The areas in which Japan is very active are the building of an X-ray free electron laser; a space transport system; an ocean and earth exploration system; and a fast breeder reactor technology.
The goals of the Third Science and Technology basic plan are the discovery and creation of knowledge toward the future and to force scientific breakthroughs, according to Dr. Watanabe. The Next-Generation supercomputer project is fitting in perfectly since it aims to develop the world's most advanced supercomputer as well as to develop and deploy its usage technologies including application software, and
to establish the Center of Excellence for computational science.
It forms one of Japan's key technologies of national importance for the period spanning 2006 to 2012.
The major applications on the next-generation supercomputer will be manufacturing, nanotechnology, disaster prevention, aerospace, life sciences, environment, and astronomy and astrophysics.
In terms of system configuration, Dr. Watanabe explained that the next-generation supercomputer is a massive parallel system to meet diverse application environments. It will be a sustained petaflops system in real applications. The high performance/low power CPU with 8 cores will achieve 128GFlops@2GHz and 58W. It consists of a high throughput/low latency Torus network (Tofu) with optimized compilers and libraries such as Fortran, C/C++, MMPI, BLAS and LAPACK.
The next-generation supercomputer will be a highly reliable system, operating with a low operating temperature in CPU/ICC, i.e 30 degrees of Celsius by water cooling. Auto-recovery functions with strict error detections are incorporated. It will be based on a reliable Torus network with auto-rerouting with back-up servers and dual data paths in I/O. It will be a highly efficient and usable system for diverse workloads.
The next-generation supercomputer will be a distributed parallel file system, consisting of a hierarchical I/O system with staging functions and an efficient job scheduler to support the 3D Torus Network. There will be a unified portal system to support application development, file handling, job and resource monitoring etc.
The job environments consists in a batch job-oriented system. Interactive environments are available in debugging.
The location of the supercomputer site will be in Kobe City.
The Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) will play an important role with new material energy creation and global climate change prediction for disaster prevention. According to Dr. Watanabe there are five strategic fields for these areas.
The goals of AICS are to establish the hierarchical organisations of the next-generation supercomputer with other supercomputers; to set up a large-scale storage system for the Next-Generation supercomputer and other supercomputers; and to establish a consortium, which will lead the creation of HPCI.
As a result of the budget screening by the new government last November, the screening committee concluded that the project should be temporarily frozen but after re-evaluation, there will now be a new start, concluded Dr. Watanabe.