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Economy & Tech

Japan’s Fugaku: Still the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

Once again it won the “TOP500” computer speed category, “HPCG” processing speed category, “HPL-AI” artificial intelligence category, and “Graph500” big-data analysis category.

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The Fugaku supercomputer has retained its position as the world’s fastest supercomputer for the third consecutive term, its developers Fujitsu and RIKEN announced on June 28.

After previously topping the speed ranking – as well as three other categories – in both June and November 2020, Fugaku has once again claimed top spot in all four categories.

Specifically, the Japanese supercomputer won the “TOP500” computer speed category, the “HPCG” processing speed category, the “HPL-AI” artificial intelligence category, and also the “Graph500” big-data analysis category. Fugaku has once again shown its power across a broad range of functions.

“By winning four categories three times in a row, Fugaku has shown its global-level advancement across a wide range of fields,” said Satoshi Matsuoka, Director of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science .

Fugaku’s predecessor, “K,” won the TOP500 ranking in June and November 2011, but Fugaku has now surpassed K with its three consecutive victories.

Now Five Top Contenders

According to materials released by the organization in charge of the rankings, the top four supercomputers have been the same since June 2020.

The Summit supercomputer (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), the Sierra supercomputer (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and the Sunway TaihuLight (Chinese National Supercomputing Center) were in second, third, and fourth positions respectively.

However, there was a new supercomputer in fifth place: The Perlmutter (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), which was launched recently in spring 2021.

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Japanese ABCI 2.0 supercomputer (AIST), upgraded from the ABCI, rose from 14th to 12th position.

Fugaku Maintains Edge but Competition is Keen

On this occasion, Fugaku beat the second-placed supercomputer with performance differences that were up to 5.5 times better across the four categories.

According to RIKEN, Fugaku has an impressive speed of 442 petaflops. This is about three times faster than that of the second-placed Summit, which has a speed of 148.6 petaflops.

In the HPCG and HPL-AI categories, Fugaku is about 5.5 times and 1.7 times better than Summit, respectively. In the Graph500 category, Fugaku is about 4.3 times better than the second-placed Sunway TaihuLight.

Once again, the Japanese Fugaku has the edge over its American and Chinese competitors. However, the U.S. and China are both keen to take the top spot, and it is unclear how long Fugaku can keep winning the number one position.

As the next challenge, Japan, the U.S. and China are all aiming to create an exascale supercomputer, which is even faster than anything currently in existence. Therefore, a Japanese supercomputer even better than Fugaku could emerge at some stage in 2021.

The U.S. is planning to introduce various exascale supercomputers from 2021 onward. Similarly, China has at least three plans to develop exascale supercomputers, according to hints from the Xinhua News Agency.

Japan, too, will be considering its future direction in the world of supercomputing.

 

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(Read the related  reports in Japanese at this link and this link.)

Author: Maki Matsuda