Courtesy Frontier
Frontier supercomputer

New Supercomputer Breaks the Exascale Barrier

June 2, 2022
Oak Ridge National Lab’s Frontier supercomputer claims the world record as the fastest computer based on it 1.1 exaflops of performance.

A new champion in computers has been named: The Frontier supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory earned the top ranking today as the world’s fastest based on its with 1.1 exaflops of performance. (An exaflop is the ability to carry out two quintillion calculations per second.) The computer is the first to reach the level of computing performance known as exascale, a threshold of a quintillion calculations per second. But much more may be in store. Oak Ridge researchers say Frontier’s theoretical peak performance is 2 exaflops.

Frontier is a highly modified HPE Cray EX supercomputer, also earned an award for being environmentally efficient; it gets 62.68 gigaflops per watt. Frontier rounded out the twice-yearly rankings with the top spot in a newer category, mixed-precision computing, that rates performance in formats commonly used for artificial intelligence, with a performance of 6.88 exaflops.

The computer was delivered, installed, and tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of more than 100 public and private workers worked to source millions of components and ensure parts deliveries to install and test 74 Cray EX supercomputer cabinets, which include more than 9,400 AMD-powered nodes and 90 miles of networking cables.

ORNL and its partners are still working to get Frontier up and operating by the beginning of 2023.

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