Medical experts around the world are ramping up their efforts against the 2019 novel coronavirus. Aside from conventional studies and clinical trials, the tech sector will now have a hand in the race to win against COVID-19. Assistance will be provided by the world's current fastest computer called Fugaku. It was developed by Fujitsu with the help of Japanese government institute Riken. The computing power it brings to the table should allow the system to process vast amounts of data related to SARS-CoV-2.

As of this writing, the machine is ranked first in the Top500 list of global supercomputers, as reported by Riken. This was acknowledged by its developers earlier this week, which also marked the first time since 2011 that a Japanese-made platform was able to rise to the pinnacle of computational capabilities. Sources share that the benchmarks used by the people responsible for the ranking, rate the processing speed and performance.

It was gauged against its competitors to see how quickly and well it handled tasks related to deep learning and artificial intelligence. Reports confirm that it can execute 415 quadrillion computations per second. Additional comparison places it at 2.8. times faster than IBM's Summit supercomputer, which it unseated recently.

According to Riken Center for Computational Science director Satoshi Matsuoka, Fugaku should be able to "contribute to major advances on difficult social challenges such as Covid-19." In fact, the people overseeing its operations are purportedly already running programs that involve therapeutics, transmission, and diagnosis of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

In March, Folding@Home crowdsourced processing power form willing volunteers in order to run complex molecular interactions to hopefully help researchers understand how to treat COVID-19. The project recorded a milestone of an exaflop of computing power. So far, it is yet to announce a major breakthrough if one does come up soon.

Japanese supercomputer Fugaku earns top spot
Japan's Fugaku supercomputer at the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Hyogo JIJI PRESS / STR

The Fugaku supercomputer relies on SoftBank's ARM-based chipsets to climb up the Top500 ladder in 2020. Meanwhile, the second and third place now see two machines from the United States: Summit and Sierra, respectively. The remaining top five slots are Chinese-built systems Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A. Nevertheless, it is still too early to tell if the Japanese system will produce the desired results down the line.