First-Gen Supercomputer Resurrected Share your comment!

In a move reminiscent of a Hall of Fame induction, the Living Computer Museum in Seattle recently made room in its collection for the CDC 6500 system, a first-generation supercomputer built by Control Data Corporation in 1967.

The massive machine, which the museum will attempt to restore to its former operating glory, was delivered “in three separate bays, tipping the scales at 4,000 lbs. each,” notes HPC Wire.

The museum, which was started by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen in 2012, says the restoration will take about two years and there’s no guarantee the effort will succeed. The main challenge will be getting the CDC 6500’s liquid-cooled refrigeration system back to working condition, which is a prerequisite to powering the machine on, according to the article.

The CDC 6000 series of computers was designed by the legendary Seymour Cray in the 1960s. The high-end CDC 6600 was released in 1964 with a selling price of $8 million and was 10 times faster than any other computer at the time, which gave rise to the term “supercomputer,” notes the report. The following 6400 and 6500 versions had slower CPUs, making them less expensive, but other features such as memory and peripherals were the same as the 6600.

The CDC 6500 the largest project in size and complexity to date for the museum, which houses vintage computers—most of which actually work. According to its website, the museum’s goal is “to breathe life back into our machines so the public can experience what it was like to see them, hear them, and interact with them.”

Posted on January 31, 2014 by David Weldon, Contributing Editor, Slashdot Media