Japan to build fastest supercomputer
Japan to build fastest supercomputer Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Japan is planning to build the fastest supercomputer to provide manufacturers of the country with a platform for research that could help them develop driverless cars, robots and medical diagnostics.

Dubbed AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI), the bidding for the supercomputer project has already been started and would be closed on 8 December.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry could spend 19.5 billion yen ($173m, £138.5m) on the project, as a part of government policy.

Sources involved in the project told Reuters that engineers plan to build a machine that could make 130 quadrillion calculations per second or 130 petaflops in scientific term, next year.

Japan's computer, with this speed, could beat China's Sunway Taihulight that is capable of 93 petaflops.

"As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast," said Satoshi Sekiguchi, a director general at Japan's ‎National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged companies, officials, political parties to work together more closely, so that Japan can win robotics, batteries, renewable energy and other emerging markets.

Japan wants to use ultra-fast calculations to accelerate growth in artificial intelligence (AI) such as deep learning technology to help create computers perform new tasks and analyse scores of data.

China uses the Sunway TaihuLight for weather forecasting, pharmaceutical research and industrial design.

Japan's supercomputer could track medical records as well as develop new services and applications, Sekiguchi said. The supercomputer would be made available for a fee to Japan's corporations.