Hewlett Packard Enterprise Acquires Cray, Supercomputer Manufacturer, for $1.3 Billion

Hewlett Packard Enterprise just bought Cray, a big name in the supercomputer manufacturing and computing world, for $1.3 billion.

Founded in 1972 by Seymour Cray, known as “the father of supercomputing,” Cray has become an iconic supercomputer maker over the decades.

Currently, Cray is contracted to build two of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the US Department of Energy Labs, one at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the other at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Both systems are focused on bringing “exascale” performance to the labs, with raw performance power exceeding 1.5 exfaflops, or a quintillion calculations per second.

Currently, such exascale supercomputers don’t exist.

Yet, as exascale opportunities open up on the market as tech progresses, it makes sense that Hewlett Packard Enterprise would want in.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has noted that there is a growing market for government contracts using exascale tech, estimated at a potential $4 billion in the next five years.

Currently, the world’s two fastest computers — Summit and Sierra — are made by IBM.

As HPE CEO Antonio Neri notes, “Answers to some of society’s most pressing challenges are buried in massive amounts of data. Only by processing and analyzing this data will we be able to unlock the answers to critical challenges across medicine, climate change, space and more.”

America’s second-fastest unit, Sierra, is going to be disconnected from the outside world next year in order to manage the US’ nuclear arsenal.

And, Argonne Lab’s Theta is currently being used to research cutting-edge neuroscience solutions.

The US, China and Japan are racing to be the first to exascale performance.

Many have their money on China getting to exascale first by 2020.

According to HPE, the Cray acquisition is to help gain an edge on AI research and the hardware required to train more complex, larger neural nets.