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February 14, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

While the Cray Y-MP, rated at a peak of between 2 and 4 GFLOPS, is a pretty nifty machine, albeit a year late, watch out for the Cray 3, a prototype of which is expected before year-end, with announcement next year. It is expected to be about three times as fast as the Y-MP and will be the first big computer fabricated in Gallium Arsenide technology. And it will will not be Seymour Cray’s last shot either – he has started work on the Cray 4 for 1992 or 1993, with a design spec calling for a machine 10 times as fast as the Cray 3 or 1,000 times as powerful as Cray 1. John Rollwagen, chairman and chief executive of Cray, has been talking to Reuters, Dow Jones, the New York Times, securities analysts and anyone else within earshot since the launch of the Y-MP. In particular he repeated the company’s previous forecast of 10% growth in sales and profits for 1988 on the $4.65 a share on sales of $687.3m in 1987. Cray expects to install 65 systems in 1988, up from the 58 in 1987. But Rollwagen said the average value would decline to a touch under $12m from $12.5m in 1987. The 65 installations will be divided almost evenly into three: small, or used systems; systems with one or two processors; and top-of-the line models, including three or four Y-MPs; Rollwagen also said the company has set a target of 55 new orders for 1988, and might beat it a little bit. On the X-MP, he said that there will be no price cuts until this summer, when the company expects to announce changes in pricing and performance for the X-MP – at present, the $20m Y-MP is not much more expensive than the X MP/4. Cray expects to ship a dozen Y-MPs in 1989. Asked about the new relationship between IBM and Steve Chen, Rollwagen called it a bad news, good news thing. Chen designed the Cray X-MP and Y-MP and moved on to form Supercomputer Systems Inc. The bad news is that IBM is serious about the supercomputer business, the good news is that any product is likely to be four or five years away. On the subject of Japanese competition, he noted that Cray received five contracts from Japan in 1987, one from a government agency. All the Japanese supercomputer companies combined installed just 20 supercomputers in Japan in 1987, and only five had the power of Cray’s lowest model.

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