Bearing more resemblance to a modern art installation than a powerful supercomputer, the Cray X-MP/22 was the fastest computer in the world 1983-1986. It ran at 105 MHz, then the quickest processing speed available, and was capable of performing 400 million calculations per second under optimal conditions. The circuits necessary to produce this processing power gave off so much heat that a conventional fan was insufficient for cooling; the circuit board had to be immersed in fluorocarbons to function properly. It was the first computer containing two processors that could be simultaneously accessed by a single program. Such superior technology wasn’t cheap - each Cray X-MP was built to order and cost tens of millions of dollars.
This Cray X-MP/22 was used 1986-1992 at the NIH’s Laboratory of Mathematical Biology, a part of the National Cancer Institute, in the Advanced Scientific Computing Laboratory (ASCL). Although housed in Maryland, this computer was used via network by scientists across the country and has the distinction of being the first supercomputer dedicated solely to biomedical research. It was used in applications such as crystallography, DNA sequence analysis, image processing, molecular structure determination, and statistical analysis.