‘Frontier’ will reach 1.5 exaFLOPS of power in 2021.

The supercomputing segment always amazes us with its figures, and does it again now that AMD and Cray promise to launch Frontier in 2021, the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

This supercomputer will probably not be the first to enter the “exascale” era of these high-capacity computing machines, but when it appears it will be the most powerful of all of them according to its creators and will achieve yields of 1.5 exaFLOPS, something never seen before.

The era of exascale supercomputing is here

The figure can be difficult to understand if we do not put it in context, but an ExaFLOPS is a huge number of floating point operations per second: specifically, it is 10 to 18 operations of this type per second. The most powerful supercomputer in the world today, Summit, reaches 200,794 TFLOPS maximum, or what is the same, 0.2 exaFLOPS. Frontier will multiply that calculation capacity by almost 8.

‘Frontier’ will reach 1.5 exaFLOPS of power in 2021

Frontier marks the return of Cray and AMD to Oak Ridge, which had already had a supercomputer in which both firms had collaborated called Titan. When it hit the market as a Jaguar upgrade in 2012 achieved 17.6 petaFLOPS, a figure that placed it as the most powerful supercomputer in the world at that time.

Titan was using AMD Opteron processors and NVIDIA K20X GPUs, but Frontier will offer custom AMD Epyc processors with a future generation of their Zen architecture (beyond Milan -Zen 3-, so it’s probably Zen 4), which will be added AMD Radeon Instinct graphics cards that will also be specifically oriented to the field of supercomputing.

‘Frontier’ will reach 1.5 exaFLOPS of power in 2021

There has not been too specific data on its specifications, but it will use HBM memory and that there will be a 4: 1 ratio of GPU to CPU, that is, we will have before us a heterogeneous design that not only makes use of powerful processors, but that will also take advantage of the gross power of the GPUs in a remarkable way, since for each processor there will be four of these GPUs.

We know that Frontier will consist of more than 100 cabins (those cabinets that bring together sets of components) of the Cray Shasta type, each one with support of up to 300 kW of power. In total there will be 40 MW available to power this beastly supercomputerA huge figure, although proportionally “efficient” if we take into account that Summit consumes almost 10 MW for its operation, and some less powerful Chinese supercomputers such as Sunway or Tianhe close to 20 MW.

‘Frontier’ will reach 1.5 exaFLOPS of power in 2021

This type of supercomputer will allow according to AMD “to dramatically improve performance at scale for artificial intelligence, analysis and simulation.” In United States will invest 600 million dollars for the development and construction of this supercomputer that will be located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.