Project Leader, Next-Generation Supercomputer R&D Center RIKEN
Mr. Watanabe is leading the project for RIKEN’s Next-Generation Supercomputer and widely-recognized as being an instrumental force working closely with the team at Fujitsu in developing the world’s most powerful supercomputer, the K computer, which is rated at 10.51 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark and has held the number one slot on the TOP500 list in 2011.
The system will be used in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, and biology), nanoscience, the life sciences, engineering, and the prediction of environmental change and natural disasters. RIKEN plans to share and make these advanced technologies available to other research institutes, with the hope they will contribute to Japanese information technology in general.
Before joining RIKEN in 2006, Watanabe joined the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and served as Director for Research Promotion of MEXT as a project leader of the Next Generation Supercomputer Project. Prior to joining MEXT, Watanabe worked for NEC in various roles from 1968-1989, most notably as General Manager of the Supercomputer Marketing Division of NEC working on the development of the Earth Simulator Project and as Vice President of NEC.
Watanabe holds a BE in Electronic Engineering and an ME in Electrical Engineering of University of Tokyo, and earned his Ph.D. in Information Science at the University of Tohoku. He serves as a Board Member of the Research Organization for Information Science and Technology in Japan (RIST) and is a member of multiple societies, including The Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ), The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers, and The Japan Society of Computational Engineering and Science (JSCES) where he also served as a Board Member from 1998-2005, and Associate Chair Person of the Board 2002 – 2005, in addition to being an IEEE Fellow. Awards and honors include ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award (1998), IEEE CS Seymour Cray Award (2006) JSCES Distinguished Service Award (2007) The US National Academy of Engineering, Foreign Associate (2008), and the Japan Academy Prize. (2009).
In his off time, Mr. Watanabe’s favorite hobby is growing vegetables at his villa near Yatsugatake Mountains, nestled away in central Japan, where he rents a vegetable garden and often times brings his fresh produce with him to work to share with his colleagues.