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The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer Hardcover – Jan 18 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (Jan. 18 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471048852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471048855
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #523,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maury Markowitz on Sept. 23 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'll give this book high marks for providing a readable and fast moving business history. This isn't always easy to do, because it's difficult to know what's important and what's fluff that's only going to slow the narative down. I'd say this book has found a nice balance, and I could fly through it withough getting bored.
On the other hand, it's utterly devoid of any technical detail. Now one might argue this isn't really needed, but we're talking about the story of a supercomputer vendor! The machines, ones that changed the computer landscape forever, are basically ignored. This is a story of making the machines, not the machines themselves -- but let's be honest, this IS a story about the machines!
To put this in some sort of perspective, I read a Cray quote (perhaps originally due to Amdahl) that I thought was extremely insightful (here's hoping I get it right); "a megaflop of computing power needs a megaword of memory per second". This single statement sums up everything that made Cray's designs a string of successes, and the vast majority of its competition failures -- it doesn't make a difference how fast the processor is if it runs out of data. Cray's genius was to make machines where every part of the machine was up to snuff, not just the processor, but the memory, disks, everything.
Nothing of this sort comes up in the book anywhere. There's some discussion of experiments with transistors here, and talking about Cray's work habits there, but the success of his machines is left to some sort of magical supergenius, as opposed to the real story which I think is much more interesting. This is about hard work and clear vision. When one examines the failures of competing machines, like the STAR or ILLIAC IV, they invariably fell because they concentrated on only one part of the puzzle.
So I have to say I found this book to be easy to read, but generally information-lite.
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By Daniel A Lucio on Jan. 29 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is just one of the best books I have ever read! The historic point of view is awesome!
;-)
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Format: Hardcover
Few biographies of computer heavyweights have moved me like this short, 232-page volume. This book is a nicely written chronicle of Seymour Cray and his supercomputing associates. The book covers Cray's entire professional career - from Cray's early days with pioneering Engineering Research Associates until his death (from injuries in an auto accident) in 1996 as he struggled to reinvent the glory days of super-computing with a new company, SRC (Seymour Roger Cray) Computers.
By the way, as a native of Minnesota and Wisconsin, it was pleasant to recall that Control Data and Cray Computing made the area around St. Paul (Wisconsin is just across the river) one of the hottest technology areas for two decades.
Cray was totally absorbed in computing. If you share some of his passion, you will love this. Non-tech types will not enjoy it and will wonder why he did not "get a life."
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Format: Hardcover
Seymour Cray carves a special place in the history of computing. No other super computing companies / personalities can rival his achievement (name one that survives more than 3 decades). This book chronicles the life and time of Seymour Cray. It depicts how one man's devotion to attain the highest speed in computing produces a series of remarkable machine. Anyone would wish that the guy is still around building newer machines.
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By JB on Aug. 6 2000
Format: Hardcover
I give it four stars because this book did not mention enough details. It will be good if the author showed us why Seymour Cray would spent so much time on transistors. Why he thought ICs were not reliable? Why used ICs with sow few gates? Why he was so skeptical to new toys at first, but then used GaAs, a compound that's just too painful to handle.
However, it's still a great book to read. I couldn't put it down.
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By A Customer on Jan. 13 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are into high preformance computing and still think that it just sort of happend all at once and had no begining then buy this book. We owe almost all of our computer advances to Seymore Cray and what he did for Computer Science. When you look at Chip or a computer you will always see his work in there somewhere. That's why you should get this book for your own enlightenment about CS History.
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