News & Media


July 2, 2012

RIKEN and Fujitsu Complete Operational Testing of the K computer

RIKEN and Fujitsu today announced that operational testing of their jointly developed K computer has been completed as of June 29. The K computer will now be available for limited operations while it undergoes operational environment settings, adjustments, and user registration. It is due to go into full-scale operations for shared use at the end of September.


Working together under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's (MEXT) high-performance computing infrastructure (HPCI) initiative, Fujitsu and RIKEN developed the K computer with the goal of completing operational testing by the end of June 2012. The K computer brings together leading-edge technologies, including ultrafast and energy-efficient CPUs and a network capable of an immense amount of interconnectivity for high-performance and exceptional reliability. Installation of the supercomputer began in September 2010, and by the end of August 2011 all 864 racks had been delivered and installed. In the TOP500 ranking of the world's fastest supercomputers, the K computer ranked first for two consecutive reporting periods, June 2011 and November 2011, also winning top honors in all four divisions of the HPC Challenge, and taking home the Gordon Bell award, as proof of its performance in real-world applications.

The K computer is a general-purpose supercomputer designed to offer high computing performance with support for a broad range of applications, making it useful to engineers and researchers in Japan and around the world. The process of installing and tuning the operating system, job manager, parallelization library, and other system software for the large-scale system environment was undertaken in autumn 2011. At the same time, part of the K computer was made available as a testing environment to researchers participating in Grand Challenge application software development project and HPCI strategic programs, intended to quickly produce groundbreaking results in fields designated by the Japanese government as having strategic importance.

With the installation of the K computer's system software to maximize the system's usability and hardware performance, the K computer has completed its final operational testing.

Uses of the K computer and the Future

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, and holds the promise of contributing to world-class breakthroughs, such as:

  • Early development of next-generation semiconductor materials-particularly nanowires and carbon nanotubes that are expected to lead to future fast-response, low-power devices-through simulations and analysis of the characteristics of nanomaterials used in electronic devices
  • Pharmaceutical applications such as reduction of drug discovery-related times and costs by 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.
  • 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 (800-m) simulations of atmospheric circulation models to provide detailed predictions of weather phenomena that elucidate localized effects, such as cloudbursts.

With the system being completed, its partial early use in the Grand Challenge application software development project and HPCI strategic programs will continue as the system is prepared for shared use that will commence at the end of September while it undergoes operational environment settings, adjustments, and registration of users who have been selected by the Research Organization for Information Science and Technology.

For more information

Advanced Institute for Computational Science:
Fujitsu K computer:

Glossary and Notes

  1. K computer
    The K computer, 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). The K computer is expected to be available for shared use in 2012. The "K computer" is the registered trademark of RIKEN, and has been used for this supercomputer project since July 2010. "K" comes from the Japanese Kanji letter "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. TOP500 list
    The TOP500 list is a project that periodically ranks the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. The project, begun in 1993, publishes current rankings twice a year (in June and November).
  3. HPC Challenge
    The HPC Challenge includes a Class 1 contest based on benchmarking performance, and a Class 2 contest based on the level of productivity in real-world use. Class 1 covers four divisions that measure performance in each of four key system aspects (CPU computational performance, memory access performance, network communications performance). Global HPL: operating speed in solving large-scale simultaneous linear equations Global Random Access: random memory access performance in parallel processing EP STREAM (Triad) per system: memory access speed under multiple loads Global FFT: total performance of Fast Fourier Transform
  4. Gordon Bell Prize
    The ACM Gordon Bell Prize, sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery, is given to encourage developments in parallel computing. At the 11th International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC11), it was given to the papers that showed the most outstanding results in hardware and applications development.
  5. Grand Challenge application software development project
    The Grand Challenge is a project of MEXT that began in 2006 for developing applications in the fields of nanotechnology and life sciences that will use the K computer. Groundbreaking applications are currently undergoing development and testing preparatory to the K computer's full launch during 2012.
  6. Strategic programs
    A MEXT enterprise running 2011-2015 intended to advance Japan's computational-science system and to encourage R&D using the HPCI, which is centered around the K computer, that will support projects in each of a number of fields that can be expected to make significant social or technological breakthroughs and that will require the computational resources of the K supercomputer. The strategic sectors and the strategic institutions that will be central to pursuing these projects are as follows.
Sector Institution
1. Predictive life sciences, medicine, and pharmaceuticals RIKEN
2. New materials and energy production University of Tokyo's Institute for Solid-State Physics, National Institute of Natural Science's Institute for Molecular Science, Tohoku University's Institute for Materials Research
3. Predicting global changes to prevent and mitigate natural disasters Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
4. Next-generation manufacturing University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
5. Origins and structure of matter and space University of Tsukuba's Center for Computational Sciences, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

About Fujitsu

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