Japan plans to build the world's fastest supercomputer designed to enhance the country's research strength in areas such as driverless cars, robotics and medical diagnostics.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will spend 19.5 billion yen ($173 million) on the project. The country has lost its edge in many electronic fields amid intensifying competition from South Korea and China, home to the world's current best-performing machine.
The new computer has been dubbed ABCI, an acronym for AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure. It will be able to make 130 quadrillion calculations per second (130 petaflops) by next year. This power would put Japan's computer ahead of China's Sunway Taihulight that is capable of 93 petaflops.
Japan's aim is to use the new machine to accelerate advances in artificial intelligence (AI), such as "deep learning" technology that works off algorithms which mimic the human brain's neural pathways, to help computers perform new tasks and analyze scores of data.
Applications include helping companies improve driverless vehicles by allowing them to analyze a huge amount of visual traffic data, or it could help factories improve automation.
The supercomputer will be made available for a fee to Japan's corporations.
Fujitsu is currently the builder of the fastest Japanese supercomputer to date - the Oakforest-PACS, capable of 13.6 petaflops.