Japanese computer sets world record

Japan has unveiled the world’s fastest computer, knocking America off the top spot it has held for a decade. The Japanese machine has the processing power of the 20 fastest US computers combined.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  April 22, 2002

Japan has unveiled the world’s fastest computer, knocking America off the top spot it has held for a decade. The Japanese machine has obliterated the American standard, as it has the processing power of the 20 fastest US computers combined, according to a report in the New York Times.

Named the Earth Simulator, the new computer will be used to analyse climate change including global warming, as well as predicting weather and earthquake patterns. It was paid for by the Japanese government and will be housed in the Earth Simulator Research and Development Centre in Yokohama, west of Tokyo.

The computer cost US$350 to US$400 millions over five years according to Dr. Akira Sekino, president and chief executive of HNSX Supercomputers, a unit of NEC, which built it.

“This is a huge achievement for the Japanese,” says Dr. Sekino.

The machine has reached more than 87% of its theoretical peak speed. It is made of 640 specialised nodes that are composed of 5,104 NEC processors. The supercomputer occupies a space of four tennis courts and has hit a computing speed of 35.6 trillion mathematical operations a second.

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