'World's Most Powerful Computer' Coming to USA in 2021

Ruben Fields
May 10, 2019

According to the Department of Energy's press release, the new supercomputer has been named Frontier and is expected to cost $600 million "for the system and technology development".

Tennessee-based ORNL is home to several of the world's top supercomputers, including reigning champion Summit, which now sits at No. 1 in the world, with a performance of 143.5 petaflops.

For the Frontier project, AMD is partnering with supercomputing vendor Cray, which is also working with Intel on the Aurora supercomputer project.

While Su didn't provide many details on the custom EPYC processor AMD is developing for Aurora, she said it will be based on a future iteration of its Zen architecture that comes after Zen 2, which AMD is using for its 7-nanometer EPYC "Rome" server processors coming out in the third quarter. Due to come online in 2021, the "Frontier" supercomputer is expected to execute 1.5 exaflops (quintillion calculations per second).

Perry made the announcement Tuesday morning at ORNL.

Frontier will, like most supercomputers, be used for extreme weather forecasting, advancing medical research, amongst other incredibly compute-intensive problems. China, Japan and the European Union are all in the race to build exascale machines, with China taking up 227 spots of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

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The United States government has announced plans to build a second, faster exascale supercomputer, after it already announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer less than two months ago.

"The combination of Cray and AMD technology in the Frontier system will dramatically enhance performance at scale for AI, analytics, and simulation, enabling DOE to further push the boundaries of scientific discovery", Steve Scott, senior vice president and CTO at Cray, said.

The Frontier system also has a custom high-bandwidth and low-latency coherent Infinity Fabric which connects our AMD Radeon Instinct GPUs to one AMD EPYC CPU per node.

The new supercomputer outperforms the recently-introduced Aurora supercomputer which can deliver an exascale performance.

ORNL's Center for Accelerated Application Readiness is now accepting proposals from scientists to prepare their codes to run on Frontier.

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