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December 16, 2009
A news story out of Japan today reports that Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii and other key Cabinet members have agreed to earmark 23 billion yen (nearly $300 million) in 2010 to support the country's next-generation supercomputer project. In November, a government review panel recommended that funding for the project be frozen to deal with the on-going fiscal turmoil in Japan.
Project Keisoku, as it is called, is a government-backed initiative to field a 10-petaflop system in 2012, and is designed to keep Japan at the forefront of scientific research and supercomputing capability. RIKEN, a premier Japanese research institute, is in line to build the system, using Fujitsu as the prime contractor (following the withdraw of NEC and Hitachi from the project back in May). Project Keisoku was being promoted as a key driver for the country's biotech and nanotech R&D efforts.
The action of the government review panel in November precipitated a protest by a number of leading Japanese scientists, including four Nobel Laureates. At a press conference, the group argued that the program cuts would do long-term damage to the country's science and technology aspirations, criticizing the government bean counters for a lack of vision.
The 23 billion yen earmark cited in the today's news report would reinstate the original cuts recommended by the panel in November.
Posted by Michael Feldman - December 16, 2009 @ 10:35 AM, Pacific Standard Time
Michael Feldman is the editor of HPCwire.
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