Published June 20, 2011 | The Wall Street Journal
A Japanese supercomputer built by Fujitsu Co. grabbed the title of world's best-performing machine from a Chinese competitor, returning Japan to the top of the computer arms race for the first time in seven years.
Installed at Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research and also known as Riken, the Japanese government-funded "K Computer" performs more than 8 quadrillion (8,000 trillion) calculations per second. K Computer is a play on the Japanese word "kei" for the number 10 quadrillion, which will be the number of calculations the machine aims to handle once it is completed in 2012.
In an era marked by China's growing technological and economic emergence, the return to the top of the supercomputer heap will be a source of pride for Japan only a few months after China overtook it as the world's second-biggest economy.
The machine is more powerful than the next five computer systems combined and can perform three times as many calculations per second as the No. 2 supercomputer designed by China's National University of Defense Technology.
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