What is the national development project of the K computer?
RIKEN and Fujitsu completed the development of the K computer in June 2012 and it started full-service from September 2012. This is in accordance with the High Performance Computing Infrastructure Initiative promoted by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT).
Note on name
The K computer is the nickname RIKEN has been using for the supercomputer of this project since July 2010. "K" comes from the Japanese word "Kei" which means ten peta or 10 to the 16th power. The logo for the K computer based on the Japanese character for Kei, was selected in October 2010.
The K computer facility
The site is located on Port Island, Kobe
The K computer is installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS), which is located on Port Island, Kobe, in Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe is a port town in Japan. Port Island is an artificial island built in the Kobe harbor. Constructed in 1981 it is connected to the center of Kobe by the Kobe Bridge and the Minatojima Tunnel.
AICS provides the central base
The AICS facility contains the Computer Building, the Research Building, and the Heat Source Management Building.
The Computer Building
The building where the K computer is installed.
The Research Building
The many research rooms for use by Japanese and overseas researchers.
The Heat Source Management Building
Equipped with the cooling facility that removes the heat generated by the K computer.
(Provided by RIKEN)
Image of the K computer installed in the computer room
Each computer rack is equipped with about 100 CPUs. In the Computer Building, 800 or more computer racks are installed for the K computer.
Facility for environment and the K computer capability optimization
To operate the supercomputer under optimal conditions, it is necessary to have a facility where careful attention is paid to the research environment. In this facility, various features are implemented to efficiently remove the heat generated during computations; and to enable optimum setup of the system within the facility. The facilities structure always assures the performance of the K computer and that it is setup as necessary for stable operation. There is also a research and education environment that promotes research interactions and the fusion of various types of knowledge. It is expected this will greatly contribute to enhancing the research and development foundation and sustain and advance technical capabilities in Japan.
Simulations are becoming increasingly important as the third major research and development methodology along with experimentation and theory. Supercomputers that can conduct more advanced and accurate simulations are required to tackle the unsolved challenges that face the world's populations and researchers.
Therefore, as a foundation of competitive power in science and technology in Japanese industry, supercomputing technology is designated as a "key technology of national importance" and the project is being promoted by MEXT. Fujitsu developed the K computer jointly with RIKEN, the main authority for this development.
The development of the K computer is designated as an important technology in long term national strategy (key technology of national importance), and we are aiming to commence full-service in 2012.
(Supplement) Please check the RIKEN website for a detailed overview of the project.