Mira (supercomputer)

Mira is a retired petascale Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. As of November 2017, it is listed on TOP500 as the 11th fastest supercomputer in the world,[2] while it debuted June 2012 in 3rd place. It has a performance of 8.59 petaflops (LINPACK) and consumes 3.9 MW.[3] The supercomputer was constructed by IBM for Argonne National Laboratory's Argonne Leadership Computing Facility with the support of the United States Department of Energy, and partially funded by the National Science Foundation.[4] Mira was used for scientific research, including studies in the fields of material science, climatology, seismology, and computational chemistry.[5] The supercomputer was used initially for sixteen projects selected by the Department of Energy.[6]

Mira - Blue Gene Q at Argonne National Laboratory - Skin.jpg
OperatorsUSDOE/SC/Argonne National Laboratory
LocationArgonne National Laboratory
ArchitectureIBM BG/Q
5D Torus Interconnect configuration
786,432 cores
Power3.9 MW
Operating systemCNK[1]
Space1,632 sq feet
Memory768 TiB
Speed8.59 petaFLOPS (LINPACK)
10.06 petaFLOPS theoretical peak
RankingTOP500: 22, 2019-11
PurposeCosmology, Astronomy, lattice quantum chromodynamics, Nuclear reactor engineering, Material science, Weather, Climatology, Seismology, Biology, Computational chemistry, Computer science
LegacyRanked 3 on TOP500 when built.

The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, which commissioned the supercomputer, was established by the America COMPETES Act, signed by President Bush in 2007, and President Obama in 2011.[5] The United States' emphasis on supercomputing was seen as a response to China's progress in the field. China's Tianhe-1A, located at the Tianjin National Supercomputer Center, was ranked the most powerful supercomputer in the world from October 2010 to June 2011.[4] Mira is, along with IBM Sequoia and Blue Waters, one of three American petascale supercomputers deployed in 2012.[4] The cost for building Mira has not been released by IBM. Early reports estimated that construction would cost US$50 million,[7] and Argonne National Laboratory announced that Mira was bought using money from a grant of US$180 million.[4] In a press release, IBM marketed the supercomputer's speed, claiming that "if every man, woman and child in the United States performed one calculation each second, it would take them almost a year to do as many calculations as Mira will do in one second".[8]

One of the applicationsEdit

"Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time [..] simulating up to 1.2 million atoms for dry environments and up to 10 million atoms for humid environments [..] The researchers used the LAMMPS (Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator) code to carry out the computationally demanding reactive molecular dynamics simulations. [.. A] team of computational scientists [..] were able to overcome a performance bottleneck with the code's ReaxFF module, an add-on package that was needed to model the chemical reactions occurring in the system. [.. The team] optimized LAMMPS and its implementation of ReaxFF by adding OpenMP threading, replacing MPI point-to-point communication with MPI collectives in key algorithms, and leveraging MPI I/O. Altogether, these enhancements allowed the code to perform twice as fast as before."[9]

"The research team is in the process of seeking a patent for the hybrid material, which could potentially be used for applications in dry environments, such as computer hard drives, wind turbine gears, and mechanical rotating seals for microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems."[9]


  1. ^ "IBM System Blue Gene Solution Blue Gene/Q Application Development". IBM. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  2. ^ "November 2017". TOP500 Project. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Mira - BlueGene/Q, Power BQC 16C 1.60GHz, Custom". TOP500. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Jackson, Joab (8 February 2012). "United States Commissions Beefy IBM Supercomputer". PC World. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b Wait, Patience (31 July 2012). "National Lab Replaces Supercomputer With Newer, Faster Model". InformationWeek. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  6. ^ NP, Ullekh (1 May 2011). "MIRA: World's fastest supercomputer". Economic Times. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  7. ^ Alexander, Steve (14 February 2011). "IBM's Mira will have super speed". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  8. ^ Murph, Darren (9 February 2012). "IBM's Mira supercomputer does ten petaflops with ease, inches us closer to exascale-class computing". Engadget. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material".

External linksEdit