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There's a plan to build the world's fastest Supercomputer and Japan plan to build it.
The Supercomputer will cost a massive 19.5 billion yen ($173 million, ouch!) but when its built, it will be able to crunch through 130 quadrillion calculations per second. Put another way, it will be able to perform 130 petaflops (floating point operations per second).
By comparison, the current world's fastest computer is China's Sunwary Taihulight which maxes out at 93 petaflops.
The computer will be built in Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Satoshi Sekiguchi, a director general at the institute, said: "As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast.". Japan's current fastest supercomputer is Fujitsu’s Oakforest-PACS which is capable of 13.6 petaflops, appearing in 6th place in the top 500 supercomputers.
Japan hopes to return to the good old days where it enjoyed the position as the best in the world when it came to technology. According to Gizmodo, "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently pushed for his government to work more closely with private industry to assure that Japan leads the way in robotics, batteries, artificial intelligence and other key areas of growth."
The bidding process for the project has begun and will end on December 8th 2016. It is hoped that work can begin on the project next year.
Supercomputers such as this one could really accelerate emerging fields such as Artificial Intelligence. They will enable scientists to build bigger and more complex deep neural networks, perform calculations much faster and reduce the training time required. This will help feed the end goal of trying to understand how our brains actually work and will aid the development of self-driving cars, robotics, batteries and other key areas of growth.