Cray Operating System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cray Operating System
DeveloperCray Research[1]
Working stateDiscontinued
Initial release1975; 44 years ago (1975)[1]
Latest release1.17.2 / July 1990; 29 years ago (1990-07)
Marketing targetSupercomputers
Available inEnglish
PlatformsCray-1, Cray X-MP line

The Cray Operating System (COS) succeeded Chippewa Operating System (shipped with earlier computer systems CDC 6000 series and CDC 7600) and is Cray Research's now discontinued proprietary operating system for its Cray-1 (1976) and Cray X-MP supercomputers, and those platforms' main OS until replaced by UNICOS in the late 1980s. COS was delivered with Cray Assembly Language (CAL), Cray FORTRAN (CFT), and Pascal.


As COS was written by ex-Control Data employees, its command language and internal organization bore strong resemblance to the SCOPE operating system on the CDC 7600 and before that EXEC*8 from CDC's earlier ERA/Univac pedigree. User jobs were submitted to COS via front-end computers via a high-speed channel interface, and so-called station software. Front end stations were typically large IBM or Control Data mainframes. However the DEC VAX was also a very popular front-end. Interactive use of COS was possible through the stations, but most users simply submitted batch jobs.

Disk-resident datasets used by a user program were 'local' to the individual job. Once a job completed, its local datasets would be released and space reclaimed. In order to retain the data between jobs, datasets had to be explicitly made 'permanent'. Magnetic tape datasets were also supported on Cray systems which were equipped with an I/O Subsystem.

COS also provided job scheduling and checkpoint/restart facilities to manage large workloads, even across system downtimes (both scheduled and unscheduled.)

Internally, COS was divided into a very small message-passing EXEC, and a number of System Task Processors (STP tasks). Each STP task was similar in nature to the peripheral processor programs in earlier Control Data operating systems.

List of STP tasks[edit]

STP Task Description
DQM Disk Queue Manager
EXP User Exchange Processor
JCM Job Class Manager
JSH Job Scheduler
PDM Permanent Dataset Manager
SCP Station Control Program
TQM Tape Queue Manager

However, since the Cray machines did not have peripheral processors, the main central processor executed the operating system code.

While the source for version 1.13 was released as public domain, 1.17 is available at[2]

See also[edit]