IBM’s Summit had been the world’s fastest computer from November 2018 till June last year, when Japan’s Fugaku overthrew Summit to become the most powerful supercomputer in the world. Fugaku has now started operating at Japan’s scientific research institute Riken. This marks the end of a seven-years long development procedure for Fugaku, which started developing in 2014 in collaboration with Fujitsu. The operation for Fugaku has began earlier than initially scheduled. A report in Japan Times said that the early opening of Fugaku is in the hopes of it being utilised for research related to the coronavirus.
The delivery of the Fugaku’s 432 racks was completed in May 2020, and in June 2020, it was listed as the world’s fastest supercomputer with a maximum performance of 442 petaflops. To put it in perspective, the IBM Summit, which was the most powerful supercomputer before Fugaku has a performance of 148.8 petaflops. Fugaku was also on the top of the Top 500 list in November 2020. The new supercomputer replaces a Japanese supercomputer named K, which was decommissioned in 2019. It has been designed to carry out high-resolution, long-duration, and large-scale simulations and boasts up to 100 times the application performance of the K supercomputer.
Fugaku is now fully open for shared use, and Japan’s Research Organisation for Information Science and Technology (RIST) has already selected 74 research projects that will be implemented from next month. RIST has also urged researchers to submit proposals for new projects, and has invited all applications to be sent in as part of a call for Trial Access Projects.
Fujitsu and Riken will continue to monitor the operation of Fugaku to ensure stable performance, while also working to enhance the user environment, and to provide better supercomputing technologies.