New pact allows Singapore's researchers to use world's fastest supercomputer

Supercomputer Fugaku in use at the Riken Centre for Computational Science in Japan.
Supercomputer Fugaku in use at the Riken Centre for Computational Science in Japan.PHOTO: RIKEN CENTER

SINGAPORE - The world's fastest supercomputer Fugaku, developed by Fujitsu, is available for use by Singapore researchers under an agreement between Singapore's National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) and two Japanese entities: Riken Centre for Computational Science and Research Organisation for Information Science and Technology (Rist).

The collaboration would boost more complex and larger-scale research as well as ease the demand on Singapore's high-performance computing resources, said NSCC in a statement on Monday (Nov 30).

Currently, 11 Covid-19-related projects are using these Singapore computing resources for more than 16 million computing hours.

In Japan, Fugaku has made strides in providing solutions for the Covid-19 pandemic by speeding up the identification of potential drug candidates and developing simulations that demonstrate the spread of coronavirus in indoor settings and on trains, said Professor Satoshi Matsuoka, director of Riken and one of the architects of Fugaku.

At 442 Petaflops, Fugaku is nearly three times faster than its nearest competitor, the IBM Summit.

Petaflops is a measure of computing speed, with Peta, or one quadrillion, referring to scale or the number of calculations that can be performed in one second. Fugaku is capable of 442 quadrillion floating-point operations a second.

The collaboration is part of the memoranda of understanding between the NSCC and Riken, and earlier on, with Rist.

Singapore researchers will be "one of the first in Asia to have access to the amazing computing power of Fugaku," noted Associate Professor Tan Tin Wee, chief executive of NSCC.

Fugaku also has a variety of other uses, including weather and climate monitoring, simulations and genomics.

The collaboration may include the sharing of research data and underused high-performance computing resources in future, said Mr Eugene Low, deputy director of marketing and engagements at NCSS.

Other initiatives set out in the agreement between NCSS and Riken include joint workshops, summer schools and talent exchanges that will be open to all institutes of higher learning, research institutes and other organisations in Singapore.

"I believe the new establishment of the partnership between NSCC and Riken will promote the collaboration between Singapore and Japan, and we can work together to produce amazing outcomes on Fugaku," said Dr Hideyuki Takatsu, managing director of Rist.