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HPE to acquire supercomputer giant Cray in $1.3bn deal

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has unveiled plans to acquire Cray, one of the world’s leading super computer manufacturers, for $1.3bn (£1bn).

The Seattle-headquartered firm was founded in 1972 by the eponymous Seymour Cray and has since grown to more than 1,300 employees worldwide.

In a deal worth more than $600m (£473m), the company has also been drafted in to build an exascale computer in partnership with chipmaker AMD for America’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The ambition is that Cray will deliver the world’s most powerful computer, capable of solving more than a quintillion (10^18) calculations per second, to the laboratory by 2021.

Following the acquisition, which is scheduled to complete by the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, HPE is planning to incorporate Cray’s technology into the service it offers clients in industry, academia and government.

Clients will be able to procure HPC-as-a-Service and artificial intelligence and machine learning analytics through HPE Greenlake, as well as a portfolio of HPC infrastructure.

HPE’s chief executive Antonio Neri said high performance computing could unlock challenges in medicine, climate change and space. “By combining [HPE and Cray’s] world-class teams and technology, we will have the opportunity to drive the next generation of high performance computing [HPC] and play an important part in advancing the way people live and work.”

Peter Ungaro, chief executive of Cray, added: “This is an amazing opportunity to bring together Cray’s leading-edge technology and HPE’s wide reach and deep product portfolio, providing customers of all sizes with integrated solutions and unique supercomputing technology to address the full spectrum of their data-intensive needs.”

Cray isn’t the first high performance computing company HPE has acquired. In 2016 it bought SGI for $275m (£217m) as part of its plans to bolster its work in big data and artificial intelligence.