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`Japan Inc.' and Supercomputers

In order to develop its high-end computing technology, the Japanese have definitely been relying on of the characteristics of the Japanese society, namely loyalty. The government has worked together with the academic community (mainly the large Japanese universities) and industry to nurture the development of high end systems and the necessary infrastructure. Fully developed systems have ended up in the computer centres of the largest universities for production use and applications development.

MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) has managed to get the large companies to line up behind national development projects such as the VLSI project, the 5th generation project, the Supercomputer Project (described below), the Image processing (Ga-As) project and now the 6th generation: the Real World Computing Project.

In the High Speed Computing System for Scientific and Technological Uses Project, six large electronics companies participated, and Fujitsu, NEC, and Hitachi shared the task of assembling a 10 Gigaflop supercomputer. Such projects explain in part why the resulting supercomputers from the various vendors share many common design points.

Although Mitsubishi, Oki and Toshiba also participated in the above mentioned project, only NEC, Fujitsu, and Hitachi have continued to develop and commercialise supercomputers. All three companies are very large (in terms of annual sales) and they are all extremely active in the semi-conductor field and telecommunications, as well as in the field of general purpose computers and more recently supercomputers.
Fri Jun 3 12:02:18 MDT 1994