Today’s world leader, China’s Sunway TaihuLight, is highly likely to lose ground because Japan plans to create a new, super-efficient, the fastest computer in the world that will have a processing capacity of 130 petaflops (to compare with 93 petaflops of Sunway TaihuLight). It is worth mentioning that one petaflop is equal to one million billion floating-point operations per second.
Japan plans to deliver a tenfold increase in computing performance for the same power consumption which will probably bring booming popularity to its supercomputer. And this grandiose event is expected to occur by 2017.
Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (with the abbreviation AIST) wants not only to build supercomputers that leave behind all the world’s machines. It is also aiming to the effectiveness. But how to attain a power consumption of under 3 megawatts? One can claim everything is possible if to put your shoulder to the wheel. But let’s imagine just for a minute that Japan’s current highest entry in the Top500 supercomputer list, Oakforest-PACS, delivers one-tenth the performance (13.6 petaflops) for the same power. So it becomes clear that the next aim is truly overwhelming and almost unreal.
TaihuLight consumes over 15 MW.
Another considerable objective of AIST is a power usage effectiveness (the ratio of total power consumption, including that required for cooling, to power consumed by computing devices) of under 1.1. That’s a PUE value obtained only by the world’s most powerful data centers.
AIST has its trump card – liquid cooling, a method that is also used by French company Atos in its supercomputer design for the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). A curious fact is that Atos is aiming for a performance one exaflop (one billion billion flops). But its computer will not be ready until 2020, while AIST expects its “child” to be born a year from now.
Other countries tend to optimize their main supercomputers for calculations such as atmospheric modeling or nuclear weapon simulations. And what is AIST doing meanwhile? It is targeting machine learning and deep learning applications in the growing field of artificial intelligence (AI) with the new computer design.
The project is called AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI), and is designed for use by startups, modern industrial supercomputing users and academia, in compliance with a document published by AIST.
ABCI, the fastest computer in the world, will be built at the University of Tokyo’s Kashiwa Campus, around 40 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.