NCAR supercomputing history

Main content
Wide view of the CDC3600 supercomputer

Browse the table below for information about individual supercomputers, including the CDC 3600 system pictured here. You can also take this 14-minute walking tour to see what the Mesa Lab computer room looked like in 1992 and to learn more about NCAR's history.

NCAR has long been at the forefront of supercomputer use and development, from 1963 to the present. The current system, Cheyenne, is the second supercomputer CISL has operated at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The first was named Yellowstone in 2012. Some details from the most recent procurements are available via the menu to your right. Others can be found in the NCAR/UCAR archives.

Browse through the history of supercomputing

Choose a link in the first column to get more information about a system.

Title Nickname* Commissioned Decommissioned Clock Speed Number of Processors Memory (terabytes) Peak Teraflops Power Consumption Manufacturer
CDC 3600   11/01/1963 04/29/1966

0.001GHz 

1 0.0000 0.000001  

Control Data Corporation 

CDC 6600   12/30/1965 05/20/1977

0.010GHz 

1 0.0000 0.000001   Control Data Corporation
CDC 7600   05/03/1971 04/01/1983 0.036GHz 1 0.0000 0.000036   Control Data Corporation
CRI Cray-1A S/N 3 C1 07/11/1977 02/01/1989 0.080GHz 1 0.0000 0.000160 115.00 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray-1A S/N 14 CA 05/02/1983 10/01/1986 0.080GHz 1 0.0000 0.000160 115.00 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray X-MP CX 10/01/1986 09/30/1990 0.118GHz 4 0.0001 0.000941   Cray Research, Inc.
Connection Machine 2 capitol 09/01/1988 04/01/1993 0.007GHz 8,192 0.0010 0.007168   Thinking Machines
CRI Cray Y-MP8 shavano 05/21/1990 06/30/1997 0.167GHz 0 0.0005 0.002667 120.00 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray Y-MP2 castle 07/16/1991 09/01/1994 0.167GHz 2 0.0005 0.000667   Cray Research, Inc.
IBM RS/6000 cluster arapahoe, comanche, navaho, chief 02/01/1992 09/01/1997 0.066GHz 4 0.0005 0.000530   IBM
Connection Machine 5 littlebear 03/01/1993 11/01/1996 0.032GHz 32 0.0010 0.004100   Thinking Machines
IBM 9076 SP1 wildhorse 08/01/1993 09/01/1995 0.062GHz 8 0.001 0.001990   IBM
CCC Cray-3 graywolf 10/01/1993 03/25/1995 0.500GHz 4 0.0010 0.004000 90.00 Cray Computer Corporation
CRI Y-MP8I antero 06/01/1994 12/01/1996 0.167GHz 8 0.0005 0.002670   Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray T3D t3d 07/01/1994 06/01/1999 0.150GHz 128 0.0080 0.019200 41.40 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray J90 aztec 10/01/1995 06/30/2000 0.100GHz 20 0.0010 0.004000 7.00 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray J90 paiute 10/01/1995 06/30/2000 0.100GHz 16 0.0005 0.003200 7.00 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray C90 antero2 01/01/1997 11/30/1999 0.244GHz 16 0.0010 0.015610 493.50 Cray Research, Inc.
CRI Cray J90se ouray 01/01/1997 11/30/2001 0.100GHz 24 0.0010 0.004800 7.50 Cray Research, Inc.
HP Exemplar sioux 05/01/1997 05/14/1999 0.180GHz 64 0.0080 0.046080 25.00 Hewlett-Packard
CRI Cray J90se chipeta 03/01/1998 09/03/2002 0.100GHz 24 0.0010 0.004800 7.50 Cray Research, Inc.
SGI Origin 2000 ute 06/01/1998 07/15/2002 0.250GHz 128 0.0160 0.064000 51.10 SGI
SGI Origin 2000 dataproc 04/14/1999 09/30/2004 0.250GHz 16 0.0160 0.008000 8.00 SGI
IBM SP babyblue 06/18/1999 01/10/2005 0.375GHz 64 0.0640 0.096000 7.00 IBM
IBM SP blackforest 08/11/1999 01/10/2005 0.375GHz 1,308 0.7020 1.962000 140.00 IBM
Compaq ES40 prospect 11/01/1999 02/19/2002 0.500GHz 32 0.0080 0.032000 9.50 Compaq
IBM p690 bluedawn 01/09/2002 01/17/2007 1.100GHz 16 0.0320 0.070400 6.50 IBM
SGI Origin3800 chinook 07/15/2002 08/31/2004 0.500GHz 128 0.2560 0.128000 15.00 SGI
IBM p690 bluesky 10/31/2002 03/05/2007 1.300GHz 1,600 3.3280 8.320000 415.00 IBM
IBM p690 thunder 10/02/2003 11/30/2007 1.300GHz 64 0.1280 0.332800 15.50 IBM
IBM Linux Cluster lightning 07/12/2004 12/04/2009 2.200GHz 260 0.5280 1.144000 48.00 IBM
SGI Origin3800/128 tempest 09/01/2004 04/23/2008 0.500GHz 128 0.2560 0.128000 15.00 SGI
IBM Linux Cluster pegasus 01/31/2005 11/30/2008 2.200GHz 132 0.2720 0.580800 28.00 IBM
IBM BlueGene/L frost 03/15/2005 05/31/2012 0.700GHz 8,192 4.1943 22.937600 83.10 IBM
Aspen Nocona coral 08/16/2005 09/24/2010 3.200GHz 44 0.0960 0.563200 8.00 Aspen Systems
IBM p5-p575 bluevista 08/27/2005 09/29/2008 1.900GHz 624 1.2480 4.742400 210.60 IBM
IBM p5+-p575 blueice 10/26/2006 06/16/2008 1.900GHz 1,696 4.8320 13.312000 325.40 IBM
IBM p6-p575 bluefire 04/24/2008 01/31/2013 4.700GHz 4,096 12.2240 77.004800 538.20 IBM
IBM p6-p575 firefly 08/13/2008 01/31/2013 4.700GHz 192 0.8960 3.609600 29.00 IBM
Cray XT5m lynx 04/26/2010 10/01/2013 2.200GHz 912 1.2960 8.129600 35.00 Cray, Inc.
IBM iDataPlex/FDR-IB yellowstone 06/04/2012 12/30/2017 2.600GHz 72,576 145.1520 1,509.580800 1,165.00 IBM

* Supercomputer names are often used in login commands and other situations, so they are typically entered as one word and lower-case letters. Even when their formal names are capitalized and sometimes two words instead of just one, like Black Forest and Little Bear, they’re used as blackforest and littlebear. As smart as they are, supercomputers need to know where parts of commands start and end, and a space in the name is a problem. 

Next Page
CDC 3600