Researchers to Harness America’s First Exascale Supercomputer in Summer 2022

Select researchers will soon gain access to America’s first exa-scale supercomputer, Frontier, which is poised to deliver modeling and simulation capabilities at the highest level of computing performance next year.

“Frontier is the first system of its kind and it requires a thoughtful and deliberate process to bring a machine of its magnitude online,” said Justin Whitt, program director for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, where the machine will be installed. Nextgov On Wednesday. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our world-class team, we are exactly where we thought we would be when we implemented the plan two years ago.”

Exascale systems are at the heart of the next generation of high-performance supercomputing.

Large and powerful tools will perform a trillion operations per second. According to Whitt, they are expected to “more realistically simulate the processes involved in scientific discovery and national security,” such as those associated with regional climate, additive manufacturing, “the conversion of plants to biofuels, the relationship between use of energy and water, the invisible physics in the discovery and design of materials, and the fundamental forces of the universe, and many others ”.

In 2019, the Department of Energy announced that it would acquire Frontier from supercomputer maker HPE Cray and chipmaker AMD for the Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory through a contract worth approximately $ 600 million.

In addition to Frontier, exascale systems are being built at other labs, including Lawrence Livermore and Argonne National Labs. The system established for the latter was originally slated to be the first exascale in operation in the US, but delays in the manufacturing process resulted in Frontier’s deployment leading the pack.

Oak Ridge officials had to direct what is considered the largest, more complete update in the history of his laboratory to make room for the huge machine. Its components occupy a space that coincides with two soccer fields.

The lab confirmed this fall that Frontier was being delivered.

This week, Whitt said Nextgov that its delivery began in August and ended at the end of October. Now, the installation and integration processes are underway.

“Some early adopters will have access to Frontier this summer to help harden the system for full user operations on January 1, 2023,” he noted.

In addition to enabling next-level modeling and simulations, Whitt added, the supercomputer will also provide the lab with “unprecedented opportunities to use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for topics of global importance, such as discovering new patterns in data from patients for precision medicine and discovering the origins of disease, shedding light on new material properties and promoting research in high-energy physics. “

The department’s Exascale Computing Program has been a crucial element in helping Frontier become a full reality.

“ECP brought together researchers from DOE laboratories, universities and providers to address many aspects of the exa-scale challenge,” said Whitt. “ECP offers science applications and software that will be essential to a researcher’s productivity at Frontier.”

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