Japanese supercomputer blisters 10 quadrillion calculations per second

“K” supercomputer builds on Top 500 fastest supercomputer rankings lead

The Japanese supercomputer ranked #1 on the Top 500 fastest supercomputers broke its own record this week by hitting 10 quadrillion calculations per second (10.51 petaflops), according to its operators, Fujitsu and Riken.

The supercomputer "K" consists of 864 racks, comprising a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs and has a theoretical calculation speed of 11.28 petaflops, the companies said.

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When the LINPACK benchmark program measured the K computer in its final configuration, the supercomputer system achieved a speed of 10.51 petaflops exceeding its previous speed of 8.162 petaflops, which had placed the system in first place on the TOP500 supercomputer list published June 2011, the companies said.

So what kind of applications is such a monster machine good for? Fujitsu and Riken listed the following:

  • Analyzing the behavior of nanomaterials through simulations and contributing to the early development of such next-generation semiconductor materials, particularly nanowires and carbon nanotubes, that are expected to lead to future fast-response, low-power devices.
  • Predicting which compounds, from among a massive number of drug candidate molecules, will prevent illnesses by binding with active regions on the proteins that cause illnesses, as a way to reduce drug development times and costs (pharmaceutical applications).
  • Simulating the actions of atoms and electrons in dye-sensitized solar cells to contribute to the development of solar cells with higher energy-conversion efficiency.
  • Simulating seismic wave propagation, strong motion, and tsunamis to predict the effects they will have on human-made structures; predicting the extent of earthquake-impact zones for disaster prevention purposes; and contributing to the design of quake-resistant structures.
  • Conducting high-resolution (400-m) simulations of atmospheric circulation models to provide detailed predictions of weather phenomena that elucidate localized effects, such as cloudbursts.

Riken and Fujitsu have been developing  the K computer, as part of Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology a High-Performance Computing Infrastructure program.

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