CRI Cray Y-MP8

Cray Research, Inc.
Clock Speed: 
Dates Used: 
Monday, May 21, 1990 to Monday, June 30, 1997
Microprocessor Peak Teraflops: 
Memory (terabytes): 
Number of Processors: 
Electrical Power Consumption: 
120.00 kW

The CRAY Y-MP8/864 that would become NCAR's flagship computer for seven years was installed in the NCAR Mesa Laboratory's computer room on May 21, 1990. It was named Shavano after a 14,230-foot peak in the Colorado Rockies, which in turn had been named for Chief Che-Wa-No, chief of the Tabeguache branch of the Ute Indians.

NCAR's Y-MP had eight processors that could run in parallel, and was used to set a new industry record by sustaining over one gigaflop on an NCAR ocean model. The system had had a clock speed of 6 nanoseconds (166.7 MHz) and 64 megawords (512 megabytes) of directly addressable central memory. It had eight Cray DD-40 disk drives each with a capacity of 5.297 gigabytes.  The disks were connected to the I/O Subsystem via channels capable of sustaining a transfer rate of 8.2 megabyte per second.  When NCAR's X-MP was decommissioned in the fall of 1990, its 256 million word (2 gigabyte) Solid-state Storage Device (SSD) and 20 gigabytes of disk were connected to the Y-MP to complete the system, giving Shavano a total of 60 gigabytes of disk storage.

At the time of its installation, Shavano represented a leap foward for NCAR computing facility, marking the focal point of the Scientific Computing Division's (SCD) conversion from Cray Research's COS operating system to its UNICOS operating system, based on based on UNIX System V technology, with numerous BSD Unix features. The shared-memory vector supercomputer was top of the line for its time, but as time marched on, it was surpassed by new technology.  

In June 1997, Shavano was decommissioned after seven years of hard, productive work. NCAR staff serenaded "Old Big Iron" with bagpipes and a rendition of "Auld Lang Zyne," eulogizing it as the most popular supercomputer NCAR ever had.

Ten months later, in April 1998, Shavano was dismantled and removed from the Mesa Laboratory's Computer Room.