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What is “Virtual Fugaku”?

"Virtual Fugaku" is the new platform strategy from R-CCS that reproduces a very rich software environment equivalent to "Fugaku" on a supercomputer or cloud service other than "Fugaku."

“Fugaku” continues to achieve great results not only because of its superior hardware but also because we have spent time developing various software from the design stage, providing an easy-to-use environment for users. If the many software that has already been developed and built for "Fugaku" can be packaged and installed on a computer we normally use with a single touch, an instant "Fugaku" can be created. If we were able to immediately reproduce the research platform that supports world-class research in our own hands, the progress of science and technology would take a further leap forward.

Aiming to reproduce a rich software environment equivalent to "Fugaku" available to "anyone around the world"

To realize "Virtual Fugaku," R-CCS is building a software stack that can develop and execute various applications as a de facto standard for HPC software. If supercomputer centers around the world adopt this standard software stack, and an application is developed on "Fugaku" or "Virtual Fugaku", the same application will be available at any supercomputer center. This is a revolutionary platform strategy. Virtual Fugaku" is like iOS, Android, or Windows OS for supercomputers, allowing the same app to be used on any device, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. By searching in the app store, you can find a variety of applications and install them with just one touch. "Virtual Fugaku" will make this kind of world possible with supercomputers.

Why are we working on creating “Virtual Fugaku”?

Although it has only been about two and a half years since “Fugaku” began its official operation in March 2021, “Fugaku” has not only produced numerous scientific results but also greatly contributed to solving social issues. “Fugaku" has been evaluated by many users as an "easy-to-use supercomputer," and the number of users has been increasing greatly, leading to intensifying competition for its use. To make more effective use of the value of "Fugaku," we are trying to provide users with a new option called "Virtual Fugaku. Up until now, a lot of effort and time has been required to become familiar with supercomputers with their environment and to be able to use them effectively. Even if we had learned it, we would have to learn it all over again to use a different supercomputer, which causes an inconvenience. In addition, the provider of the supercomputer also had to re-invent the software environment from scratch every time the system was updated, which required a great deal of effort and investment. “Virtual Fugaku" enables users of all supercomputer systems to develop and use applications in a common and rich environment and is an effort to solve the long-standing problems of supercomputers mentioned above. There will probably be situations where "Virtual Fugaku" is more advantageous than "Fugaku" in terms of freedom, confidentiality, computing power, etc. By utilizing "Fugaku" and "Virtual Fugaku" for different purposes, we expect greater convenience, especially for supercomputer users in the industry, as there will be a wider range of options than ever before.

Current Situation

To build such "Virtual Fugaku," we first concluded a memorandum of understanding with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides cloud services using AWS Graviton3, a CPU based on the Arm architecture compatible with the CPU of "Fugaku," and began research cooperation aimed at building a software environment in which functions of “Fugaku” can be virtually reproduced on the cloud, allowing applications on “Fugaku” to run almost exactly as they are on AWS. Although the limited performance testing with applications such as GENESIS, CUBE, and SCALE, we found that Graviton3 can relatively easily achieve performance equivalent to A64FX up to about a dozen nodes.

In future

R-CCS is preparing to release the first version of "Virtual Fugaku" by the end of this fiscal year. Work-in-progress versions will be phased to release as technical previews. Additionally, we are currently preparing an environment for “Fugaku” users to experience "Virtual Fugaku," which is scheduled to be released around the end of this year.


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