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1.1 million operations per second: America has the fastest supercomputer in the world


A systems engineer stands in a large room containing the supercomputer Frontier.
Enlarge / Systems engineer Matt Ezell, systems manager for the Frontier supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The US has regained the top spot in the world supercomputer rankings with the exascale Frontier system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.

The Frontier system’s score of 1,102 exaflop/s makes it “the most powerful supercomputer that ever existed” and “the first true exascale machine,” the Top 500 project said Monday in notification of its latest charts. Exaflop/s (or exaflop) stands for 1 quintillion floating point operations per second.

Frontier is more than twice as fast as a Japanese system that ranks second in the rankings, based on the LINPACK benchmark that measure “performance of a dedicated system for solving a dense system of linear equations.”

“Based on the latest HPE Cray EX235a architecture and powered by the AMD EPYC 64C 2GHz processor, the system has a total of 8,730,112 cores, a power efficiency rating of 52.23 gigaflops/watt, and is based into gigabit Ethernet for data transmission,” said the Top 500 team. Frontier “is currently being integrated and tested at ORNL in Tennessee, USA, where it will be operated by the Department of Energy,” the group said.

While China may also have broken the exaflop barrier, the US system was the first to demonstrate speed in the official Top 500 test.

Frontier also tops the efficiency chart

Frontier is also the second most efficient supercomputer of the new generation Green 500 Ranking. The top spot in the Green 500 is taken by a smaller version of the Frontier system at Oak Ridge, one with 120,832 cores instead of the 8.7 million in the exascale system.

Second in the Top 500 with a score of 442 petaflops/s is the previous top supercomputer, the Fugaku system at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan. While the Fugaku system has a theoretical peak of over 1 exaflop/s, Frontier is the only system that has demonstrated it in the Top 500 test, the Top 500 announcement said. ORNL says that Frontier’s theoretical peak is 2 exaflop/s.

Fugaku in first place starts with Ranking June 2020 and ranked first in November 2020, June 2021 and November 2021. The last time the United States held the first place in the rankings biennial in November 2019 when the IBM-built Oak Ridge Summit system scored 148.6 petaflops/s.

DOE’s exascale project

DOE in 2018 announced a $1.8 billion project to develop at least two exascale supercomputers to support a wide range of scientific research.

“Provisioning, installation and testing of Frontier began during the COVID-19 pandemic, as international supply chains shut down around the world,” speak this week. “More than 100 members of a public-private team worked around the clock, from sourcing millions of components to ensuring on-time delivery of system parts to careful installation and testing 74 HPE Cray EX supercomputer cabinet, includes more than 9,400 AMD-powered nodes and 90 miles of network cabling.”

Researchers will “have access to a fully operational Frontier system by the end of the year,” said Jeff Nichols, ORNL’s deputy lab director, adding that the system will be made available. granted to “scientists and engineers from around the world.”

“Frontier users will model the entire lifespan of a nuclear reactor, detect genetic diseases, and build on recent developments in science and technology to further integrate artificial intelligence.” with data analysis and modeling and simulation”, ORNL also speak.

HPCwire coverage in the Top 500 list provided a further description of Frontier’s composition:

Frontier includes 74 cabinets, each weighing 8,000 pounds. 9,408 HPE Cray EX nodes are spread across these cabinets, with each node being powered by an AMD “Trento” 7A53 Epyc CPU and four AMD Instinct MI250X GPUs (37,632 total system-wide GPUs). The system has 9.2 petabytes of memory, divided equally between HBM and DDR4, and it uses the HPE Slingshot-11 network. It is backed by 37 petabytes of node-local storage on top of 716 petabytes of full-central storage. The system is 100% liquid cooled with warm water (85°F), and in terms of space, the Frontier system ultimately takes up 372 square meters.

HP Enterprise bought supercomputer company Cray in 2019.

China is said to have an exascale supercomputer

Have instruction that China has two exascale supercomputers. But the operators “of those systems failed to submit test results for evaluation” in the Top 500, possibly due to “tension between the United States and China,” The New York Times said. Written.

Officially, China’s top rating system is the sixth fastest ranking system in the Top 500. That system, called Sunway TaihuLight, has been ranked number 1 four times in a row in 2016 and 2017 but hasn’t updated its score since then. Another Chinese system is called Tianhe-2A held the top spot from 2013 to 2015 and is now ninth.

“There are rumors that China has something” with exceptional power, but “nothing official,” Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist who designed Linpack, told The New York Times. Dongarra is a professor at the University of Tennessee and holds a position at ORNL.



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