Recently, a new supercomputer named Frontier passed a major milestone. This computer can perform one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Frontier’s storage system is able to hold 33 times more data than currently housed in the entire Library of Congress. This new computer was introduced on May 30, 2022 by the TOP500, a list that ranks the 500 most powerful computers in the world.
To create one Frontier, scientists and researchers combined74 HPE Cray EX supercomputers, which supports next-generation supercomputing performance and scale supercomputer cabinets. Included in this system are 9,400 AMD-powered nodes, each of them containing an optimized processor and four graphics processing units. This computer uses liquid to cool down—instead of fans which often generate too much noise as the computer does calculations. Frontier communicates its information with an HPE Slingshot, an Ethernet fabric connected to all of its cabinets and nodes, making Frontier the fastest computer in the world. It took around three years to build Frontier.
Frontier’s highly developed performance will be critical in finding answers to the world’s challenging problems. A director from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Thomas Zacharia, said, “It is the result of more than a decade of collaborations among the national laboratories, academia and private industry, including DOE’s Exascale computing project, which is deploying the applications, software technologies, hardware and integration necessary to ensure impact at the exascale computing to solve the world’s biggest scientific challenges.”
Scientists and researchers congregated at the International Supercomputing Conference of 2022, where they revealed rankings for Frontier. This supercomputer is listed in the number one spot for the Green500 list, a list that rates the productivity and amount of energy used by supercomputers.
A director from the ORNL Associate Lab for computing and computational sciences, Jeff Nichold, said, “Scientists and engineers from around the world put these extraordinary computing speeds to work to solve some of the most challenging questions of our era, and many will begin their explorations on Day One.”
The amazing speed of the Frontier computer will enhance our ability to address issues of world importance in the fields as physics, medicine, and beyond.
[Sources: Science News for Students; Oak Ridge National Laboratory]