The Japanese lost 77 TB of data due to a supercomputer glitch

The Japanese lost 77 TB of data due to a supercomputer glitch
The Japanese lost 77 TB of data due to a supercomputer glitch

A routine backup procedure to protect the research data of Japanese Kyoto University researchers has failed. It led until 77 TB of valuable data is lost, from scientific experiments in various fields. The incident occurred between December 14-16, and data loss affected 14 research groups.

Supercomputers are widely used for the most complex calculations, answering complex questions in many areas – from finding the origins of life, to modeling the effects of new drugs, to simulating the end of the universe. They can perform up to a hundred quadrillion operations per second. However, they are expensive to build and operate. The data collected by them is stored in a classic way, so it is necessary making a backup of them.

The incident involved supercomputers Cray composed of 122,400 computing cores. Each system has a memory limited to around 197 TB and that is why the Japanese used the Exascaler data storage system. It can transfer 150 GB of data per second and store up to 24 petabytes of information.

Incident details were not disclosed but a bug during routine backup process ended up with the deletion of approximately 34 million files belonging to 14 different research groups. When the error was detected, the backup process was suspended. Initial estimates suggested that nearly 100 TB of data had been lost, but further analysis showed that the damage was much smaller.

Unfortunately, some data has been irretrievably lost. Kyoto University has suspended all backups until further notice.


Japanese lost data due supercomputer glitch

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