US supercomputer breaches exascale barrier

01st June 2022
US supercomputer breaches exascale barrier

Thumbnail image: cooling system of the Frontier supercomputer.
Frontier is not only the most powerful supercomputer to ever exist – it’s also the first true exascale machine.
June 1 2022: The next major frontier in supercomputing speeds has been broken – by a US -based  machine, coincidentally named “Frontier”.
The  59th edition of the  biennial TOP500  rankings made simultaneously in Frankfurt, Germany and Berkely, California (US) has revealed the Frontier system Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to be the world’s fastest and the  first true exascale machine with  a speed of 1.102 Exaflop/s.
It is based on the latest HPE Cray EX235a architecture and equipped with AMD EPYC 64C 2GHz processors, the system has 8,730,112 total cores, a power efficiency rating of 52.23 gigaflops/watt, and relies on gigabit ethernet for data transfer. A recent development to the Frontier system has allowed the machine to surpass the 1 exaflop barrier.
No. 2 is far behind now
The top position was previously held for two years straight by the Fugaku system at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan. Sticking with its previous HPL benchmark score of 442 PFlop/s, Fugaku has now dropped to No. 2. Considering the fact that Fugaku’s theoretical peak is above the 1 exaflop barrier, there’s cause to also call this system an exascale machine as well. However, Frontier is the only system able to demonstrate this on the HPL benchmark test.
Another change within the TOP10 is the introduction of the LUMI system at EUROHPC/CSC in Finland. Now occupying the No. 3 spot, this new system has 1,110,144 cores and has a HPL benchmark of nearly 152 PFlop/s. LUMI is also noteworthy in that it is the largest system in Europe.
Finally, another change within the TOP10 occurred at the No. 10 spot with the new addition of the Adastra system at GENCI-CINES in France. It achieved an HPL benchmark score of 46.1 Pflop/s and is the second most powerful machine in Europe, behind LUMI.
AMD.. favoured processor
Once more, AMD processors seem to be a preferred technology for HPC systems. Frontier utilizes 3rd Gen AMD EPYC CPUs optimized for HPC and AI. The No. 3 LUMI system also relied on AMD 3rd Gen EPYC processors, while No. 7 Permutter used AMD EPYC 7763 processors and No. 8 Selene used AMD EPYC 7742 processors.
Another point reminiscent of most recent TOP500 lists is the fact that China and the United States are the two countries with the most entries on the list. While China stagnated at 173 systems, the United States dropped from 150 systems to 126. Still, these two countries make up for nearly two-thirds of the supercomputers on the TOP500.
Indian entries in Top 500... see main story