Exascale supercomputer: Frontier smashes computing pace records

Frontier, a supercomputer developed by Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory, is the to start with capable of an exaflop – a billion billion operations per second

Technological innovation

31 May 2022

The Frontier supercomputer

Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Strength

The world’s initially exascale personal computer, able of doing a billion billion operations per 2nd, has been built by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

A usual laptop computer is only capable of a several teraflops, or a trillion operations for every next, which is a million instances a lot less. The exaflop equipment, named Frontier, could aid solve a range of complicated scientific complications, this kind of as exact weather modelling, nuclear fusion simulation and drug discovery.

“Frontier will supply modelling and simulation abilities at the greatest amount of computing performance,” claims Thomas Zacharia at Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory.

The Frontier computing technique is housed in 74 separate cupboards, comprising 9400 CPUs, or typical laptop or computer processors, and 37,000 GPUs, which are processors designed to render 3D graphics but can also be applied for a assortment of other tasks.

This usually means the equipment has a complete of 8,730,112 cores able of parallel computing responsibilities a normal notebook has amongst five and 9. At peak electric power, the personal computer generates so substantially warmth that it involves 4 large-powered pumps to force a lot more than 25,000 litres of h2o all-around the device each and every minute.

Frontier’s exaflop performance indicates that not only is it amount one particular in the Prime500, an worldwide collaboration to rank the world’s most strong supercomputers, but it also represents a quarter of the computing ability of the complete list.

“One equipment represents 25 per cent of the full functionality of the complete checklist, so it is a really, incredibly spectacular achievement,” says Simon McIntosh-Smith at the College of Bristol, United kingdom.

Frontier has nonetheless to obtain its last kind, either. Above the coming months and decades, as its program is optimised, it could reach a theoretical peak of 2 exaflops.

In the past, supercomputing milestones have been shortly followed by several extra machines with related abilities. Although there are numerous exascale devices prepared for the future few of years, it isn’t apparent how prevalent this engineering could possibly turn out to be.

“The rate of enhancement in electronics has slowed down rather, so we really don’t be expecting exascale equipment to proliferate by the Best500 as rapidly as it did for petascale, for example,” states McIntosh-Smith, referring to devices with a thousandth of the capabilities.

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