There is a list of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers, and the last time it was updated, back in June this year, Fujitsu’s “K” (pictured) came out on top, taking the No. 1 spot from Tianhe-1A (a supercomputer from China).
It was the first time since 2004 for Japan to get to claim those bragging rights, and now the country’s largest business newspaper The Nikkei reports that the government is already thinking about what will happen in 2020: by then, the plan is to develop a computer that handles exascale computing or, in other words, one million trillion operations per second (that computer would be 100 times more powerful than K).
Japan’s Science Ministry MEXT is estimating that costs could amount to $1.3 billion and has already roped in NEC, Fujitsu and government agency RIKEN to discuss details of the project. The goal is to make sure Japan stays on top in the supercomputer race as other countries are investing, too. In February, the US government, for example, set aside $126 million for the development of exascale supercomputing in the budget for fiscal 2012.
Supercomputers are being used for predicting earthquakes and other natural disasters, analyzing climate change, exploring outer space etc.