The K computer takes first place
19 August 2011 (Volume 6 Issue 8)
The K computer under construction in Kobe
Japan’s new supercomputer known as the K computer—its name derived from the Japanese kei for the number ‘10 peta’—has taken first place on the 37th TOP500 list announced at the 26th International Supercomputing Conference in June 2011. The TOP500-ranked K computer system, currently in the configuration stage, has 672 computer racks equipped with a current total of 68,544 processors. The system achieved the world’s best LINPACK benchmark performance of 8.162 petaflops, placing it at the head of the TOP500 list. This is the first time that a Japanese supercomputer has achieved world number-one status since June 2004, when the Earth Simulator took first place on the TOP500 list.
Among its many achievements, the K computer boasts an extraordinarily high computing efficiency ratio of 93.0%. This achievement is made possible thanks to the K computer’s integration of technologies: its massive number of processors, the interconnectivity that links them together and the software that maximizes hardware performance.
Jointly developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu, the K computer is part of the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) initiative of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). All elements of the supercomputer, from the research and development of its processors to system design and manufacturing, are Japan-made. The supercomputer is designed to achieve a LINPACK performance of 10 petaflops when completed in 2012, and will be applied for research in a range of areas of computational science, where it promises to open many new doors in fields from global climate research to meteorology, disaster prevention and medicine.
“As we move forward to complete this project by June 2012, we will maintain our firm commitment to the maintenance and operation of the system, and I hope to see wonderful results when we begin to make the world’s top-performing supercomputer available to users around the world,” says RIKEN’s president Ryoji Noyori. “I very much believe that the strength and perseverance that was demonstrated in this project will also make possible the recovery of the devastated Tohoku region."