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Japanese space agency to put massive HPC cloud to the test

If only we'd had this kind of compute before we launched Hubble

Fujitsu says its supercomputing cloud is ready for action, after pitting the Arm-based system against a series of complex electromagnetic interference (EMI) simulations.

In a pair of field trials, conducted between January and July, Fujitsu applied the company’s high-performance compute (HPC) cloud to simulate the effects of EMI generated by electronic components and communications equipment in a variety of applications, including the urban traffic environments and low-Earth orbit.

Working in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Fujitsu’s compute cloud was tasked with simulating the radio wave intensity of the X-ray spectrometer on the upcoming XRISM satellite.

The satellite, which is slated to launch next year, will study a variety of phenomenon in the X-ray spectrum, including the flow of hot-gas plasma winds that blow throughout galaxies. According to JAXA, these observations will help astronomers determine the flow of mass and energy and glean insights into the composition and evolution of celestial objects.

However, before the mission can get off the ground, the agency needed to confirm that the radio-wave intensity of the satellite’s X-ray spectrometer was at a level that wouldn’t adversely affect its performance once it reaches orbit.

According to Fujitsu, a conventional analysis of this scale — 193.5 billion grids — wouldn’t have offered a complete picture into the satellite’s performance. However, using a finite difference time domain methodology, the company says it was able to accurately simulate the effects of EMI on the satellite and rule out any issues with the design, in a matter of hours.

“High-frequency simulations using CAD models of all satellites, which have been difficult to perform with traditional computing methods, can be performed with a single solution now thanks to Fujitsu,” Masahiro Tsujimoto, associate professor at JAXA, said in a statement. “In the XRISM satellite project, the results of this simulation played an important role in quantitatively evaluating unverified risks and confirming the validity of the design.”

The second field trial addressed a challenge a little closer to home: the signal integrity of 5G communications for use in traffic and accident prevention in urban environments.

In this case, the company's compute cloud was tasked with simulating the quality of communications between transmitters installed at intersections and receivers installed in vehicles.

The trial involved a 1 trillion grid simulation of an intersection near Musashinakahara Station in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki City. Fujitsu claims its compute cloud was able to accurately predict the effect of interference caused by complex obstacles like surrounding buildings, roadside objects, and other vehicles on signal integrity, all in approximately three hours.

The trials come just months after Fujitsu announced its computing-as-a-service (CaaS) portfolio, which includes nodes based on the same A64FX processor that underpins the company’s Fugaku supercomputer, which until recently held the No. 1 spot on the Top 500.

Each node features a single 48-core processor, which is based on an Arm architecture, and 32GB of high-bandwidth memory attached directly to the chip.

The service will launch later this year in Japan, with three plans ranging from $400 to $8,000 a month, depending on customers' needs ®.

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