It wasn't so long ago that we reported on the Roadrunner supercomputer breaking the petaflop barrier. But this week Fujitsu announced that it will begin shipping its next-generation supercomputer which has a lofty performance goal of 10 petaflops – that's ten thousand trillion operations per second!

The computer is nicknamed the 'K', a reference to the Japanese word "Kei," or 10 to the 16th power. If the K could reach that goal of 10 petaflops, it would hold the first place title – at least for a while – on top of the top 500 supercomputers list.

For us regular folk, the picture above might not resemble what we typically think of as a computer. That's because this supercomputer is actually composed of 800 computer racks installed on an interconnected network, containing over 80,000 SPARC 64 VIIIfx processors.

The system is jointly developed with RIKEN, a independent research institution under the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and will be delivered to the Advanced Institute for Computational Science. It is scheduled to start operations in 2012 after installation and tuning is completed.

Japan is not the only Asian nation with supercomputing aspirations of late, as China has been displaying some ambition in the field as well. The nation's Nebulae supercomputer jumped to the number two spot earlier this year by reaching a Linpack performance of 1.271 petaflops. The current number one position is held by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar at 1.75 petaflops.