The global race for supercomputer dominance seems to go between the United States and China right now. But if Japan has a say in the matter, they will become a force to reckon with rather soon. A new plan has been unveiled to design a new supercomputer capable of achieving 130 petaflops. That would make the machine superior to the Chinese Sunway-TaihuLight.
Japan Wants The World’s Fastest Supercomputer
Technology is constantly evolving, as hardware becomes more streamlined and capable of achieving greater speeds over time. The race for the top supercomputer has been quite exciting to keep an eye on as of late, despite there only being two players in the race right now. Both the US and China down the most supercomputers in the world, even though China’s Sunway-TaihuLight is the fastest machine on the planet today.
Japan wants to get involved in the competition and has unveiled a plan to create a new supercomputer very soon. This particular machine should be capable of achieving 130 teraflops, making it the fastest of its kind to date. However, it remains to be seen if this device can deliver on the promise of that processing capacity.
Reuters claims to have sources who told them that the construction of this new supercomputer would commence in 2017. By that time, new advancements will have been made in the IT infrastructure, and 130 petaflops may not be fast enough to claim the first spot once the machine has been completed. China is already working on their next generation of supercomputers capable of achieving at least 930 petaflops.
Building such a machine is not cheap by any means. Sources indicate that it will cost at least JPY19.5m to do so, although that amount may increase before the project has been realized. The bigger question is what a supercomputer would be used for, as it seems to serve no direct purpose. Japanese officials want to use it for future research related to artificial intelligence, as well as the development of self-driving cars.
Japan has a very powerful supercomputer already, which is used by the Joint Center for Advanced High-Performance Computing. Under the Oakforest-PACS name, EuroUnion, this supercomputer can, theoretically, achieve a speed of 25 petaflops. Compared to the current generation of supercomputers, that speed is virtually useless.
The competition in the supercomputer market will heat up in other parts of the world as well. The EuroUnion wants to develop two prototypes by 2020, one of which should be capable of securing a spot in the top three worldwide. All of these plans are very ambitious at best, but it is clear that the future of supercomputers is looking brighter than ever.
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