NEC SX-4B on Ebay

Dave McGuire mcguire at
Thu Oct 9 01:56:48 CDT 2008

On Oct 8, 2008, at 4:04 PM, Chris M wrote:
> silly question...what would a person do with it? Yes some people  
> actually do look for utility in some of their old clunkers (and  
> that one isn't that old I reckon). Could the web? Could  
> some games? Obviously the thing could emulate anything on  
> the planet (I realize that's a possible response, so the sky is the  
> limit). But what are the practical applications that this thing  
> could be set to use from the get-go?

   Surf the web or play games?  No.  Fortunately, I don't do either  
of those things.

   The SX-4B, like most supercomputers, is a math machine.  It is  
very good at many types of tasks that are mathematically intensive.   
Image processing, fluid mechanics, weather simulation, cryptography,  
etc.  There's a lot more to computers than such trivial wastes of  
time as surfing the web and playing games. ;)

   As many here know, I have a few Cray supercomputers.  Like the  
SX-4B, they are math machines.  As a specific example, I bought my  
first Cray system for about $12,000.00.  I used that machine to  
develop and test image processing algorithms for a digital video  
surveillance system that I built.  I made back that $12,000.00 on the  
first sale of that system.  This SX-4B is quite a bit faster than  
that particular Cray.

   To be fair, I could've done that image processing work on my (very  
fast) SGI desktop workstation instead of the Cray, but each test run  
would've taken days rather than hours, and I'm a very impatient man.

   I am currently using another Cray system in a medical application  
that I can't talk about right now. (NDA)  It is mathematically- 
intensive and suits the architecture well.


Dave McGuire
Port Charlotte, FL

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