University of Japan loses 77TB of research data due to backup error

Kyoto University in Japan lost about 77TB of research data to an error in its Hewlett-Packard supercomputer’s backup system, Bleeping Computer reported. The problem happened between December 14th and 16th and resulted in the loss of 34 million files from 14 research groups.

The university concluded in an investigation that the affected content could no longer be restored. Researchers with losses were notified by email, and further details about the type of work lost were not provided.

To avoid future problems, the university has redesigned its backup system and plans to reopen it in January. The intention is to keep, in addition to full backups, incremental backups, which cover files changed since the previous backup.

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The incident hurts the reputation of supercomputers, devices that cost hundreds of dollars an hour to process because of the high cost of the machines and the energy needed. Japan currently owns the most powerful model in the world, the Fugaku, with a performance of 442 petaflops. The second on the global list, IBM’s “Summit”, can achieve a much smaller number of 148 petaflops (a quadrillion operations per second).

Kyoto University is considered one of the most important research institutions in Japan and has one of the largest investments from Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, a national grant program for research institutions.

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