May 14, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy announced a contract with Cray Inc. to build the Frontier supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is anticipated to debut in 2021 as the world’s most powerful computer with a performance of greater than 1.5 exaflops.
Scheduled for delivery in 2021, Frontier will accelerate innovation in science and technology and maintain U.S. leadership in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. The total contract award is valued at more than $600 million for the system and technology development. The system will be based on Cray’s new Shasta architecture and Slingshot interconnect and will feature high-performance AMD EPYC CPU and AMD Radeon Instinct GPU technology.
Frontier will incorporate several novel technologies co-designed specifically to deliver a balanced scientific capability for the user community. The system will be composed of more than 100 Cray Shasta cabinets with high density compute blades powered by HPC and AI- optimized AMD EPYC processors and Radeon Instinct GPU accelerators purpose-built for the needs of exascale computing. The new accelerator-centric compute blades will support a 4:1 GPU to CPU ratio with high speed AMD Infinity Fabric links and coherent memory between them within the node. Each node will have one Cray Slingshot interconnect network port for every GPU with streamlined communication between the GPUs and network to enable optimal performance for high-performance computing and AI workloads at exascale.
Frontier will offer best-in-class traditional scientific modeling and simulation capabilities while also leading the world in artificial intelligence and data analytics. Closely integrating artificial intelligence with data analytics and modeling and simulation will drastically reduce the time to discovery by automatically recognizing patterns in data and guiding simulations beyond the limits of traditional approaches.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has decades of experience in delivering, operating, and conducting research on world-leading supercomputers. Since 2005, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has deployed Jaguar, Titan, and Summit, each the world’s fastest computer in its time.
(Source and image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory)