Computer pioneer Cray hurt

Computer pioneer Cray hurt

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Supercomputer pioneer Seymour Cray was critically injured in a traffic accident on Interstate 25 near the Air Force Academy Sunday afternoon.

Cray, 70, who founded the Eagan, Minn.-based Cray Research Inc., was reported in critical condition at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Sunday night, following surgery for massive head injuries.

Three cars carrying 10 people were involved in the accident but only Cray was injured, said Sgt. Rob Wilson of the Colorado State Patrol.

Wilson said Cray was driving a 1995 Jeep Cherokee and had just entered I-25 southbound when the accident took place.

Cray was alone in his car.

A 1974 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Daniel Rarick, 33, of Colorado Springs, following Cray's vehicle, pulled out to pass Cray and clipped a Pontiac Grand Prix in the lefthand lane, forcing the Grand Prix onto the highway shoulder, Wilson said.

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The Grand Prix came back on the highway, struck Rarick's Camaro and sent it out of control, then struck the left rear of Cray's Cherokee, which went out of control and rolled three times.

Rarick was cited for careless driving.

This summer, Cray started up a new Colorado Springs-based company called SRC Computers Inc.

Cray launched Cray Research in Minnesota in 1972. In 1989, Cray left Cray Research and started Cray Computer Corp. in Colorado Springs. But his quest to build an even faster computer using new-generation materials failed last year, and his bankruptcy cost half a billion dollars in investors' money and more than 400 jobs.

Working at Control Data Corp. in 1957, Cray built the first computer to run on vacuum tubes, an advance that made the machine more reliable and led to the miniaturization of electronics components.

He launched Cray Research in 1972. There, he built the Cray-1 and Cray-2 supercomputers, machines that helped the defense industry create sophisticated weapons systems and saved the oil industry untold millions in drilling expenses by building geographic models that predicted mineral deposits.

Cray Research, now owned by Silicon Graphics of Mountain View, Calif., employs 2,000 people in Chippewa Falls, Wis.


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