European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Reading, Berks. RG2 9AX
Siemens Nixdorf, Scientific Computing
The supercomputer situation in Japan has changed very little since the last TOP500 report (see citeJapan94). There has been steady progress with the development of the series of new machines which had been announced in late 1994 and early 1995, but they have not yet been delivered to customers. However, a number of important orders outside of Japan could be gained by the Japanese supercomputer companies against fierce competition from the US manufacturers. Thus the apparent isolation of the three major Japanese computer manufacturers to Japan seems to come to an end. In late 1995/ early 1996, the first of the new CMOS based supercomputers will be available to customers both in and outside of Japan. It remains to be seen whether all expectations will be met.
With regard to the market situation of supercomputers in Japan, a consolidation of the market shares can be seen. The two dominant manufacturers for Japan represented in the TOP500 list, Cray Research, Inc. (CRI) and Fujitsu, kept resp. increased their number of sites while Hitachi, NEC and Thinking Machines Corp. (TMC) - the latter not surprisingly - lost out. CRI will even install the first of its fully configured T9 systems in Japan. IBM made strong inroads with 7 new sites listed. However, SGI did not succeed in copying its success elsewhere in Japan: it only managed to gain one entry.
With regard to the situation world-wide, Japan has again reduced its share of the TOP500 sites, it can only field 73 entries after 82 last year. However, it added 8 to the first 50 and 11 to the first 100 entries, i.e. it replaced a number of smaller, outdated previous supercomputers by more powerful, modern ones, in particular the Fujitsu VPP500. When looking at Rmax Gflops/s capacity installed, Japan's share slightly decreased from 27% to 25.8% of world capacity, but increased in absolute terms from 709 Gflops/s to 1,234 Gflops/s.
In summary, Japan kept its position world-wide as the second largest user of supercomputer capacity with a safe margin of 8.9% of world-wide installed capacity separating it from Europe, but trailing the US by nearly 30%.