A Japanese supercomputer has just smashed its own processing speed record, becoming (and remaining) the world’s fastest supercomputer. Japan’s K-computer’ held the record of 8 quadrillion (a quadrillion is a thousand trillion, a petaflop, if you prefer) calculations per second. It has a brain consisting of 88,000 processor microchips and now clocks in at a mind-boggling 10 quadrillion calculations a second, over its 8 quadrillion record at a stunning 93% accuracy. An ordinary desktop, having two or four microchips units, clocks in at about a gigaflop (one thousandth of a trillion), which is a million times lesser than a quadrillion.
The supercomputer was designed at Fujitsu, in collaboration with the supercomputers R&D wing of Riken, specifically to achieve this landmark. The name derives from the Japanese word kei’, which means 10 quadrillion. The name appears extremely successful now that the computer has achieved the 10 petaflop mark.
The previous record of 8 petaflops was also held by K-computer, as mentioned. The score and rating is given by the LINPACK benchmark. It aims to calculate the speed by giving the computing machine an NxN system of linear equations of the general form Ax = B to solve. The standard procedure implemented is the Gaussian elimination method with partial pivoting. The system’s floating point computing power can then be judged and measured in megaflops.
This is a momentous achievement of the island country, especially given what it has been through over the last year. Ryoji Noyori, the president of Riken, said:
The K Computer is a key national technology that will help lay the foundation for Japan’s further progress
Ten petaflops is mindblowing! It will be interesting to see the giant solving real problems in the sciences in the near future.