Latest News

Tuesday, 29th November 2016
In Business In Japan,

Japan to build world's fastest supercomputer by end of 2017

A project has begun in Japan that aims to build the fastest supercomputer the world has ever seen by the end of next year (2017).

The AI Bridging Cloud (AIBC) computer will cost 19.5 billion yen (£140 million) to create and run at a speed of 130 petaflops.

If this ambition comes to fruition, it will overtake the Sunway TaihuLight, which is the pride and joy of China and currently holds the title of world’s fastest.

The new computer is to be used to analyse huge datasets and therefore advance the capabilities of research in the country.

Possible applications include enhancing findings in the medical field, improving the software for driverless cars and driving robot technology forward.

The unit for measuring the speed of such machines, the petaflop, equates to one thousand trillion operations per second.

A flop, which stands for floating point operation, is like a step in a calculation. The Sunway TaihuLight has a theoretical capacity of 125 petaflops, but only hits 93 on a regular basis.

Satoshi Sekiguchi, head of Japan's ‎National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said in a statement: "As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast."

No information has yet been released to say what processors will make up the core of the machine, but China developed its own chips when building its supercomputer.

Time on the machine will be available for purchase by Japanese businesses in order to boost their own internal research efforts.

This will make them independent of the likes of Google, Amazon and Microsoft – US companies that are seen as a ready source of supercomputer capacity.

Japan has launched a programme to regain its reputation as a world leader in the areas of science and technology, with the AIBC project being just one part of it.