Fujitsu Post-K Supercomputer To Use ARM Chip Architecture

Fujitsu has announced that it will use 64-bit ARMv8 cores in the upcoming Post-K exascale supercomputer.

Fujitsu revealed on Monday, June 20, at the International Supercomputing Conference 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany, that its Post-K machine will run ARMv8 applications. When operational, the Post-K will not only make the world's fastest known computer but also the first ARM-powered supercomputer.

The Register reports that back in 2014, the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science hired the IT Japanese giant to design and build the Flagship 2020 supercomputer. Because it will succeed Japan's K Supercomputer, the machine has been dubbed the Post-K.

At present, the K supercomputer is on the fifth position in the world on the Top500 list. The machine consumes 12 MW of power in order to deliver a performance of 10.5 PFLOPS. According to Fujitsu's website, the K supercomputer has 705,000 Sparc64 VIIIfx cores.

The upcoming Post-K machine will deliver 100 times more performance than the K Supercomputer. It is expected to be launched in 2020 with a 1,000 PFLOPS performance. Today, the fastest supercomputer in the world is China's Sunway TaihuLight, with a performance of 125.4 PFLOPS.

At this stage it is still unclear how many ARMv8-compatible cores will be used in the Post-K supercomputer and how they will be mixed with GPU-based accelerators and other chips. The only certain thing is that the ARM architecture will be used for Fujitsu's future HPC CPU.

In a presentation at the event, Fujitus explained that its custom-designed supercomputer CPU powering the Post-K machine will run ARMv8 code optimized to accelerate math. The company also added that it has optimized the processor's design to squeeze the most of the die caches, Tofu interconnect and hardware prefetcher.

Up to date, Fujitsu has been a big fan of classic RISC architecture. However, according to Computerworld, Fujitsu already produces ARM-based networking chips and microcontrollers. But the shift in processor architecture for the upcoming Post-K supercomputer will require big investments in the hardware, software and customer support.

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