MIRA supercomputer puts on a bold front

June 29th, 2016 / By: / Projects

In addition to being one of the fastest supercomputers on the planet, MIRA is energy efficient, saving energy through innovative chip design and a unique water-cooling system—an important reason why a wrap had to grab attention without hampering functionality. Photo: Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.
In addition to being one of the fastest supercomputers on the planet, MIRA is energy efficient, saving energy through innovative chip design and a unique water-cooling system—an important reason why a wrap had to grab attention without hampering functionality. Photo: Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

In the world of high-speed calculations, supercomputers rule. MIRA, a supercomputer constructed for the Argonne National Laboratory’s Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in Lemont, Ill., is capable of 10 quadrillion calculations per second. An average personal computer would take 20 years to accomplish the same feat. To showcase MIRA’s abilities in climatology, seismology, chemistry and math, the Argonne Lab facility commissioned a wrap for the supercomputer from Signs By Tomorrow, a large-formal digital printing company in Plainfield, Ill.

The company consulted with the lab, IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy to ensure the material would not interfere with MIRA’s calculations. The 65-foot-long wrap was printed on environmentally friendly 3M™ Controltac™ 180-10 V3 adhesive-backed vinyl film and laminated on a Seal 64 with 3M 8518 gloss laminate. Its design, by scientist and artist Mark Hereld, features colorful circles of various sizes, each representing a type of computation at which MIRA excels. A dotted line connecting the circles illustrates how a statistical whiz-kid like MIRA connects different disciplines and leads to astounding discoveries. Bold orange text treatment of the MIRA name dominates the mural.

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