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"K computer" Achieves Goal of 10 Petaflops

Clocks in with LINPACK score of 10.51 petaflops on the TOP500 list for November

RIKEN,Fujitsu Limited

Tokyo, November 02, 2011

RIKEN and Fujitsu today announced that the "K computer(1)," which is a supercomputer currently under their joint development, has achieved a LINPACK(2) benchmark performance of 10.51 petaflops (10.51 quadrillion floating point operations per second).

The supercomputer system used for these tests is in its final configuration of 864 racks, comprising a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs. With an execution efficiency of 93.2%, this system further exceeds its first place winning performance on the 37th TOP500 list(3) international ranking of supercomputers published in June 2011, where it scored 93.0%.

Although development is still underway to adjust the system software, the K computer achieved the goal of a LINPACK score of 10 petaflops, a performance target set as a national core technology as part of Japan's 3rd Science and Technology Basic Plan.

1. Background

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 brings together leading-edge technologies, including ultrafast and energy-efficient CPUs and a network capable of an immense amount of interconnectivity, to create a high-performance, highly-reliable supercomputer.

In August 2011, the last of 864 racks was delivered and installed, bringing the system to its final configuration. For the purpose of conducting point basic operating tests and design-performance checks, the system was tested on October 7–8, using the LINPACK benchmarking program and measured processing speeds of 10.51 petaflops and 93.2% operating efficiency. These results have been submitted to the 38th TOP500 list, which will be presented at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC11), being held in Seattle from November 12 to 18, 2011.

2. Performance and Development Status of the K computer

The central component of the K computer is its 88,128 CPUs, arrayed over 864 racks, which have a theoretical calculation speed of 11.28 petaflops. When the LINPACK benchmark program measured the K computer in its final configuration, the supercomputer system achieved a speed of 10.51 petaflops exceeding its previous performance speed of 8.162 petaflops, which earned the system first place on the previous TOP500 list (published June 2011). The results of the measurements are detailed below.

Performance and development status of the K computer
  Latest measurement Reference (June measurement)
Number of CPUs 88,128 68,544
Theoretical calculation speed 11.28 petaflops 8.774 petaflops
LINPACK performance 10.51 petaflops 8.162 petaflops
Execution efficiency 93.2% 93.0%
LINPACK running time 29 hours 28 minutes 28 hours

According to the latest LINPACK performance measurements, not only did the K computer excel on performance benchmarks, achieving its goal of 10 petaflops and exceeding its previous operating efficiency results, but it also demonstrated an extraordinary level of stability for one of the world's largest-scale systems, as the overall system comprised of 88,128 CPUs ran without a single failure for 29 hours and 28 minutes.

Work is still underway to further develop and adjust the operating system, compiler, and other system software before the June 2012 target date. In order to generate breakthroughs as quickly as possible in fields designated by the government of Japan as having strategic importance, a part of the K computer has been made available for those researchers participating in the "Grand Challenge " application software development project(4) and the HPCI strategic programs(5) as an environment for early access starting April 2011. While helping as much as possible to meet the needs of these researchers, the test environment has gradually expanded as work progresses on the K computer.

3. Uses for the K computer and the Future

As the K computer represents a dramatic leap forward in terms of simulation precision and calculation speed, it can be applied to a variety of fields that use computational science. It holds the promise of contributing to the generation of world-class breakthroughs such as:

  • Analyzing the behavior of nanomaterials through simulations and contributing to the early development of such next-generation semiconductor materials, particularly nanowires and carbon nanotubes, that are expected to lead to future fast-response, low-power devices.
  • Predicting which compounds, from among a massive number of drug candidate molecules, will prevent illnesses by binding with active regions on the proteins that cause illnesses, as a way to reduce drug development times and costs (pharmaceutical applications).
  • Simulating the actions of atoms and electrons in dye-sensitized solar cells to contribute to the development of solar cells with higher energy-conversion efficiency.
  • Simulating seismic wave propagation, strong motion, and tsunamis to predict the effects they will have on human-made structures; predicting the extent of earthquake-impact zones for disaster prevention purposes; and contributing to the design of quake-resistant structures.
  • Conducting high-resolution (400-m) simulations of atmospheric circulation models to provide detailed predictions of weather phenomena that elucidate localized effects, such as cloudbursts.

