Fujitsu begins shipping first modules for ‘K’

Kyodo News

Fujitsu Ltd. has begun shipping component units for “K,” a massive next-generation supercomputer it developed with Riken, the government’s top-flight research institution.

The company held a ceremony Tuesday at subsidiary Fujitsu IT Products Ltd. in Kahoku, Ishikawa Prefecture, to mark the first shipments of the machine, which the two are hoping will become the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The system was designed under the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure initiative led by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

“K” draws on the Japanese word “kei,” which means 10 to the 16th power, to describe the system’s performance goal of achieving 10 petaflops. One petaflop is the equivalent of 1 quadrillion operations per second.

The Government Revitalization Unit, a panel of lawmakers and business leaders tasked with assessing public works projects to see if they deserve funding, demanded an effective freeze on the project last November but later reauthorized it with a reduced budget.

Fujitsu said the supercomputer system will comprise more than 800 computer units, with each boasting its own ultrafast central processing units, in a massively interconnected network.

At Tuesday’s ceremony, Fujitsu loaded eight computer units, each the size of a refrigerator, on a truck that departed for the Riken research facility on Kobe’s Port Island.

Fujitsu plans to ship eight units a week and bring the supercomputing system to more than 800 units by fall 2012.

The system will become operational at that time, Fujitsu said.