Control Data

Control Data Corporation

A company founded in Minnesota in 1957, which became prominent in the computer industry for designing, manufacturing, and selling high-performance MainframeComputers, many of which were considered SuperComputers. At one time, writes the Babbage Institute, it "was perhaps the largest computer company in Minnesota by number of employees and annual revenues"

Its most famous computer-hardware designer was SeymourCray, who disdained integrated circuits in favor of discrete semiconductors connected by wiring cut to lengths meticulously calculated to control the movement of electrons in the circuits. Cray designed the CDC 1604 (1960), 6600 (1965), 7600 (1969), and began the design of the 8600. The designers of the CDC 6400 (1966), 6500 (1967), 6700 (1970), the Star/Cyber 200 (1980), and the models of the Cyber 170 and 180 series, never achieved comparable fame. Cray left CDC in 1972 to found CrayResearch. The 8600 was canceled afterwards (parenthesized years above are for first customer shipments).

CDC's final MainframeComputer line was the CdcCyber series ( That's past tense because of severe financial problems that arose for CDC in the late 1980s, including an astonishing $250 million--that's $1/4 billion--financial loss in just a single 3-month quarter (1987? 1988?). CDC exited the computer-hardware business in 1992, selling off some of its business units, including its hard-disk-drive business.

It appears that at least 2 active commercial entities still trace their business back to a Control Data Corporation split into independent businesses in 1992: For more detail and clarification:
Yes, the interrelationship of CDC, Ceridian, Syntegra, and BT is indeed confusing; it took quite a while--not merely minutes--to straighten things out.
CategoryComputerCompany CategoryComputerArchitecture

View edit of November 10, 2007 or FindPage with title or text search