Japan Aims For Top Supercomputing Slot

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Since being supplanted by IBM’s BlueGene/L, Japan’s technology ministry has been searching for a way back to the top.

The Earth Simulator was the fastest supercomputer in the world, until two years ago. That is when IBM’s joint development of the BlueGene/L with the US Government became functional. BlueGene/L speeds along at 136.8 teraflops. One trillion floating point operations per second comprise one teraflop.

Japan wants to develop a supercomputer capable of 10 petaflops, which would be 10 quadrillion floating point operations per second. According to AP, Japan will spend between the equivalent of $714 million to $893 million USD to accomplish this task by 2010.

At the Earth Simulator center, scientists model several scenarios for changes in the oceans and the atmosphere. Their views of circulation patterns contribute to weather forecasting improvements, as scientists get a better understanding of climate and weather patterns. The supercomputer figures in other areas of research, including geophysical studies of the Earth.

Japan’s technology ministry foresees other uses for the next supercomputer. At petaflop speeds, they hope to model the formation of a galaxy, and to simulate drug interaction within a human body.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Japan Aims For Top Supercomputing Slot
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