Japan's Newest Supercomputer Fastest in the World

Japan's newest supercomputer Fugaku is the fastest in the world — besting Chinese and U.S. rivals.
Brad Bergan

Japan's latest supercomputer — developed within the country's state-backed Riken research institute — has the fastest computing speed in the world, according to a semiannual ranking announced Monday by the U.S.-European TOP500 project.

This marks the first time in nine years that a Japanese supercomputer nabbed first place.


Japan's new supercomputer: Fugaku

Named Fugaku after Mt. Fuji, Japan's newest supercomputer also nabbed the top positions in three additional categories measuring performance in industrial-based computational methods, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence applications.

This is the first time a supercomputer topped the global rankings in all four categories, according to Riken, reports Kyodo News.

Jointly deloped with Fujitsu Ltd. at the institute's facility in Dobe, the supercomputer forms a key foundation for powerful simulations used in not only scientific research, but also military and industrial technologies.

"We were able to stand out in all the key specifications for supercomputers, and demonstrate it is the world's highest performing. We expect it will aid in solving difficult societal problems such as the fight against the novel coronavirus," said the institute's computational science center Director Satoshi Matsuoka.

The President of Fujitsu IT Products Ltd., Shinichi Kato, added to the euphoria, saying: "I feel extremely happy and honored to have been involved in creating Fugaku, which has ranked as the world's No. 1 [supercomputer]," according to Kyodo News.

Fugaku bests other supercomputers from China, U.S.

Fugaku was chosen as the world's top supercomputer in June after performing more than 415 quadrillion computations per second — roughly 2.8 times faster than the U.S.-developed Summit system from Oat Ridge National Laboratory — which previously claimed the title November 2019.

Notably, another U.S.-made supercomputer ranked third, while China secured both the fourth and fifth spots. Fugaku was the only Japanese supercomputer that made the top 10, with its AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure developed by the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Chiba Prefecture ranking 12th.

For now, the number-one supercomputer in the world operates on a trial basis for research on possible medicines to combat the novel coronavirus. Fugaku is due to reach fully-operational parameters at the start of the 2021 business year.

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