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First US exascale computer

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On the heels of the US government’s announced in March that the first US exascale computer is being built just outside Chicago and coming in 2021, the US government announced today that it’s also commissioned a manufacturer to build what would be the most powerful computer in the world that will also make its debut in 2021, keeping the US at the forefront of supercomputer supremacy.

The company building the new supercomputer, named Frontier, is Cray Inc., which will use high-performance AMD EPYC CPU and Radeon Instinct GPU technology in the system, and it will boast a performance greater than 1.5 exaflops.

To get an idea of much computing power that represents, one exaflop involves being able to perform a quintillion operations per second.

The US Dept. of Energy in its announcement today hyped up the Frontier system as eventually being able to solve calculations up to 50 times faster than today’s supercomputers, with a goal of topping a quintillion calculations per second (a number that’s written as a 1 with 18 zeroes after it). The supercomputer would also “enable researchers to deliver breakthroughs in scientific discovery, energy assurance, economic competitiveness, and national security.



“As a second-generation AI system — following the world-leading Summit system deployed at (Oak Ridge National Lab) in 2018 — Frontier will provide new capabilities for deep learning, machine learning and data analytics for applications ranging from manufacturing to human health.”

@legend What do you think of this new supercomputer?

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The US might currently have the world's most powerful supercomputer,but it isn't resting on its laurels. An international race is on to build exascale supercomputers (systems capable of a quintillion calculations per second) and today, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced Intel and sub-contractor Cray Computing will construct the first such system in the US. The supercomputer will be called Aurora, and Intel is aiming to deliver it to the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in the Chicago area in 2021.

"Achieving exascale is imperative, not only to better the scientific community, but also to better the lives of everyday Americans," said Sec. Perry. "Aurora and the next generation of exascale supercomputers will apply [high-performance computing] and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling and veterans' health treatments."


Back in 2011, Intel had high hopes of making exascale computing viable by 2018, but that of course didn't quite happen. As MIT Technology Reviewputs it, "Every person on Earth would have to do a calculation every second of every day for just over four years to match what an exascale machine will be able to do in a flash."


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3 hours ago, Remarkableriots said:


It's an impressive amount of compute! For various scientific computing, it's awesome. I'm actually not sure how sold I am on using it for AI. AMD doesn't have well supported libraries for ML computing, even though they otherwise are pretty excellent at scientific computing. What that means is either AMD is going to have to step their game up on that front, or clients using it for AI will have write a lot of code themselves. Maybe the latter isn't so bad. Typically when you lease time on a supercomputer, you put an enormous amount of effort into writing highly efficient custom code, because you don't want to waste cycles. So maybe the less substantial library support isn't a big deal anyway. 

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