On March 9, Japan’s Fugaku, the world’s largest supercomputer, went from partial to full-scale operations in research to combat the novel coronavirus.
Fugaku, established jointly by the Riken research institute and leading computer manufacturer Fujitsu Ltd., was supposed to go into full service on April 1, but things went better than expected.
The supercomputer has also been placed into partial service to study anti-virus initiatives. It can also be used in a variety of other areas, such as automotive applications.
Fugaku will be used in fiscal 2021 to perform research to forecast torrential rainstorms and to produce new medicines, as well as to focus on anti-coronavirus initiatives. It is also intended to be used in commercial settings.
When Fugaku’s predecessor, the K supercomputer, first went online, companies were only able to use about 5% of its overall computation ability.
However, since the launch of Fugaku, they have been able to use about 15% of the available capacity, and this figure is expected to increase in the future.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association is working to find new ways to produce better cars quicker and at less cost with Fugaku.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. intends to use Fugaku in science to investigate the molecular mechanisms of rubber compounds and to prevent tire deterioration.
Foreign companies are now becoming more interested in Fugaku and its creators. Fujitsu announced that it has been awarded a contract to construct a supercomputer system for Portugal.
The device, which will make use of Fugaku’s central processing unit, is planned to be used in educational institutions in Portugal and other European countries.
Last June and November, Fugaku was ranked first in the world on the Top 500 supercomputer computation speed index, with a calculation speed of more than 400 quadrillion calculations per second.
Its computing capacities are about 100 times greater than those of the K supercomputer. Fugaku cost about 130 billion yen ($1.2 billion) to grow, with about 110 billion yen paying for it at the national level.