ORNL’s Frontier Supercomputer Breaks the Exascale Barrier

Massive 8-million-core system soars to the top of Top500 rankings.

The June 2022 edition of the Top500 list identifying the world’s fastest supercomputers was announced at this year’s ISC conference in Hamburg, Germany. Topping the list is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier computer, which also had the distinction of being the first exascale computer ever documented by the Top500. Exascale is a benchmark that has long served as an aspirational goal for the high-performance computing industry, representing the computing power of 1 quintillion calculations per second. Frontier clocked in with an overall performance of 1.1 exaflops and a peak performance of 2 exaflops. According to ORNL, 2 exaflops in computing power is 10 times more powerful than ORNL’s Summit supercomputer.

Frontier is the result from 10 years of cooperation within the DOE’s Exascale Computing Project. The Frontier system is based on the HPE Cray EX235a architecture with AMD EPYC 64C 2GHz processors. The system has 8,730,112 total cores and relies on gigabit ethernet for data transfer.

Interestingly, a 120,000-core, single-rack equivalent of Frontier known as the Frontier Test and Development System (TDS) scored the top spot on the Green500 list for the most efficient supercomputers with a power efficiency of 62.8 gigaflops per Watt.

The Fugaku system at the RIKEN Center in Kobe, Japan finished second on the Top500 list, clocking at 442 Petaflops per second. Fugaku, the previous leader, has exhibited a peak performance topping the exascale barrier, but not for the sustained testing used for the Top500. Third place went to Finland’s LUMI system. See the Top500 site for the complete list.