Capturing Cray

documentary looks at Chippewa Falls’ computing history

Emily Albrent

AND THEY SAID COMPUTERS WOULD KILL BOOKS... The documentary Cray Research at Chippewa Falls: A Story of the Supercomputer will debut at the Heyde Center for the Arts on July 22.
AND THEY SAID COMPUTERS WOULD KILL BOOKS... The documentary Cray Research
at Chippewa Falls: A Story of the Supercomputer will debut at the Heyde Center
for the Arts on July 22.

Between checking Facebook every couple of hours and Tweeting to our hearts content, we forget that computers have a huge impact on our lives – and locally, on our community. As a reminder, the Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology commissioned and will be premiering the documentary film, Cray Research at Chippewa Falls: A Story of the Supercomputer.

Jim Mandelert, a museum board member, said it was time to make a documentary about Chippewa Falls native Seymour Cray and his journey – along with the other workers at Cray Research – to creating the supercomputer.  

“What it’s really about is the idea that this man, who grew up in Chippewa, built these massive computers that were used worldwide and were built and designed and were staffed from Chippewa Falls,” Mandelert said.

The film contains interviews with early Cray Research leaders, engineers, and other employees. Moviegoers will also get the chance to ask questions of the film director and several former Cray employees.

Mandelert said he wants this documentary to demonstrate the positive changes that Cray Research had on Chippewa Falls’ economy and community as a whole and what it gave back to the people and the world by supplying supercomputers.
And such computers are still being made today: Even though today’s Cray Inc. may not be as big as its predecessor, Mandelert said it is still employing people with great jobs.

To take a look into the past of supercomputers, check out the documentary at 7 p.m. Monday July 22 at The Heyde Center for the Arts, 3 S. High St., Chippewa Falls.