Japanese K Computer is the Fastest in the World

Top 5 Supercomputers
The Top 5 Supercomputers
Speed measured in trillions of calculations per second
1. K Computer (Research Institute), 8162
2. Tianhe-1A (Tianjin Supercomputer Center), 2566
3. Jaguar (Oakridge National Research Center), 1759
4. Nebulae (Shenzhen Supercomputer Center), 1271
5. Tsubame 2.0 (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

K Supercomputer
The K Computer at the Kobe scientific research facility where it is still under construction. Photo taken by the research team on the 14th.

Tadashi Watanabe
Project leader Tadashi Watanabe, holding the certificate of recognition that K is the fastest supercomputer in the world, with other project leaders. Photo by Norihide Miyoshi.

Japanese Strength and Willpower Top the World Again through K Supercomputer
Yomiuri Shimbun: 日本勢、意地の世界一奪還…スパコン「京」
Norihide Miyoshi reporting from Hamburg, Germany June 21, 2011

The Top 500 ranking of the fastest supercomputers in the world was published here at the International Supercomputing Conference on the 20th, and K, the supercomputer being developed by scientific research centers and Fujitsu in Kobe took first place behind a speed of 8.162 trillion calculations (pentaflops) per second.

The last Japanese supercomputer to top the world was the NEC Earth Simulator seven years ago in June 2004.

The K project has a 112 billion yen budget. Its funding was briefly frozen in the fall of 2009 and later restored.

The production team aims to connect over 800 CPUs and surpass 10 trillion (or one kei (京), hence the name K) calculations per second by June 2012. The computer currently has 672 CPUs. It has far surpassed last year’s number one, China’s Tianhe-1A (天河1A).

Japanese Supercomputer World’s Best due to Delay by American Rival
Yomiuri Shimbun: 米国の敵失が勝因…日本のスパコン世界一
June 20, 2011

The Japanese K Computer, which is being designed to perform more than 10 quadrillion calculations in one second, is already the fastest in the world though it won’t even be finished until June of next year.

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology attributed the victory to Fujitsu’s production running ahead of schedule and the delayed release of the next American supercomputer.

Compared with 2002-2004, when the Tokyo University Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute’s Earth Simulator ruled the world, the competition is much more fierce. America is beginning to research how to produce computers in the hundred trillion calculation range, and China is continuing to invest in supercomputers, so it’s not clear if Japan can continue to compete in the field.

Of course, the quality of a computer is determined not only by its calculation speed but also by its software. K will run simulations relating to drug development, solar batteries, and the birth of the universe, among other things. One contribution to disaster relief efforts is that tsunamis originally estimated to be at least 20 meters in overall size were actually 2 meters around according to K.

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