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The world’s quickest supercomputer, by the numbers


A US supercomputer has formally taken the highest spot on this planet, in accordance with a latest record by TOP500, a challenge that tracks and ranks 500 of probably the most highly effective machines on this planet. 

Coming in at primary is a Tennessee-based system referred to as Frontier, run by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, AMD, and the US Division of Power’s Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory, edging out the Fugaku system on the RIKEN Middle for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan that beforehand held the title. 

This Frontier system is “the results of greater than a decade of collaboration among the many nationwide laboratories, academia and personal business, together with DOE’s Exascale Computing Challenge, which is deploying the functions, software program applied sciences, {hardware} and integration obligatory to make sure influence on the exascale,” Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory mentioned in a press launch

What can a supercomputer of this measurement and complexity do? A presentation in March acknowledged that among the early science run on Frontier consists of simulating Earth techniques to investigate biogeochemical cycles in addition to energy grid planning. As these supercomputers get bigger, consultants count on them to turn out to be specialised at a handful of becoming functions. 

Right here’s a take a look at what Frontier can do, by the numbers.

1.1 exaflops

The Frontier supercomputer boasts 1.1 exaflops of efficiency, which implies that it’s capable of deal with a couple of quintillion calculations per second, Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory mentioned in a press launch. That’s 10^18, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. Theoretically, Frontier can chart 2 exaflops at peak efficiency—that’s two quintillion calculations per second. That is 10 instances extra highly effective than the Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory’s earlier IBM Summit system, which had a peak efficiency of 200 petaflops, or 200,000 trillion calculations per second. Summit was adept at analyzing and evaluating genomes, in addition to utilizing deep studying to simulate world climate patterns. (Right here’s extra on what a “flop” and a teraflop are.)

The primary true exaflop machine

The Fugaku system in Japan, which held the highest place on the record for 2 years prior, maintains a efficiency of 442 petaflops per second, in accordance with TOP500. Although Fugaku might hit the 1 exaflop barrier at peak efficiency, Frontier has decidedly been topped the primary exascale machine. Intel and Argonne Laboratory’s Aurora was additionally anticipated to hit this milestone, however the system has reportedly been delayed resulting from manufacturing and expertise points. One other essential caveat: There’s speak that two techniques in China have already moved previous this milestone silently, and their operators didn’t submit outcomes for analysis to the scientists who oversee TOP500, in accordance with The New York Instances

[Related: This supercomputer will perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second]

52.23 gigaflops efficiency per watt

Supercomputers want loads of electrical energy to run. Nonetheless, Frontier and the Frontier Take a look at & Growth System (TDS) at Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory are additionally two of probably the most energy-efficient supercomputers out of the group that TOP500 ranked, with the Frontier system having an influence effectivity of 52.23 gigaflops per watt. The Frontier TDS system—a smaller model of the supercomputer used for working early checks—which solely has 120,832 cores and a efficiency of 19.20 petaflops per second, is probably the most energy environment friendly system, with a score of 62.68 gigaflops per watt. 

8,730,112 cores

Talking of cores, Frontier has about 8,730,112 of them able to processing parallel duties. Frontier is constructed from the HPE Cray EX supercomputers, which include AMD’s processors. All of that processing energy can be utilized in the direction of fixing elaborate issues and calculations, together with these wanted for synthetic intelligence techniques. “Along with modeling and simulating complicated scientific analysis, throughout organic, bodily and chemical sciences, with larger decision, Frontier can even allow dramatic breakthroughs in AI,” Hewlett Packard mentioned in a press launch. “At an exascale velocity, Frontier’s customers can develop AI fashions which are 4.5X sooner and 8X bigger.” Listed here are all of the programming languages, libraries, and instruments obtainable on Frontier. 

700 petabytes of storage

Along with having learn speeds of as much as 75 terabytes per second, write speeds of as much as 35 terabytes per second, and with the ability to do round 15 billion random-read enter/output operations per second, Frontier’s storage element, referred to as Orion, can maintain about 700 petabytes of knowledge. To place it in perspective, Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory mentioned that represents 35 instances greater than the info held by The Library of Congress. 

74 cupboards

Supercomputers have to divide up their large {hardware} into completely different compartments. Frontier is made up of 74 supercomputer cupboards, 9,400 AMD-powered nodes, and 90 miles of networking cables. Every cupboard weighs round 8,000 kilos, or as a lot as a pick-up truck. In complete, the system comprises round 9,408 CPUs and 37,632 GPUs (GPUs are notably helpful for working synthetic intelligence software program). It consumes 29 megawatts of energy. Researchers are anticipated to realize entry to the “absolutely operational” Frontier someday this yr.



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