Fujitsu licensed the designs for the processor from ARM, which is owned by Japanese carrier SoftBank. The system cost more than $1 billion and took about six years to design and build. According to The New York Times, researchers are already using Fugaku to help with coronavirus-related research.
In recent years, x86-based systems featuring processors made by Intel and AMD have been the most common sight on the Top500; only four ARM-based supercomputers appear on the current list. What’s also notable about Fugaku is that it doesn’t include any dedicated GPUs to help with artificial intelligence applications.
As these things usually go, Fugaku is unlikely to hold the number one spot for long. With help from AMD, Cray Computing is building a 1.5 exaflop system for the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cray is also making an Intel-based exascale system for the Argonne National Laboratory. Both supercomputers are slated to debut sometime in 2021. Still, it’s a significant accomplishment for Japan in a space dominated by China and the US. They two countries have 340 supercomputers on the Top500 between them.