Iran unveils its strongest domestic supercomputer

The Simorgh supercomputer, named after a mythical Persian bird, was developed by Iranian engineers.

Iran's national flag waves as Milad telecommunications tower in Tehran [File/Vahid Salemi/ AP Photo]

Tehran, Iran – Iran has unveiled a supercomputer – its strongest till date – developed domestically by Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT), according to the state-run news website IRNA.

The supercomputer – named Simorgh after a mythical Persian bird – has a performance capacity of 0.56 petaflops at the moment and will reach one petaflops in two months.

The supercomputer is said to be wholly designed and built by a team of Iranian engineers, who developed the country’s first supercomputer a decade ago, but some of its hardware has been imported.

The supercomputer will offer large-scale data analysis services for a variety of state-run and private scientific research, according to its developers. Among other things, it will be used in analysing artificial intelligence, crunching traffic and weather data, and image processing.

Amirkabir President Ahmad Motamedi said in addition to servicing the government, the supercomputer aims to provide a reliable infrastructure to companies with a focus on private firms.

“At the moment, knowledge-based companies have offered good platforms but they don’t have good infrastructures inside the country, which leads them to use infrastructures outside the country,” he said during a press conference in the capital Tehran on Sunday.


The Simorgh has a capacity of 0.56 petaflops [Courtesy: Mehr news agency]

The supercomputer is said to comprise 42 racks in an area of approximately 250sq metres (2,690 sq feet) based on the TIA-942 standard and is projected to be upgraded to 84 racks laid out in an area of 400sq metres (4,305 square feet).

According to the IRNA, the infrastructure put in place at Tehran’s AUT will allow the supercomputer to reach a capacity of 10 petaflops in its next stages of development, which will put it in the ranks of some of the strongest international peers.

The university worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which provided half of its 1 trillion rial ($4.5m) budget, and the scientific division of the presidential office and the ministry of science bore the rest of the cost.

The supercomputer is reported to be wholly designed and built by a team of Iranian engineers [Courtesy: Mehr news agency]

ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said that work on the next supercomputer has already started, and it will have 100 times the capacity of Simorgh.

He said in a tweet the supercomputer will be named Maryam, after the late world-class Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, to “thank the efforts of our Iran’s girls in the ICT field”.

A Stanford University professor, Mirzakhani passed away in 2017 from breast cancer at the age of 40. In 2014, she was honoured with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, becoming the first woman and the first Iranian to receive it.

Source: Al Jazeera