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Apr. 7, 2020

Supercomputer Fugaku will be used to help fight against COVID-19

Image of Fugaku supercomputer

The supercomputer Fugaku, which is currently being installed in Kobe, Japan under a RIKEN-led project, will be put to use to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, by giving priority to research selected by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The installation of the new supercomputer began in December 2019, and it is scheduled to go into full-fledged open use in 2021. However, some of the nodes will go into trial use in FY2020, which begins on April 1.

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

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

In February 2019, it was agreed that one of the uses of Fugaku would be to help resolve important scientific and social challenges based on the policy of Society 5.0 adopted by the Japanese government, and the decision to put the machine partly to use to combat the new virus was made in that spirit.

“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”.