Published: Fri, May 10, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

‘The world’s most powerful supercomputer’ will realize the full potential of AI

‘The world’s most powerful supercomputer’ will realize the full potential of AI

The US now has the world's most powerful supercomputer and the country could hold this claim for some time thanks to the announcement that Cray Computing and AMD are building an exascale machine together with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Scheduled for delivery in 2021, Frontier will accelerate innovation in science and technology and maintain US leadership in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence.

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.

Officials anticipate the supercomputer will debut in 2021 as the world's most powerful computer with a performance of greater than 1.5 exaflops.


To put this in perspective, one exaflop is equivalent to one billion billion calculations per second (called quintillion). "Frontier will accelerate innovation in AI by giving American researchers world-class data and computing resources to ensure the next great inventions are made in the United States", Secretary Perry added.

Since 2005, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has deployed Jaguar, Titan, and Summit, each the world's fastest computer in its time. According to AMD, the researchers at ORNL will use the Frontier system's computing power and support for artificial intelligence techniques to simulate, model and improve understanding of the interactions underlying the science of weather, sub-atomic structures, genomics, physics, and other scientific fields.

"Frontier represents the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing". Coincidentally, Aurora too has been developed by DOE along with Intel and Cray Inc. "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".

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. This will include new capabilities in the Cray Programming Environment and AMD's ROCm open compute platform that will be integrated together into the Cray Shasta software stack for Frontier. AMD expects the Frontier's development at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to finish by the year 2021.

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