Japan's Fugaku retains title of world's fastest supercomputer

The Arm-based machine was three times as fast as the machine that came second in the ranking

Japanese supercomputer Fugaku has been named the fastest supercomputer in the world for the third consecutive time, beating competitors from China and the US.

Fugaku, a system developed by Fujitsu and the Japanese research institute Riken, held onto the top spot on the TOP500 list - which is released every June and November - for the third time. The supercomputer, which is based on Fujitsu’s custom Arm A64FX processor with 7,630,848 cores, had an HPL benchmark score of 442 Pflop/s - 3x faster than the IBM supercomputer in second place.

Furthermore, when it comes to single or further reduced precision, which is often used in machine learning and AI, Fugaku’s peak performance is above an exaflop, which has seen some name the machine the first “Exascale” supercomputer. Fugaku, which is named after Japan’s tallest mountain, Mt. Fuji, demonstrated this new level of performance on the new HPL-AI benchmark with 2 Eflop/s.

In second place, IBM’s Summit remains the fastest system in the US with a score of 148.6 Pflop/s on the HPL benchmark. Summit has 4,356 nodes, each housing two Power9 CPUs with 22 cores each and six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs, each with 80 streaming multiprocessors.

This was followed by another US supercomputer, Sierra, in third place with a score of 94.6 Pflop/s. It has 4,320 nodes with two Power9 CPUS and four Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs, similar to the Summit’s architecture.

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In fourth place came China’s Sunway Taihulight, developed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi. It reached 93 Pflop/s with its 10,649,600 cores.

“Fugaku is a crystallization of the world's most advanced IT technology, combining high performance, low power consumption, and user friendliness,” said Satoshi Matsuoka, director at Riken. 

“In addition to topping the major benchmarks of simulations, big data, and AI for the third consecutive term, it has also made a major contribution to the establishment of COVID-19 safety guidelines for the government and private sector, and has helped lead a digital transformation in the area of infectious diseases. With this continued dominance we have [sic[ shown that Fugaku is leading the world in a range of areas.”

Last year, the TOP500 benchmarking index of the world’s most powerful supercomputers was topped for the first time by Fugaku, a system powered by an Arm processor. The system, which is installed at the Riken Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan, is part of a national plan to address social and scientific challenges, including the search for COVID-19 treatments.

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