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Fugaku Supercomputer joins fight against COVID-19

Fugaku supercomputer under installation at Riken

Today RIKEN in Japan announced that the partially finished Fugaku supercomputer will be made available for research projects aimed to combat COVID-19. The installation of the new supercomputer began in December 2019, and it is scheduled to go into full-fledged open use in 2021.

Faced with the devastating disaster unfolding before our eyes, RIKEN and MEXT decided to make a portion of the computational resources of Fugaku available for COVID-19-related projects ahead of schedule while continuing the installation process.

One of the most important missions of Fugaku as Japan’s flagship supercomputer is to protect the well-being of citizens using its massive computing power”, says Satoshi Matsuoka, Director of the RIKEN Center for Computing Sciences (R-CCS), “To combat the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, we will rapidly provide access to the capabilities of Fugaku, leapfrogging its preparation, to accelerate the scientific process of diagnosis, treatment, as well as general prevention of infection spread, to contribute to the early termination of the pandemic.”

At SC19, Fujitsu announced that a prototype of the Fugaku supercomputer took No.1 in the Green500, a global ranking based on the energy efficiency of supercomputers. The prototype system was manufactured by Fujitsu and installed at the company’s Numazu Plant. This system was equipped with 768 A64FX CPUs supporting the Arm SVE (Scalable Vector Extension) instructions for the first time in the world. This performance measurement demonstrated that Fugaku technologies have the world’s highest energy efficiency, achieving 1.9995 PFLOPS (petaflops) in calculation speed for simultaneous linear equations (LINPACK3) against 2.3593 PFLOPS in a peak performance, and 16.876 GFLOPS/W (gigaflops per watt) in a performance per 1 watt of power consumption.

The following projects will be eligible to have priority use of the new supercomputer.

  • Research seeking to reveal the characteristics of the new coronavirus
  • Research aiming to identify compounds that can be used as therapeutic agents against the coronavirus
  • Research that could help improve the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Projects that can reveal insights into the spread of infections and its socio-economic impact
  • Other projects that have the potential to contribute to countermeasures against the new coronavirus

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