A supercomputer that was singled out by ruling party lawmakers as a possible waste of public funds has broken its own processing speed world record, achieving 10 quadrillion floating point operations per second (petaflops).
The feat was announced by the Riken research institute and Fujitsu Ltd. on Nov. 2.
The K supercomputer, developed jointly by Riken and Fujitsu, came under severe scrutiny during a Democratic Party of Japan drive in 2009 to screen government projects for excess spending.
Upper House lawmaker Renho, who goes by her first name, questioned the effort to build the world’s fastest computer, asking: “Is there a reason you cannot be satisfied with the world’s second fastest computer?”
The computer, which is made up of 864 2-meter-high racks each containing 102 central processing units, broke the world record using only 672 racks in June, with a processing speed of about 8.2 petaflops. The machine recorded a speed of 10.51 petaflops using all 864 racks in the latest try-out.
The two institutions embarked on the project in 2006 and say that the computer can operate stably for hours at a time. They expect to complete development in June 2012 after adjusting the machine’s software and will put it into practical use next November.
The project leaders are hoping to get the No. 1 spot in the world’s Top 500 supercomputer rankings, due to be announced later this month, for the second time in a row.
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