RIKEN and Fujitsu have been working together to develop the K computer, with the aim of beginning shared use by November 2012, as a part of the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) initiative led by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The K computer will be comprised of over 800 computer racks - each equipped with ultrafast and energy-efficient CPUs - that access into a network capable of an immense amount of interconnectivity. The supercomputer system brings together leading-edge technologies for high performance and high reliability.
To test the system's performance at the configuration stage, the K computer's processing speed was measured by the LINPACK benchmark programme, placing it on the 37th TOP500 ranking of the world's fastest supercomputers. The TOP500 ranking list began in 1993 and is updated twice a year in June and November.
The LINPACK benchmark programme, running on the part of the system that employs 68,544 CPUs installed on the K computer being configured, recorded the world's top performance of 8.162 petaflops. This gave it the number-one position on the TOP500 list. Moreover, for one of the world's largest supercomputers, it achieved an extraordinarily high computing efficiency ratio of 93.0%. This achievement is made possible by the K computer's integration of technologies, including its massive number of CPUs, the interconnectivity that links them together, and the software that is able to bring out the highest performance from the hardware.
When configuration of the K computer is complete in 2012, it is designed to achieve LINPACK performance of 10 petaflops. It will be widely used in a variety of computational science fields where it is expected to contribute to the generation of world-class research results. The K computer is a wholly made-in-Japan supercomputer, from the research and development of the processors, to system design and manufacturing. Use of the K computer is expected to have a groundbreaking impact in fields ranging from global climate research, meteorology, disaster prevention, and medicine, thereby contributing to the creation of a prosperous and secure society. RIKEN and Fujitsu will continue to work tirelessly toward completing the system's deployment in 2012.
Configuration of the K computer began in the end of September 2010, with availability for shared use scheduled for 2012. The "K computer" is the nickname RIKEN has been using for the supercomputer of this project since July 2010. "K" comes from the Japanese Kanji letter "Kei" which means ten peta or 10 to the 16th power. The logo for the K computer based on the Japanese letter for Kei, was selected in October 2010. In its original sense, "Kei" expresses a large gateway, and it is hoped that the system will be a new gateway to computational science.