Japan wants to build a superefficient supercomputer that could also well become the world's fastest supercomputer by the year 2017.
The project may soon provide a platform for research that could give the areas of robotics, driverless cars and medical diagnostics a boost.
Building this new supercomputer is part of a government policy that aims to get back Japan's mojo in the field of technology, which has been facing competition with the impressive advances made by China and South Korea.
In a move anticipated to vault Japan into the top of the world's supercomputer rankings, Japanese engineers will build a machine with a processing capacity of 130 petaflops by the end of next year.
The computer's processing power means that it would be capable of producing 130 quadrillion calculations per second. In comparison, the world's current best performing machine, China's Sunway TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops. With its targeted processing process, Japan's supercomputer could outperform the current record holder once it is finished.
"As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast," said Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) director general Satoshi Sekiguchi. AIST, which will build the computer, plans to use liquid cooling technique.
Japan likewise aims for a power consumption of under 3 megawatts, a considerable figure since the country's current highest entry in the top supercomputer list in the world, the Oakforest-PACS, which delivers only about a tenth of the targeted performance of the new machine, uses the same amount of power.
China's TaihuLight, on the other hand, uses more than 15 MW. TaihuLight is intended for use in engineering works and for research in areas that include weather and earth systems modeling, advanced manufacturing, life science, climate and data analytics.
Targeted Uses For The New Supercomputer
Sekiguchi said that the new supercomputer dubbed ABCI, which stands for AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure, may help tap medical records to develop new applications and services. The machine will be made available for a fee to corporations in Japan which currently outsource data crunching to overseas firms such as Microsoft and Google.
Bidding for the supercomputer project has already begun and will end on Dec. 8. Fujitsu Ltd, which built Oakforest-PACS, declined to say if it would make a bid for the project but it has expressed its interest in getting involved in supercomputer development.