How do you wake up a Cray Supercomputer?
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Last weekend, Delwyn and Adam worked again on the Cray Supercomputer Y-MP-EL, focusing on the power systems. Perhaps some visitors might think that you simply plug these giants from the past into a spare mains socket and hope for the best. However, our volunteers leave little to chance and check everything out before any ‘switch on’. The Cray has several power systems and each must be checked to ensure it is safe and functioning correctly.
Delwyn and Adam work on the Cray where it stands in the Museum. It is too heavy to move and after setting up a barrier they can get on with their tasks and visitors can see the huge contribution to the Museum that is made by volunteers with their skills, knowledge and a large dose of enthusiasm.
One of the first items to be worked on was the ‘capacitor box’. This is provided so that in the event of the mains power supply being interrupted, the capacitor box has stored enough energy to keep the Cray running for a further 10 seconds, enabling a trouble free emergency shut down. Later our volunteers looked at the bulk converter module, which contains the 380v and 12v DC supplies. So far so good!
Of course the technical stuff goes hand in hand with some basic cleaning, so a vacuum cleaner helped our Cray volunteers clean out the cobwebs from the top fan trays. After a bit of a clean up our two intrepid Cray twins pack up for another week. The Cray will sit quietly for the week as our visitors admire this icon of speed and power in computing.
Want to know more about Cray? You can find the Cray website here
Not all our volunteers get their heads into big machines. We equally need volunteers to help us show visitors around, catalogue what we have, help out in our shop – to name a few of our needs. If you have a little time to spare in the week, weekend or once a month; whatever you can offer! Contact us at TNMOC and talk to us about volunteering.