Toyota gets most advanced private supercomputer

Toyota Motor will become, by the end of March, the proud owner of the world's highest performance supercomputer in the private sector, supplier Fujitsu announced yesterday.

The multiprocessor VPP5000 series server has already been installed at the auto-maker and will be fully operational later this month, Fujitsu said in a statement. The machine, which has a theoretical maximum performance of 288G Flops (floating-point operations per second), will come with 30 vector processors and 320G bytes of memory.

The new system will not only replace two existing supercomputers -- a Cray Research supercomputer used for crash analysis and vibration analysis and a Fujitsu VPP300 system used for fluid analysis and press analysis -- but also allow researchers and designers to accomplish their tasks in a faster time. Fujitsu said tests have shown the new machine tops previous processing speeds by a factor of five.

Fujitsu declined to reveal the machine's performance as rated by the industry-standard Linpack benchmark, which is a measure of a system's performance in solving a dense system of linear equations. According to the latest Top 500 list of supercomputers worldwide, the highest specification system in use in the private sector currently is a IBM SP-PC604e machine at securities broker Charles Schwab & Co.

While the new Toyota machine may be a whopper in private sector terms, the configuration selected by Toyota makes it a minnow when compared to machines used by governments and in academic research. The company has chosen a configuration with 30 processors although the VPP5000 can support up to 512 processors for a maximum theoretical performance of 4.9T Flops.

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