Fugaku, the most powerful Japanese supercomputer in the world

Fugaku: The most powerful and fastest supercomputer in the world is Japanese. After seven years from its birth, thanks to the collaboration between Fujitsu and the RIKEN scientific research institute , it is finally functional and complete and officially enters service ready to be exploited by Japanese researchers.

But first of all: what is a supercomputer ? In a simplistic way, it is an immense machine, weighing hundreds of tons and consisting of as many computers the size (more or less) of a refrigerator, all connected to each other.

Power, speed and computational capacity with impressive numbers

Japanese researchers will have an impressive 442 petaflops computing power at their disposal . One petaflop is equal to one thousand teraflops, one quadrillion (one million billion) of floating point operations per second. There are 432 rack cabinets, each of which is equipped with dozens of servers that mount A64fx processors then CPUs with ARM architecture. To be precise on 152,064 A64FX 48-core SoCs, for a total of almost 7.3 million cores. The Japanese supercomputer, with this configuration, is able to offer a peak performance of about 513 PFLOPS and up to 1 ExaFLOPS in single precision calculations. It is able to perform even very complex tasks in a few seconds , and is perfectly suited to the use of artificial intelligence for high-intensity processes.

Fugaku, the Japanese supercomputer, is capable of performing very complex tasks in seconds.
Fugaku, the Japanese supercomputer, is capable of performing very complex tasks in seconds.

Fugaku: the Japanese supercomputer is at the top of the Top500

All these features have ensured that Fugaku quickly climbed the Top500 ranking, the list of the fastest supercomputers in the world that provides an overview of the progress and performance of supercomputers, beating with a score of 415.53 the Summit created in the United States and based on IBM hardware. In fact, Fugaku is three times higher in power than its closest competitor just mentioned. But not only does it also appear at the top of the Graph500, HPCG and HPL-AI charts, thus putting an end to the record held by the United States and China since 2011.

Scientific research and Fugaku: perfect union

Thanks to the high data processing capacity and the speed with which it can carry out almost any task, Fugaku is an excellent ally of scientific research. His help is essential for numerous projects, all in different fields: from research on new drugs, to techniques for the early diagnosis of diseases, to the prediction and simulation of natural disasters. The researchers intend to use this great power to try to answer questions such as the birth of the Universe and the Big Bang . That's not all: among the possible uses of Fugaku, for example, is the research of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association aimed at finding new ways to develop and improve cars, while keeping costs down. Another use is that of Sumitomo Rubber Industries for research on the molecular structures of rubber materials and to prevent tire wear.

The inauguration of Fugaku. Source: TechRepublic
The inauguration of Fugaku. Source: TechRepublic

Fugaku is now fighting covid-19 . Satoshi Matsuoka, director of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science, praised the role of the supercomputer in the health emergency. Japanese researchers use the supercomputer to obtain useful results in understanding what measures to take to avoid the progress of the infection. Among these were the results of a research on the effects of humidity on the dispersion of viral particles. Simulations showed that air humidity below 30% resulted in more than double the amount of atomised particles compared to humidity levels of 60% or higher. The use of dehumidifiers can therefore help limit infections . The research also highlighted a substantial difference between transparent visors and masks: the latter are more effective.

The article Fugaku, the most powerful Japanese supercomputer in the world comes from Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .