Remember the time when we watched the movie "Matrix" and were smitten with the whole sci-fi aspect of it. If you have seen the movie, you would remember Oracle - the Architect. He was a supercomputer constructed by the machines to resemble a human in order to understand the very nature of humans. He was the one who created the entire Matrix that you see in the movie. Now that was just a movie but we do have supercomputers amongst us and the fastest supercomputer - Fugako is up and running now.
What are Supercomputers?
Supercomputers are the ones having high level of performance as compared to the regular computers. The performance of these computers is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS). These computers are extremely important in the field of computational science as well as in running superfast analysis on almost everything. There have been a number of supercomputers over the years like HPC5 by Dell, and Sierra and Summit by IBM.
Introducing Fugaku - World's Fastest Supercomputer!
TOP 500 is a project started in 1993 that ranks and details the most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world. It releases a list of supercomputers twice a year. According to this list, IBM’s Summit held the first position as the world’s fastest computer for two years in a row from November 2018 to June 2020.
Summit or OLCF-4 has the capacity of 200 petaFLOPS and its current LINPACK benchmark is 148.6 petaFLOPS. LINPACK benchmarks are a measuring system of FLOP. It measures how fast a computer is able to solve a n by n system of linear equations Ax=B. Sadly for Summit, a new supercomputer has knocked it out of its position and has taken the No.1 spot as the world’s fastest supercomputer. It is the Japanese supercomputer named Fugaku, located at RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS), Kobe, Japan. Fugaku has a custom LINUX- based kernel as its operating system and has a HBM2 32GiB/node memory.
Fugaku's Commisioning and Perfomance
Fugakus development was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology back in 2014. Its goal was to develop a flagship supercomputer of Japan as a successor to the K computer which was decommissioned in 2019 and provide a wide range of applications to solve social and scientific issues.
This supercomputer has started operating at the scientific research institute known as Riken in Japan. The delivery of the 432 racks needed for Furgaku was completed in May 2020. It was listed as the fastest supercomputer in June 2020. It has a maximum performance of 442 petaFLOPS, which is three times than that of IBM’s Summit.
The Early Projects of Fugaku
Riken partnered with Fujitsu for this supercomputer that ensures stable performance along with trying to enhance the user environment and providing better supercomputing technologies. This computer has AI and data science applications which are expected to help in providing high-level results to solve problems at a new scale.
It is also expected to provide high-speed and high-precision drug discovery simulations, early detection of diseases as well as accurate predictions and natural disasters simulations for better research. It can even give better insights into fundamental scientific questions like the creation of the universe. With the computer being fully operational and open for use, Japan’s Research Organization for Information, Science and Technology (RIST) already has choose 74 research projects and they will start working on these from next month. RITS is also urging researchers to approach them with their proposals and has asked applications to be sent in as a part of call for Trial Access Projects.
Fugaku - The Most Poweful External Brain!
“The ultra-high-performance computer Fugaku is about to go into full-scale operation,” said RIST president Yasuhide Tajima. “I look forward to seeing this most powerful ‘external brain’ ever developed by humanity helping to expand our knowledge, enabling us to gain deeper insights into the foundation of matter in both time and space, giving us better structural and functional analysis of life, society, and industry, enabling more accurate predictions; and even designing the unknown future of humanity.”
The supercomputer is already being used to test the efficiency of the drugs used in treatment of Covid-19 and it is also being used to mitigate transmission of the virus through detailed droplet analysis. The supercomputer has already proved its efficiency through a project by Japan’s Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Fujitsu collaboration where they completed cancer gene analysis, which usually takes months, in a day.
Fujitsu and Riken have plans to continue to take in such projects that will help the environment and solve a number of scientific questions. They will be monitoring the performance of Fugaku to ensure that it is working efficiently and keep upgrading the computer.
Looks like our future is bright with Fugaku.