Mira

Mira Ushers in a New Era of Scientific Supercomputing

As one of the fastest supercomputers, Mira, our 10-petaflops IBM Blue Gene/Q system, is capable of 10 quadrillion calculations per second. With this computing power, Mira can do in one day what it would take an average personal computer 20 years to achieve.

Faster and more sophisticated computers mean better simulations and more accurate predictions. Mira is helping researchers to tackle more complex problems, achieve faster times to solutions, and create more robust models of everything from jet engines to the human body.

Consisting of 48 racks 786,432 processors, and 768 terabytes of memory, Mira is 20 times faster than Intrepid, its IBM Blue Gene/P predecessor at the ALCF. Mira was grown from the same DNA as Intrepid, but features many revolutionary advances.

As a machine for open science, any researcher with a question that requires large-scale computing resources can submit a proposal for time on Mira, typically in allocations of millions of core-hours, to run programs for their experiments. This adds up to billions of hours of computing time per year.

Mira—On the Forefront of Green Supercomputing

In addition to being one of the fastest computers in the world, Mira is also among the most energy efficient. The supercomputer saves considerable energy through innovative chip designs and a unique water-cooling system.

By fitting more cores onto a single chip, Mira speeds the communication between cores and saves the energy lost when transporting data across long distances. Mira’s water-cooling system uses copper tubes to pipe cold water directly alongside the chips, saving power by eliminating an extra cooling step. Overall, the new system operates five times more efficiently than Intrepid, and roughly within the same footprint.

Beyond enabling scientific discoveries in a sustainable way, Mira itself is a stepping stone toward the next great goal of supercomputing: exascale speed, where computers will operate a thousand times faster than today’s top machines.