AMD inside 1.5 exaflops supercomputer for US government

Posted on Wednesday, May 08 2019 @ 10:27 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Another big win for AMD as the company's hardware got selected for "Frontier", a new supercomputer for the US Department of Energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The system is projected to have a computing power of 1.5 exaflops and will feature a combination of AMD EPYC server processors and Radeon Instinct GPUs.

The Frontier supercomputer is expected to be ready in 2021. At the moment, the fastest supercomputer has a computing power of 0.2 exaflops. As ARS Technica reports, it take the top 160 current supercomputers to match Frontier.
Frontier will use custom versions of AMD's Epyc processors (likely Zen 3 or Zen 4), matched with 4 GPUs, all connected using AMD's Infinity Fabric. Between nodes, Cray's Slingshot interconnect will be used, which has transfer rates of up to 200Gb/s per port. The GPUs will have their own stacked HBM (High Bandwidth Memory). It'll be housed in 100 cabinets, taking about 7,300 square feet of floor space. Power consumption will be 30-40MW.
The project has an estimated cost of $500 million for the hardware and another $100 million for research & development. It's expected to be the second exaflops-capable system, the first one will be the 1 exaflops Aurora in 2021, which features Intel Xeon SP CPUs and Intel Xe GPUs.

This is the first time since 2008 that AMD is inside world's top supercomputer. At the moment, Intel has about 95 percent of this market, with a large chunk of the remainder going to IBM's PowerPC.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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