Cray has been a charismatic yet somewhat reclusive figure. He began Cray Research in Minnesota in 1972. In 1988, Cray moved his Cray-3 project to Colorado Springs. The next year, Cray Research spun it off to create Cray Computer. In 1989, Cray left Cray Research and started Cray Computer Corporation in Colorado Springs.
His quest to build a faster computer using new-generation materials failed in 1995, and his bankruptcy cost half a billion dollars and more than 400 jobs. The company was unable to raise $20 million needed to finish the Cray-4 and filed for bankruptcy in March 1995.
In the summer of 1996, Cray started a Colorado Springs-based company called SRC Computers, Inc. "We think we'll build computers, but who knows what kind or how," Cray said at the time. "We'll talk it over and see if we can come up with a plan."
On 1996-09-22, aged 70, Cray broke his neck in a car accident. Surgery for massive head injuries and swelling of the brain leaving him in a critical and unstable condition.