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One of the tech buzzwords du jour right now is “Big Data,” the idea of companies mining ever-increasing data sets to glean insightful information. That’s an arena where supercomputers can have an especially powerful role, in part because the machines are built to crunch complex numbers used in everything from the exploration of oil & gas to the design of automobiles.

Now, Seattle-based supercomputer maker Cray is going heavy into the “Big Data” arena, forming a new unit by the name of YarcData.

“Cray is best known for building supercomputers that can run massive scientific and engineering simulations, and from that work we have developed unique technologies and amassed significant experience working with some of the largest data-intensive environments in the world,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray in a statement. “This makes our entry into the Big Data market a natural evolution.”

The new unit, consisting of employees at Cray, will be led by Arvind Parthasarathi, who will hold the title of senior vice president and general manager of YarcData. Parthasarathi previously worked with Informatica Corporation, where he served as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s Master Data Management business unit. Before that, he worked at i2 Technologies and Oracle Corporation.

Shares of Cray are down slightly, trading just above $7 per share.

UPDATE: A spokesman at Cray said that they are not disclosing the total number of employees who will work in the new unit, but they plan to add about 25 to 30 new workers for YarcData this year. And what about that odd name?

The company says it is a combination of Cray spelled backwards and data.

“We wanted to cleverly show how closely integrated this new division is with Cray, and we also wanted to tie it with the word ‘data’ to highlight the connection with the big data market,” the spokesman said.

Previously on GeekWireSupercomputer in the cloud: Amazon lands on Top500 list


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