AMD and Cray Computing are working on a massive machine in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The system is expected to be present in 2021. It is the same year Cray and Intel are scheduled to deliver the Aurora exascale supercomputer to the Argonne National Laboratory. The U.S Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry issued a statement, “Frontier’s record-breaking performance will ensure our country’s ability to lead the world in science that improves the lives and economic prosperity of all Americans and the entire world. Frontier will accelerate innovation in AI by giving American researchers world-class data and computing resources to ensure the next great inventions are made in the United States”.
The CEO of Cray Computing, Pete Ungaro said that at 1.5 exaflops, Frontier will have the combined power of the current top 160 supercomputers in the world. The exaflop is equivalent to a quintillion calculation per second. So, if everyone on Earth carried out one calculation per second, it would take us more than 6-years to perform as many calculations as Frontier will be able in a single second. The director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Thomas Zacharia pointed out that Frontier will be the most powerful AI machine anyone has seen up until that point in time when it’s activated.
Frontier will use Shasta supercomputer system of Cray and Slingshot interconnect, as well as AMD’s GPUs and custom EPYC processors. The companies are working together on programming tools to support developers harness the supercomputer’s power. Moreover, Cray, AMD, and Oak Ridge jointly developed a custom environment for the hardware. Frontier will take up almost a similar space as 2 basketball courts. It will include 90 miles of cabling and have enough network bandwidth to download 100,000 HD movies in just a single second. Scientists and engineers will then be able to use Frontier for an array of projects. These projects include climate change forecasting, predicting the path of hurricanes, and developing new pharmaceuticals.