Having reached its performance target, the K computer is quickly moving toward completion. RIKEN and Fujitsu will be focusing their energies on developing and assessing system software for the large-scale K computer with the aims of system completion in June 2012 and the official beginning of its shared use in November 2012.

4. Comments from RIKEN and Fujitsu

Ryoji Noyori, President, RIKEN

"The K computer is a key national technology that will help lay the foundation for Japan's further progress. As such, I am delighted that it has achieved its major objective—a LINPACK performance of 10 petaflops—thus demonstrating our strong technical power. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Fujitsu team members, who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to building the system, and everybody else involved in the project for their extraordinary effort. At the same time, the system's advanced technical capabilities are a major source of pride."

"As we move forward to completing the system next June, we are committed to putting the K computer's ground-breaking computing performance of 10 petaflops to use to generate important results, as well as making it available for shared use by many researchers starting next fall."

Masami Yamamoto, President, Fujitsu Limited

"I am thrilled that the K computer has achieved a LINPACK benchmark performance of 10 petaflops, while still being in development. I am also proud that we are one step closer to our goal of building a world-class supercomputer. At Fujitsu, we will continue to work tirelessly to deliver the K computer and its system software by June 2012, and enable it to be used by a large number of researchers throughout the world. We truly hope that the K computer's world-class performance will benefit and deliver value to both Japan and the entire world with leading-edge computing technology."

The HPCI strategic programs
  Strategic field Organizations
Field 1 Life sciences/Drug manufacture RIKEN
Field 2 New materials and energy creation The Institute for Solid State Physics, The University of Tokyo, Institute for Molecular Science, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Field 3 Global change prediction for disaster prevention/reduction Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Field 4 MONOZUKURI (Industrial Innovation) Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Field 5 The origin of matter and the universe Center for Computational Sciences, University of Tsukuba, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

  • [1] K computer

    The K computer, which is being jointly developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu, is part of the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) initiative led by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Configuration of the K computer began at 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 character "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. In its original sense, "Kei" expresses a large gateway, and it is hoped that the system will be a new gateway to computational science.

  • [2] LINPACK

    A program developed by J. Dongarra, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee, for solving a system of linear equations using matrix computation.

  • [3] TOP500 list

    The TOP500 list is a project that periodically ranks the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world, using LINPACK as a benchmark. The project, begun in 1993, publishes current rankings twice a year (in June and November).

  • [4] "Grand Challenge" application software development project

    A project launched by MEXT in fiscal 2006 to develop application software to make use of the K computer in areas such as nanotechnology and life sciences. Pioneering applications are currently being developed and tested in anticipation of the official public availability of the K computer in 2012.

  • [5] The HPCI strategic programs

    A MEXT program (fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2015) to promote R&D using the K computer and other high-performance computing infrastructure (HPCI) resources and to establish a computing technology environment in a number of strategic fields that require powerful computing resources and which are anticipated to lead to major breakthroughs in society and academia. This chart shows the strategic fields and the organizations responsible for implementing each.


RIKEN is Japan's flagship research institute devoted to basic and applied research. Over 2500 papers by RIKEN researchers are published every year in reputable scientific and technical journals, covering topics ranging across a broad spectrum of disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, medical science and engineering. RIKEN's advanced research environment and strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration has earned itself an unparalleled reputation for scientific excellence in Japan and around the world. For more information, please see:

About Fujitsu

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This press release has been revised as of December 17, 2018.

Date: 02 November, 2011
City: Tokyo
Company: RIKEN, Fujitsu Limited, , , , , , , , ,