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Oak Ridge National Laboratory Launches World’s Fastest Supercomputer

Frontier Supercomputer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Launches World’s Fastest Supercomputer

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has launched Frontier, the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of performing at 1.1 exaflops or over a quintillion calculations per second. According to Doug Kothe, associate laboratory director of the lab’s Computing and Computational Science Directorate, the machine’s novel architecture enables “unprecedented” machine learning, data insights and automation that could be used to improve understanding of drug delivery, nuclear fusion and climate processes, among several potential applications, ORNL said.

Frontier topped several performance evaluations, including a new mixed-precision computing benchmark that measures arithmetic precisions used for artificial intelligence problems, and the June 2022 Green500 energy efficiency list, with the supercomputer recording 62.68 gigaflops, or around 63 billion calculations, per watt.

Bronson Messer, director of science for the ORNL facility housing Frontier, said the launch signals the beginning of scientific computing’s “exascale era.” According to Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science, the supercomputer’s exascale capabilities will advance the office’s main goals by facilitating new tool development and breakthroughs to “solve big problems.”

Frontier was constructed in partnership with Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with AMD supplying 9,472 commercially available central processing units and 37,888 graphical processing units fitted into 9,400 nodes integrated into the supercomputer. HPE provided 74 cabinets to house the components and its Slingshot interconnect system to facilitate networking.

Efforts to test and validate Frontier are set to continue, with the system aiming to pass final acceptance and allow early science application access later in 2022 and full access to be offered at the start of 2023. General Electric aims to utilize the supercomputer for clean energy development.

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Category: Federal Civilian