The science ministry will begin development next fiscal year of a supercomputer with 100 times the processing capacity of Japan's current fastest machine, the K computer. The project is scheduled for completion by around 2020.
An expert working group of the ministry on May 8 finished drafting its midterm report on the development plan for the next-generation computer.
While the current K computer, jointly developed by the Riken research institute and Fujitsu Ltd., can perform 10 quadrillion (10,000 trillion) calculations per second, the new supercomputer is planned to achieve a speed of 1 exaflop, or 1 quintillion (1,000 quadrillion) calculations per second.
The K computer, named after the Japanese word "kei" (10 quadrillion), was ranked No. 1 in the world in terms of computing speed in 2011, but dropped to third place last year.
European countries, the United States and China are competing to develop an "exaflop" computer.
The ministry plans to develop the world's top-performing computer in order to carry out the complex simulations needed to solve problems in social and scientific areas.
The planned supercomputer is expected to be able to predict the occurrence of an earthquake and subsequent evacuation processes in an integrated fashion. It will also be able to predict potential side effects of medical drugs and carry out other simulations.
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