Recently, Japan has announced that, by the end of next year, they will have built the fastest supercomputer in the world. It’s name will be Artificial Intelligence Bridging Cloud Infrastructure and the bidding for it will end on December 8. Japan is known to be one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. According to Reuters, they want to do this so that scientists will be able to improve various technologies. Those include self-driving cars, medicine or robots. The ambitious project will also leave a big hole in the country’s pockets. Reportedly, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will invest around $173 million in it. Like most very powerful computers, this one is expected to use the Linux operating system.
The fastest computer in existence
According to the same report from Reuters, the supercomputer should be able to make around 130 quadrillion calculations per second. To translate, this means extremely fast. Even faster than the Sunway Taihulight in China, which is the current fastest computer in the world.
This announcement comes right after the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the country’s private and governmental sectors should unite forces to make Japan the greatest technological force on the planet. Ahead countries like the United States, China or South Korea. And apart from research regarding medicine or self-driving cars, one of its main purposes will be the acceleration of artificial intelligence research. This includes the process of “deep learning”. What does this mean?
Scientists believe that in the near future, computers which will be able to make faster calculations will also develop the capacity to emulate the way the human brain works. It is expected to mirror the neural pathways of our brains thus leading to what is called “deep learning”. Practically, a self-taught machine.
Normal people like you and I might not feel the way computer technology advances, but experts are working for years to build the next generation of supercomputers. For example, the Cray-2 supercomputer was released back in 1985 and it was considered at the time to be the fastest, most powerful machine. Now, it is 2.7 less powerful than Apple’s iPhone 5 (which is also a thing of the past now). So the difference in technology is striking. Who knows? Maybe in a few years we will all carry in our pockets a small supercomputer.
However, there might be some pretty obvious obstacles in the way of building this supercomputer. The most important: too much power consumption. Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology says that it will run on less than 3 megawatts of power, or so they want to. This is a very ambitious dream considering that the Chinese the Sunway Taihulight runs on 15 megawatts. It is an almost impossible prospect for now. That is if the Japanese do not invent a brand new liquid cooling system which will be able to reduce the enormous heat which the supercomputer will generate. The Artificial Intelligence Bridging Cloud Infrastructure is set to be built at the University of Tokyo’s Kashiwa Campus.
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