The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has finally fired up its Frontier supercomputer. The AMD-powered system has been under construction for over three years, and just had its first test results submitted to the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Frontier took the number one spot in the newest rankings, and became the first supercomputer to crack the exascale barrier in the process. It delivered 1.1 Exaflops/s of performance in the High-Performance Linpack test, which is over a quintillion calculations per second. “Flops” or “FLOPS” are Floating Point Operations per Second, a measure of compute capability. Top500 amdpowered frontier japan tomhardware.
Frontier also now ranks as the fastest AI system on the planet, dishing out 6.88 ExaFlops of mixed-precision performance in the HPL-AI benchmark. That equates to 68 million instructions per second for each of the 86 billion neurons in the brain, highlighting the sheer computational horsepower. It appears this system will compete for the AI leadership position with newly-announced AI-focused supercomputers powered by Nvidia’s Arm-based Grace CPU Superchips.Top500 us frontier fugakual corntomhardware.
Additionally, the Frontier Test and Development (Crusher) system also placed first on the Green500, denoting that Frontier’s architecture is now also the most power-efficient supercomputing architecture in the world (the primary Frontier system ranks second on the Top500). The full system delivered 52.23 GFlops per watt while consuming 21.1 MW (megawatts) of power during the qualifying benchmark run. At peak utilization, Frontier consumes 29 MW. Top500 amdpowered japan fugakualcorn tomhardware.
The system features 9,408 compute nodes, each with one 64-core AMD “Trento” CPU paired with 512 GB of DDR4 memory and four AMD Radeon Instinct MI250X GPUs. Those nodes are spread out among 74 HPE Cray EX cabinets, each weighing 8,000 pounds. All told, the system has 602,112 CPU cores tied to 4.6 petabytes of DDR4 memory. The entire system is connected to an insanely performant storage subsystem with 700 petabytes of capacity, 75 TB/s of throughput, and 15 billion IOPS of performance. A metadata tier is spread out over 480 NVMe SSDs that provide 10PB of the overall capacity, while 5,400 NVMe SSDs provide 11.5PB of capacity for the primary high-speed storage tier. Meanwhile, 47,700 PMR hard drives provide 679PB of capacity. AMD powered frontier japan fugakualcorn tomhardware.
While Frontier gets the nod for the first officially-recognized Exascale supercomputer in the world, China is largely thought to have two Exacscale supercomputers, the Tianhe-3 and OceanLight, that broke the barrier a year ago. Unfortunately, those systems haven’t been submitted to the Top500 committee due to political tensions between the US and China. However, the lack of official submissions to the Top500 — a Gordon Bell submission was tendered as a proxy — has led to some doubt that these are true exascale systems, at least as measured with an FP64 workload.
For now, Frontier is officially the fastest supercomputer in the world and the first to officially break the exascale barrier. The nearly-mythical, oft-delayed Intel-powered Aurora is expected to come online later this year, or early next year, with up to 2 ExaFlops of performance, rivaling Frontier for the top spot in the supercomputing rankings.