Monday, June 20, 2011

No. 287: Japanese supercomputer regains the position of the world’s best for the first time in seven years (June 21, 2011)

The next-generation supercomputer under development jointly by RIKEN and Fujitsu rank first in the contest to decide the best supercomputer in the world. Named Kei (10 to the 16th power), this supercomputer will be completed next year. In the performance test, Japan’s latest supercomputer achieved more than three times higher computational capability than the Chinese supercomputer that ranked first in the previous contest. Japan’s supercomputer that ranked first in the world before Kei is the “Earth Simulator” developed by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. This supercomputer maintained the word’s best position between 2002 and 2004. IBM of the U.S. has been developing a supercomputer comparable to Kei, but the development is behind the schedule. A female Diet member left a very famous phrase in 2009. “Why is it necessary to be the world’s best? Why aren’t you satisfied with the second place?” Possibly this awkward opinion stimulated the development team. Supercomputers are vital to the computation that needs tremendous amount of data processing, such as simulation of car collision and search for new agents for pharmaceuticals. The female Diet member responded to this achievement by saying calmly that the new supercomputer will hopefully be of great help to Japan’s technological development.

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