SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Fujitsu’s corporate labs demoed a sampler of its latest work in everything from world-class supercomputers to smartphones—and even a robotic teddy bear—at an annual North America forum here.
The 1,300 person R&D group takes a broad focus on what it calls the “human-centric intelligent society” to cover the far-flung markets of its corporate parent which sells everything from servers to cellphones and semiconductors. These days the work includes developing applications in cloud services and social networking that add value to its systems.
“Software is important and will be more important in the future, but it’s a balance in combination with the hardware,” said Tatsuo Tomita, president of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. in an interview.
Front and center on the demo floor was a motherboard (below) from the K Computer developed by Fujitsu. It is currently rated the world’s most powerful system at more than 10 petaflops, thanks in large part to a novel interconnect design that links together more than 68,000 Sparc-based CPUs from Fujitsu.
The so-called Tofu interconnect has a total throughput of about 20 Gbytes/second. It can directly link the nearest two CPUs in as little as a microsecond because it does not need to go through system memory, said Yuichiro Ajima, the Fujitsu engineer who developed the chip.
Like the processors on the motherboard, the 18x18mm Tofu chip (left) is water cooled to a temperate 35 degrees C or lower to ensure reliability. Ajima started work on the Tofu design in 2006 and is already embarked on a follow on, called Tofu II. He is not allowed to share the performance target for the system it is expected to power in 2014.
Yuichiro Ajima with the Tofu-powered K Computer motherboard.
- Tofu feeds K Computer
- Fast ADC drives to 40G Ethernet
- GPU powers 360-degree car camera
- Palm recognition comes to notebook
- Fish phones and thin tablets
- Look out Aibo, here comes Teddy