Skip to main content

ARM-based Japanese supercomputer is now the fastest in the world

ARM-based Japanese supercomputer is now the fastest in the world


Fugaku is being used in COVID-19 research

Share this story

Photo by STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

A Japanese supercomputer has taken the top spot in the biannual Top500 supercomputer speed ranking. Fugaku, a computer in Kobe co-developed by Riken and Fujitsu, makes use of Fujitsu’s 48-core A64FX system-on-chip. It’s the first time a computer based on ARM processors has topped the list.

Fugaku turned in a Top500 HPL result of 415.5 petaflops, 2.8 times as fast as IBM’s Summit, the nearest competitor. Fugaku also attained top spots in other rankings that test computers on different workloads, including Graph 500, HPL-AI, and HPCG. No previous supercomputer has ever led all four rankings at once.

While fastest supercomputer rankings normally bounce between American- and Chinese-made systems, this is Japan’s first system to rank first on the Top500 in nine years since Fugaku’s predecessor, Riken’s K computer. Overall there are 226 Chinese supercomputers on the list, 114 from America, and 30 from Japan. US-based systems contribute the most aggregate performance with 644 petaflops.

Fugaku is set to go into full operation next fiscal year. So far it has been used on an experimental basis to research COVID-19, including diagnostics, simulating the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the effectiveness of Japan’s new contact tracing app.