The science ministry has embarked on a quest to develop a next-generation supercomputer by 2020 that will be 100 times faster than K, Japan’s fastest supercomputer, ministry officials said.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will seek funding to design the new machine in its fiscal 2014 budget request, they said.
K, jointly developed by Fujitsu Ltd. and the state-backed Riken research institute, was the first supercomputer in the world to perform 10 quadrillion computations per second. But as of November, it had slipped into third place in the global speed rankings behind Titan and Sequoia, developed by the United States.
According to a biannual ranking of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, K was first in 2011 but slipped to second in June 2012.
The ministry is hoping to use the next-generation supercomputer to develop drugs and enhance disaster prevention by predicting earthquakes and tsunami, among other purposes, the officials said. They will also shoot for exaflop capability, or 1 quintillion computations per second.
Since supercomputers are regarded as a barometer of a nation’s scientific and technological capabilities, the United States, China and other countries are planning to develop exaflop-capable machines by around 2020.
The science ministry is hoping to keep the cost of the new supercomputer below the ¥110 billion required to develop K, the officials said, adding that where it will be built has yet to be determined.