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Fujitsu launches HPC and not-quite-quantum cloud services

Available in Japan now, with international rollout to follow next year

Fujitsu has opened up access to its Computing-as-a-Service (CaaS) portfolio along with an Accelerator Program to help develop use cases of its CaaS platform.

Available initially to the Japanese market, the Fujitsu CaaS portfolio will provide high-performance compute (HPC) infrastructure, Fujitsu's Quantum-Inspired Digital Annealer, and technical consulting services to help customers implement applications using the cloud-based platforms.

The HPC platform will be the same architecture as the #2 ranked "Fugaku" supercomputer at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Japan, which is is built with the homegrown Arm-based A64FX processor.

The IT giant first announced its CaaS portfolio in April, saying it would come to the Japanese market first, with a global rollout to international regions including Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas to follow. Fujitsu now says the global availability will come "in fiscal 2023," which implies sometime after the first quarter of next year, in line with the start of its new financial year.

Also available via CaaS HPC is an Intel-based server cluster, plus a second cluster that adds Nvidia GPUs to provide the extra compute power for simulations and AI applications. Fujitsu does not identify the servers making up the clusters, but these are likely to be its own PRIMERGY systems.

Another part of the CaaS portfolio is Fujitsu's Quantum-Inspired Digital Annealer technology, which like other quantum annealing systems is designed to find the optimal solution to complex problems but is not a true general-purpose quantum computer.

Toyota was recently revealed as a customer of Fujitsu's Digital Annealer, and is using it for optimization of vehicle production processes in its factories.

With the new Fujitsu Accelerator Program for CaaS, the Japanese giant said it intends to develop use cases for its CaaS platform with startups both in Japan and overseas. These will cover areas such as Web 3.0, healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics. Fujitsu also said it will engage with support organizations worldwide that are acting as a hub connecting startups and companies.

Among the startups already signed up are GRID Inc, which specializes in digital twins and AI technology, and Kashika Inc, which develops HPC visualization systems, plus others ranging from Qubit Pharmaceuticals to several companies creating metaverse applications.

When the CaaS portfolio was first disclosed by Fujitsu, we were that the HPC service would be offered to subscribers through a monthly "HPC budget" from which compute resources may be consumed on a pay-as-you-go basis.

There were to be three pricing plans for the HPC budget, based on requirements such as storage capacity. These were to be ¥50,000 per month (approx. $400 at the time), ¥500,000 per month (approx. $4,000) and ¥1 million per month (approx. $8,000). Pricing for the other services has not been disclosed. ®

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