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U.S. Energy Department Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Tuesday a multi-million contract to Cray Inc and AMD, who will build the world’s fastest supercomputer that will be delivered to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2021. 

The Frontier supercomputer is expected to make its debut in 2021 and to be the fastest supercomputer in the world with a performance of more than 1.5 exaflops, making it capable of solving calculations up to 50 times faster than today’s most powerful supercomputers, ORNL said in a statement.

The DOE contract is valued at more than US$600 million for the system and technology development of the supercomputer, aimed at boosting innovation and keeping the U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC).                      

“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “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,” Secretary Perry added.  

“Today’s announcement represents the power of collaboration between private industry and public research institutions to deliver groundbreaking innovations that scientists can use to solve some of the world’s biggest problems,” said Lisa Su, president and CEO at AMD.

“Researchers at ORNL will use the Frontier system’s unprecedented computing power and next generation AI techniques to simulate, model and advance understanding of the interactions underlying the science of weather, sub-atomic structures, genomics, physics, and other important scientific fields,” said AMD, which will provide the high-performance AMD EPYC CPU and AMD Radeon Instinct GPU technology. Related: Lending: The Good, Bad, And Ugly

The system of the supercomputer will be based on Cray’s new Shasta architecture and Slingshot interconnect.

“The combination of Cray and AMD technology in the Frontier system will dramatically enhance performance at scale for AI, analytics, and simulation, enabling DOE to further push the boundaries of scientific discovery,” Steve Scott, senior vice president and CTO at Cray, said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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