Miniature model Cray X-MP supercomputer

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Slight nitpick: the Raspberry Pi 4 is clocking in at 13.5 GFlops, for 2.13 2.02 GFlops per watt. It’s crazy how much computing power you can get for cheap these days.


Here’s a mini Cray Y-MP with a Raspberry Pi case tucked into it that you can 3D print:



8 Likes a working model.


Is this the machine that Ben Kingsley and Robert Redford sit down upon that outer ledge while they talk about Kingsley’s career in the Mafia since they were sixties revolutionaries together, and Ben was caught and imprisoned, whereas Redford got away?

Redford: “But, organized crime? How could you?”
Kingsley: “Oh, come on. It’s not that organized.”

…something like that. It was a great scene. BK had provided organization by supercomputer analysis of the best crimes to commit, or something…


These are what powered Jurassic Park’s gene sequencing and editing program.

In the book the feds though having them flown out to Costa Rica was a violation of classified technology export ban.

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I think they used a Y-MP, but it’s a Cray.

No entry for Sneakers on
which is really unusual.


They used a Cray in the book. In the movie they used a Thinking Machines CM-5. Spielberg thought it looked cooler.


But if you could use the GPU as well, that might even the score. (One of the problems with the Pi is that the GPU drivers are somewhat proprietary.) An Pi3 VideoCore IV GPU ~ 24 gigaflops. Also, I imagine that a graphics pipeline architecture would be very suited to linear algebra operations.

I keep hearing people say Pis are small and limited. If you avoid browsers, they grind along nicely.


The video card on my machine “boasts” of 2.3 TFlops, but that’s only if you use FP32. Switch to FP64, and the theoretical figure slips to 144 GFlops.

The Cray 2 is a 64 bit machine through and through. .If a Pi4 is to “best it,” its gpu needs to use double precision-- and it can’t

Still planning on getting a model 4 to play around with mathematica-- for the CAS system, not for numerical stuff. Any caveats I should be aware of?

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No crays to be seen.

Not really “can’t”. It would just have to spend more 32 bit calculations (4x?) to stitch together a 64 bit result.

The question was: could a single 32 bit core PiZ best a Cray2. A Pi4 with 4x64 bit cores and NEON is quite a different question and would be interesting even without the rabbit hole of the GPU.

NEON, the “Advanced Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) Extension”, is ARM’s successor to the VFP coprocessor. NEON is a VFP extension which allows for efficient matrix and vector data manipulation and is commonly used in signal-processing applications. Prior to ARMv8, the ARM architecture distinguished between VFP and NEON floating-point support. NEON was not fully IEEE 754 compliant, and there were instructions that VFP supported which NEON did not. These issues have been resolved with ARMv8. [i.e. RPi3 >=]

I suspect most compilers aren’t up to making full use of the matrix and vector aspects, which are Cray’s territory. That’s the home advantage of Crays: Lot of high quality work put into mapping problem sets to their specific hardware.

No one is going to devote that quality of work to fully using a Pi GPU or even the ARM8, when any top-shelf bitcoin crunching PC graphics card would crush a Pi or Cray.

Still planning on getting a model 4 to play around with mathematica-- for the CAS system, not for numerical stuff. Any caveats I should be aware of?

Couldn’t say. I was planning to pick up a RPi4 with the USB-C fix, but that was when taking a long bus trip to Toronto became a bad idea.

I’m looking forward to seeing what it can to with USB3 to a USB3 hard drive.


How are you supposed to sit on that seat?

Lovin’ this geek fest on RPis!

I’m very happy with for my name-brand tiny computer buys.
AliExpress for the cheap clones… hurts less when I let the smoke out.

At EPFL in Lausanne they have a Cray XMP/48 used as a bench in one of the main corridors. I have a feeling most of the kids don’t know what they’re walking past, but I was impressed.


All the old DEC machines are just being used as boat anchors these days.


Odd. They have a lot of obscure computers and a lot of obscure films on their website, but not a single Cray?

Right. I can understand a site that focuses on microcomputers, but there are quite a few mainframes (and even a CDC 6600, which Cray designed.)

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One Cray in the list of pending features (Cray-1 / Tron).

Well, it is a hobby project by one guy, probably on a strict ‘whenever I can snatch an hour or so inbetween to work on it’ schedule. And I can’t fault him for that.

Anyway, he is asking for help, so maybe I’ll use my powers of procrastination to compile something about Sneakers I can send him.
Of course the first step should be to re-watch the film to refresh my memory. Apart from the Cray and the mainframe in the young Marty & Cosmo flashback sequence and the product placement Goldstar monitor and the braille terminal there should be other interesting stuff.