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Cray reaching for the stars in Japanese project

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Supercomputer provider Cray has announced that the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has put one of the world’s fastest supercomputers solely dedicated to astronomy into production.

NAOJ, a centre for numerical simulation in astronomy, is using its new Cray XC30 supercomputer to run complex simulations allowing researchers to reproduce and observe astronomical phenomena in a virtual environment.

Nicknamed 'Aterui', the eight-cabinet Cray XC30 supercomputer has a peak performance of more than 500 teraflops and is located at NAOJ’s Mizusawa VLBI Observatory in Iwate, Japan. Researchers and scientists at NAOJ, and at universities and institutes throughout Japan, are applying the innovative supercomputing technologies offered in the Cray XC30 system towards performing highly advanced numerical simulations – experiments that they hope will one day answer questions such as the formation of galaxies and the origin of the solar system.

'A reliable, powerful supercomputer is a vital resource for our researchers and engineers, and we are pleased that the Cray XC30 supercomputer is giving our users the computational tools they need for the effective reproduction and study of astronomical phenomena,' said Eiichiro Kokubo, director of NAOJ’s Center for Computational Astrophysics (CfCA). 'Performing astronomical experiments in a laboratory setting is difficult, but our new Cray XC30 supercomputer is allowing us to perform the advanced numerical simulations that are crucial to our research.'

'The researchers and scientists that make up NAOJ’s vast user community are performing some amazing astronomical research and taking on some of the grandest challenges in the field,' said Mamoru Nakano, president of Cray Japan. 'We are honoured that this important research is being done on a Cray XC30 supercomputer. We have enjoyed a strong partnership with NAOJ, and we are pleased that our collaborative relationship will continue.'