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In Exascale, Japan Stands Apart With Firm Delivery Plan

Computerworld (12/30/13) Patrick Thibodeau

Japan announced that it plans to deliver an exascale supercomputer in six years, making it the first country to set a specific date for developing a next-generation exascale system.  The Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science announced that it will lead Japan’s exascale program, with the “successful development of the exascale supercomputer scheduled for 2020.”  Meanwhile, the United States is aiming for an “early 2020s” delivery of an exascale system, according to a Department of Energy official.  In December, Congress approved a fiscal 2014 defense budget bill that requires developing an exascale system by 2024.  In addition, European researchers are developing an ARM-based exascale system with a tentative goal of 2020, while China is thought to be aiming for 2018-2020 timeframe for exascale delivery.  An exascale system can execute a quintillion floating-point operations per second, and it tops a single petaflop system’s computing speed by about 1,000-fold.  The fastest systems in use today are well below 50 petaflops.  Meanwhile, quantum computing also is turning into a race among developed nations.  Britain is investing $444 million in quantum computing over the next five years, while quantum computing work is underway at several U.S. federal research facilities.

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