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Super Smart and Stunning

Signs by Tomorrow gives Mira the supercomputer a makeover.




In a time where technology such as iPod nanos, smart phones, and GPS devices can easily fit in your front pocket, it’s difficult to imagine the necessity for a computer bigger than your home desktop, let alone the length of a swimming pool.

But Argonne National Laboratory’s Mira is just that. Measuring 65-feet-long and 6-feet-high, she’s one of the biggest and fastest computers in the world. Constructed by IBM for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) in Illinois, with the support of the US Department of Energy, Mira is used to address today’s science and engineering problems and explore issues related to energy and the environment such as material science, climatology, seismology, and computational chemistry. In 2012, Mira was named the fourth-fastest supercomputer in the world by leading computing-industry experts.

So why not add some beauty to this monstrous brain? That’s what Signs By Tomorrow ( in Plainfield, Illinois, recently did by producing a full-color graphics wrap to fit Mira’s entire body.

“While working on a different project inside the facility, we were approached to see if we could ‘wrap’ a computer,” says James Murray, owner of Plainfield’s Signs By Tomorrow. “We planned this out really well with the client and everything came together as planned.”

The graphic’s design – featuring images representing the research Mira can assist with – was handed over to the shop by the client, and Signs by Tomorrow then tweaked the files and addressed technical elements such as sizing, media selection, and adhesion issues. The shop created two, full-size proofs and “minor color modifications were done to the original file by the client after the printed samples were reviewed,” says Murray.

For final output, Signs by Tomorrow utilized its HP Designjet 9000s with HP 790 ink, printing onto approximately 390 square feet of 3M Controltac Graphic Film 180-10 with Comply v3 Adhesive; the print work took 4 hours. The graphics were laminated with 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 via the shop’s Seal 64 laminator.


Mira’s transformation was finalized as two installers took eight hours to complete the wrap.

“Signs By Tomorrow has completed highly specialized projects before, but this job reflects the pinnacle of technology for our industry as well as our client’s,” says Murray. “We are very proud of our role in this very important project.”




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