The Kyoto University in Japan has lost around 77TB of research data because of an error in the backup system of its Hewlett-Packard supercomputer.
The incident happened between December 14 and 16, 2021, and resulted in 34 million files from 14 research groups being wiped from the system and the backup file.
After looking into the matter to gauge the intensity of loss, the university concluded that the work of four of the affected groups could no longer be restored.
All affected users have been individually notified of the incident via email. However, it is not told which specific work has been erased.
The backup has been halted. To prevent data loss from happening again, the university has scrapped the backup system and plans to apply improvements and re-introduce it in January 2022.
Now the institute will carry out incremental backups which will cover files that have been changed since the last backup happened – in addition to full backup mirrors.
Supercomputer research costs several hundreds of USD per hour. Hence, the affected groups and parties must have felt a heavy blow.
The Kyoto University is considered one of Japan’s most important research institutions and receives the second-largest scientific research investments from national grants.
The areas of its research work are in chemistry, where it ranks fourth in the world, while it also contributes to biology, pharmacology, immunology, material science, and physics.
Currently, Japan has the most powerful supercomputer in the world called “Fugaku”, operated by the Riken Center for Computational Science, in Kobe.
Fugaku is an exascale system made by Fujitsu, capable of computational performance of 442 PFLOPS. The second in the global list, IBM’s “Summit”, can reach a much smaller figure of 148 PFLOPS.
Fugaku cost $1.2 billion to build and has so far been used for research on COVID-19, diagnostics, therapeutics, and virus spread simulations.