World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Now Up And Running, Will Help Fight COVID-19

The world’s most powerful supercomputer is now up and running. Named Fugaku (the alternative name for Japan’s Mount Fuji), the machine was created by Japanese scientific research institute RIKEN in collaboration with multinational IT developer Fujitsu.

World's most powerful supercomputer now up and running, will help fight COVID-19


In June 2020, Fugaku was deemed the world’s most powerful supercomputer in the TOP500 supercomputer speed rankings, overtaking IBM’s Summit, which held the title since November 2018, and topping its performance by almost 300 percent.

Fugaku’s performance numbers are immense, with its 442 petaflops of processing power making it suitable for carrying out high-resolution, large-scale, and long-duration simulations across multiple fields of research.

The interesting thing about Fugaku, however, is that while it boasts incredible computing power, it was also designed to be as easy-to-use as possible. Designed to run simple applications like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, the whole aim of Fugaku’s design was to make it as widely accessible to researchers from all sectors, ranging from medicine to engineering and automotive development.

The head of RIKEN’s Center for Computational Science, Satoshi Matusuoka, was quoted as saying that his team aimed to build a computer, that if compared to a car, would be “something fast, but that your grandmother could drive to the supermarket.”

Fugaku recently completed a trial run that began in April 2020, where it worked on COVID-19 research, particularly visualizing how droplets could spread the virus from the mouth and move through masks, face shields, train cars, and more.

Now, the supercomputer is fully operational and will be open for shared use.

Projects that will make use of Fugaku’s power will be selected by the Research Organization for Information Science and Technology (RIST) – who have already picked out 74 projects to be implemented beginning April 2021, but are still inviting more applications as part of a call for Trial Access Projects.

Fugaku becoming fully operational marks a significant achievement for the Japanese computing industry due to it breaking the nine-year dominance of the U.S. and China in regards to topping the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

In 2011, K (or Kei), was Japan’s last supercomputer to top the list, and has now been replaced by Fugaku.

“I hope Fugaku will be cherished by the people as it can do what its predecessor K couldn’t, including artificial intelligence (applications) and big data analytics,” said Hiroshi Matsumoto, president of the RIKEN research institute during a ceremony at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, where the new supercomputer is now based.

Originally published at Mashable se asia

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