HPE-built ‘Frontier’ supercomputer breaks exascale barrier

“Frontier,” a new supercomputer that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) built for the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has reached 1.1 exaflops.

This makes Frontier the world’s first supercomputer to break the exascale speed barrier, and the world’s fastest supercomputer, according to the Top500 list of world’s most powerful supercomputers. 

Frontier also ranked No. 1 in a category called “mixed-precision computing” that rates performance in formats commonly used for artificial intelligence, with a performance of 6.88 exaflops. 

Also, the new supercomputer claimed the top spot on the Green500 list as the world’s most energy efficient supercomputer with 52.23 gigaflops performance per watt.

This makes Frontier 32% more energy efficient compared to the previous No. 1 system at 39.38 gigaflops performance per watt.

The supercomputer, which is more powerful than the next top seven of the world’s largest supercomputers, will allow scientists to model and simulate at an exascale level to solve problems that are eight times more complex, up to ten times faster — based on the Top500 list of May 2022.

Frontier is also expected to reach even higher levels of speed with a theoretical peak performance of 2 exaflops. 

The supercomputer will have significant impact in critical areas such as cancer and disease diagnosis and prognosis, drug discovery, renewable energy, and new materials to create safer and sustainable products.

“This debut of the Frontier exascale supercomputer delivers a breakthrough of speed and performance, and will give us the opportunity to answer questions we never knew to ask,” said Justin Hotard, EVP and general manager of HPE’s HPC & AI group. 

“Frontier is a first-of-its-kind system that was envisioned by technologists, scientists and researchers to unleash a new level of capability to deliver open science, AI and other breakthroughs, that will benefit humanity,” said Hotard. 

Frontier is built with HPE Cray EX supercomputers that deliver end-to-end capabilities comprised of compute, accelerated compute, software, storage and networking to support the magnitude of exascale performance. 

In addition to Frontier, three more HPE-built systems are named to the top 10 of the Top500 list, including the LUMI supercomputer for the CSC-IT Center for Science in Finland at No. 3, Perlmutter supercomputer for the US DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at No. 7, and the Adastra supercomputer for GENCI-CINES at No. 10.