as an employee is based on my ability to do the job right, but not my value as a human being -- though I'm sure they'd like it if I would equate the two.
Silicon Valley is too goddamned expensive anyway. Sure, the houses in the DC area cost about as much, but you get twice as much house here as you do there.
You're not interested in a meritocracy? You don't hear that one too often.
Anyway, yes its expensive. But the pay scales. It really depends on how important technology is to you.
I used to be a meritocrat (or an aspiring one anywya), but then I realized it's a bad way to live. It's one thing when you're trying to do the best job you can, it's another thing when you take it personally.
I don't get it. How can you get ahead if you don't work harder than everyone and be the best, and get rewarded for it?