In 1956, three Rice University faculty members brought supercomputing to the school for the first time in the form of the R1 computer. While it wasn’t the first computer at Rice, it was the university’s first large computational research computer. At the time, the researchers couldn’t simply go out and purchase a mammoth supercomputer; they literally had to design and build the R1 themselves. The R1 took up a large amount of space on the second floor of the Abercrombie Engineering Building. Bart Sinclair, associate dean of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering, credits the R1 in creating the path for Rice to be a leader in hardware and software design.
Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a look at the R1 computer. For more information on Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.
To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.
To see other stories in the centennial video series, go to www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60D6D71E71B66B3D&feature=plcp.