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Iran unveils first homemade supercomputer, starts work on a world-class one

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Photo published on May 16, 2021 shows racks of Simorgh supercomputer that was unveiled earlier in the day in Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology.

Iran’s telecoms minister has unveiled a first home-made supercomputer while ordering works to start on a more powerful one that would rank among the world’s top 50 machines.

Mohammad Javad Azari was in Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT) to launch Simorgh, a supercomputer capable of delivering 1 petaflops of AI performance which would be double its current nominal power, according to a report by official IRNA news agency.

The world's most powerful supercomputer in Japan has a petaflops power of over 442.01, according to a website that ranks the top 500 supercomputers from times to times.

The IRNA report said that Iran’s ministries of telecommunications, science and the AUT had jointly funded Simorgh, a project that cost over 1 billion rials ($4.5 million).

It said some of the parts used in the machine have been designed by Iranian engineers and manufactured in other countries.

The home-grown drive to develop Simorgh puts Iran in the club of 10 countries in the world with the know-how to develop supercomputers, said Alireza Monadi Sepidan, a senior Iranian parliamentarian who was present in the unveiling ceremony for the machine.

“This important development ranks Iran among the 10 countries with the petaflops knowledge,” said the lawmaker who chairs the Iranian parliament’s Committee on Education, Research and Technology.

During the ceremony, telecoms minister Azari ordered works to start for building another Iranian supercomputer that would be 100 times more powerful than Simorgh, a machine he said would not be capable of responding to Iran’s growing computational needs.  

The minister said the new project would be called Maryam, named after Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, a female professor of Stanford University who died of cancer in 2017.

Once ready, Maryam would be among the world’s top 50 supercomputers in terms of computational performance.

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