Japan is aiming to regain the edge in technology innovation which it lost to China and South Korea, by building the world’s fastest computer.
The Japanese government is to spend 19.5 billion yen ($173 million) on creating the fastest supercomputer known to man with a 130 petaflops processing power that would propel the country into a new technological era.
Currently China’s Sunway TaihuLight holds the record with 93 petaflops capacity, churning calculations at the rate of 93 quadrillion per second.
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The computer, to be capable of 130 quadrillion calculations per second, will be available for a fee to Japanese companies developing driverless cars, robots, medical diagnostics and other systems.
“As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast,” said Satoshi Sekiguchi, a director general at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, where the computer will be based.
The currently fastest supercomputer in the world is China’s Sunway Taihulight, which is used for weather forecasting, pharmaceutical research and industrial design, but is only capable of 93 quadrillion calculations per second.
The fastest supercomputer ever built in Japan, the Oakforest-PACS developed by Fujistsu, is only capable of 13.6 petaflops.
The new machine, dubbed ABCI for Artificial Intelligence Bridging Cloud Infrastructure, will be completed by the end of 2017. It will provide Japanese innovators with a domestic capability to perform complex analyses involving massive amounts of data. Japan also hopes to advance in the field of artificial intelligence and deep learning, which mimics processes in the human brain to develop smart computer systems.
The technology will help create better algorithms for self-driving cars, capable of analysing large amounts of visual traffic data, and optimise factory automation.
Japanese companies can bid for the project until 8 December.
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