Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer overtakes US Summit to gain the top spot in Top500 list
Fugaku is a supercomputer currently being installed at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan. It started development in 2014 as the successor to the K computer, and it is scheduled to start operating in 2021, although parts of the computer were put into operation in June 2020.
Japan’s Fugaku came top of the bi-annual Top500 list overtaking the previous four times toper US Summit. Fugaku claimed the position by carrying out 2.8 times more calculations per second than an IBM machine in the US. Fugaku’s victory broke a long run of US-China dominance, returning Japan to the top for the first time in 11 years. Top500 ranks the world’s most powerful non-distributed computer systems.
The Fugaku supercomputer has already been put to work on fighting the coronavirus, simulating how droplets would spread in office spaces with partitions installed or in packed trains with the windows open. Experts are hoping the machine will also be able to help narrow down the search for effective treatments for the virus after the full deployment of the computer next year.
The supercomputer is built with the Fujitsu A64FX microprocessor. This CPU is based on the ARM architecture version 8.2A and adopts the Scalable Vector Extensions for supercomputers. Fugaku was aimed to be about 100 times more powerful than the K computer (i.e. a performance target of 1 exaFLOPS) and have a high level of practicability in the world. Fugaku uses 158,976 A64FX CPUs joined together using Fujitsu’s proprietary Tofu interconnect.
I hope that the leading-edge IT developed for it will contribute to major advances on difficult social challenges such as Covid-19.
said Satoshi Matsuoka, the head of Riken’s Center for Computational Science.
Fugaku uses a “light-weight multi-kernel operating system” named IHK/McKernel. The operating system uses both Linux and the McKernel light-weight kernel operating simultaneously and side-by-side. The infrastructure that both kernels run on is termed the Interface for Heterogeneous Kernels (IHK). The high-performance simulations are run on McKernel, with Linux available for all other POSIX-compatible services.
However, third place in the list went to another IBM system, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, while the fourth and fifth places were taken by computers in China.
Meanwhile, Fugaku also topped other supercomputer performance rankings, becoming the first to simultaneously sit atop the Graph500, HPCG, and HPL-AI lists.
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