Slide 71 of 89
This is an interesting story about the first Cray 2 machine. I was called to Haley by Seymour to have a Cray 2 review. There was only four or five of us in the conference room and Seymour told us that he was very unhappy with the progress of the machine. Primarily the team couldn't solve the packaging problems to his satisfaction. As a result he told me to fire everyone, and he said he was through with the Cray 2 and was going to work on operating system issues. He also said I should build the new Cray 2. We were all stunned, I remember talking to Les Davis about what to do, Les was head of manufacturing and reported to John Rollwagen, and as a result we didn't fire anyone we just moved a few people around and continued the project in boulder.
After 6 months or so Seymour called me, he was very excited, because he had solved the Cray 2 packaging problem and wanted me to see it. We were all very surprised, because we thought he was working on operating systems. The approach was the little pogo pins and vapor phase reflow soldering that ultimately went into production. It was quite novel but did not seem to be manufactureable. Les Davis was responsible for manufacturing and fought the idea but I guess he got it working somehow. You must talk to Les and get his perspective.
Seymour wanted me to work with Rockwell on a Gas machine at the same time we were working on the Cray 2. I spent a lot of time with the Rockwell people and the design of over 200 individual chips. Keep in mind that at that time there were not many circuit designers in Cray or most computer companies. We had one Calma machine for layout and no circuit designers at the time. I tried to convince Rockwell to make a gate array so the circuit problems wouldn't kill us. They refused, so I killed the program. Seymour and I had a major disagreement over this and he took over the project himself. After many false starts this became the Cray 3 many years later.
One of Seymour's characteristics was that he only returned phone calls from people he knew or knew of, so for many people he was unreachable, but within the company he was very easy to talk to and generally was very pleasant, but certainly not talkative, somewhat quiet.