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The AMD-powered Frontier supercomputer is the world's fastest and first exascale computer

By Kenny Yeo - on 31 May 2022, 10:00am

The AMD-powered Frontier supercomputer is the world's fastest and first exascale computer

The Frontier supercomputer. (Image source: US Department of Energy)

The list of the world's fastest supercomputers has a new AMD-powered system called Frontier. What's more, Frontier has shot straight up to the top of the list, and is now the world's fastest supercomputer.

It is also the world's first supercomputer to break the exascale barrier. In a sustained Linpack run, Frontier achieved a whopping performance of 1.102 ExaFlops – that means over one quintillion floating point operations per second.

But perhaps what's even more impressive is the way Frontier blows the second-place Fugaku supercomputer out of the water. Fugaku's peak performance was measured at "only" 442 PetaFlops or 0.442 ExaFlops. 

That means Frontier is over twice as fast as Fugaku. In fact, Frontier is so fast that it is faster than Fugaku and the next six supercomputers on the list, combined.

Frontier's network of water-cooling tubes. (Image source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory / HPE)

Frontier has AMD to thank for its superlative performance. It consists of 74 purpose-built HPE Cray EX supercomputer cabinets that have been crammed with over 9,400 AMD EPYC processors and 37,000 GPUs. It has over 4.6 petabytes of DDR memory and around 700 petabytes of storage.

At its peak, it consumes 29MW (megawatts) of power – that's equivalent to the power consumption of over 20,000 US homes. To keep it cool, Frontier has a complex water-cooling system that requires 350-horsepower water pumps and over 6,000 gallons (over 22,000 litres) of water.

The Frontier supercomputer cost around US$600 million to build and will be used for scientific research.

Source: Tom's Hardware

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