May 17, 2009

Japan Next Generation Supercomputer Project may get stronger by present revising.

I almost fell off my chair about the press releases on May 14 by RIKEN and NEC as follows.

RIKEN: "RIKEN revises the configuration of the Next Generation Supercomputer System (NGS) (in Japanese)"
NEC: "NEC revises role of participation in the MEXT's Next Generation Supercomputer Project (in Japanese)"

I guess that NEC chooses moderate improvement in their vector machine instead of innovation which opportunity is given by the NGS. I am very sorry that it looks a last ice dealer's business model.

A race of supercomputer development is practically a race among computer vendors, not governments even if governments lead them as a national project. Hence a 10 PetaFLOPS race is to be challenged by Fujitsu that implements the NGS for RIKEN and IBM that implements Sequoia for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory after NEC gave up to build a vector unit side of NGS (Hitachi follows NEC).

A remaining Fujitsu looks active because they previewed a new processor prototype that is to be used in NGS on May 13: "Fujitsu developed the fastest CPU in the world. A Japanese manufacturer won back for the first time in a decade. (in Japanese)", and already released their architecture in March: " Fujitsu released HPC-ACE architecture that is used in NGS."

An outsider like me is interested in influence by acquisition of Sun Microsystems. But Fujitsu must be fully aware of it.

When all of three applicants for NGS R&D, Fujitsu, NEC and Hitachi, are chosen as a member of NGS developers, some friend of IBM Research told me that such formation was impossible to imagine and leads to failure easily in U.S.
Yes, Earth Simulator was implemented by a single vendor, NEC.

Now I expect a 10PetaFLOPS competitor can know the NGS project becomes stronger than before due to present revision that means a single implementer. But it discards Japanese flavor of "Scalar-Vector hybrid supercomputer".

Anyway, insufficient information about NGS probably makes strange guess like a joke. For example, "NEC abandons Japan's 'next-gen' supercomputer" guesses that Taiwan manufacturer may construct the NGS vector side. Hence, it must be getting more important that RIKEN continues to release timely and right information about NGS that can contribute to maximize NGS value as a result, I believe.

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