Japan's Supercomputer K Demonstrates 10 Quadrillion Calculations per Second

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This June, at the 26th International Supercomputing Conference (ISC'11) in Hamburg, Germany, Japan’s supercomputer K took the first place on the TOP500 list, beating the closest rival from China by 3x. It demonstrated 8 petaflops (quadrillion calculations per second) to top the list of the 37th TOP500 supercomputers.

The K computer, which means10 quadrillion in Japanese, is a supercomputer being produced by Fujitsu at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science campus in Kobe, Japan. 

On Wednesday, Fujitsu announced that the K computer has achieved a LINPACK benchmark performance of 10.51 petaflops (10.51 quadrillion floating point operations per second) to set a new record.

Fujitsu said that these results have been submitted to the 38th TOP500 list, which will be presented at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC11), being held in Seattle from November 12 to 18, 2011

According to Fujitsu, the K supercomputer system used for these tests is in its final configuration of 864 racks, comprising a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs. With an execution efficiency of 93.2 percent, this system further exceeds its first place winning performance on the 37th TOP500 list international ranking of supercomputers published in June 2011, where it scored 93.0 percent.

Although development is still underway to adjust the system software, the K computer achieved the goal of a LINPACK score of 10 petaflops, a performance target set as a national core technology as part of Japan's 3rd Science and Technology Basic Plan, said the developer.

In a statement, Ryoji Noyori, president, RIKEN, said, "The K computer is a key national technology that will help lay the foundation for Japan's further progress. As such, I am delighted that it has achieved its major objective — a LINPACK performance of 10 petaflops — thus demonstrating our strong technical power. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Fujitsu team members, who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to building the system, and everybody else involved in the project for their extraordinary effort. At the same time, the system's advanced technical capabilities are a major source of pride."

"As we move forward to completing the system next June, we are committed to putting the K computer's ground-breaking computing performance of 10 petaflops to use to generate important results, as well as making it available for shared use by many researchers starting next fall, " added Noyori.

Likewise, Fujitsu’s president Masami Yamamoto, stated, "I am thrilled that the K computer has achieved a LINPACK benchmark performance of 10 petaflops, while still being in development. I am also proud that we are one step closer to our goal of building a world-class supercomputer. At Fujitsu, we will continue to work tirelessly to deliver the K computer and its system software by June 2012, and enable it to be used by a large number of researchers throughout the world. We truly hope that the K computer's world-class performance will benefit and deliver value to both Japan and the entire world with leading-edge computing technology."


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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