Japan is launching a Cray XC50 supercomputer for advanced nuclear fusion research, which it will start producing this year. While the Cray XC50 supercomputer is far from being the most powerful on the planet, it will be the most powerful in the world in the field of nuclear fusion research.
The National Institutes of Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology selected the computer for research, and the computer will be installed at the Rokkasho Fusion Institute, one of the institute centers for nuclear research. It will be used for local nuclear fusion science experiments, and will also play a role in supporting ITER, a massive multinational merger project headed by the EU that is halfway to completion. More than a thousand researchers from Japan and other countries will be able to use the system, mainly for calculations of plasma physics and fusion energy.
In anticipation of the new supercomputer, Japan has dismantled its earlier, older system, called Helios, which had been ranked as the 15th most powerful supercomputer in 2012.
The latest supercomputing system in Japan has not been named yet, and it is not even the best Cray XC50 system that exists. Switzerland has the third most powerful supercomputer in the world, according to the November ranking, which runs on the Cray XC50 system.
The fusion power is still a long time away, as the first ITER plasma reactor is scheduled to go into operation in 2035 and will cost billions of dollars in investment. Even so, advocates say that once it is here, nuclear fusion could cover the world's energy needs for more than a thousand years and will not have the same side effects of climate change as the use of fossil fuels or the radioactive threat of Nuclear fision.
The United States has also invested heavily in the supercomputer arms race, contributing a total of $ 258 million last year alone to fund companies that include Cray, AMD, Intel, Nvidia and others to build exascale computers that can perform a billion calculations per second.