US to Spend $600 Million on Frontier Exascale Supercomputer

From PC Mag: The US has budgeted $600 million to build its second "exascale" supercomputer, which is slated to go online in 2021.

The Frontier supercomputer will be capable of completing more than 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, according to the US Department of Energy, which announced more details about the upcoming system on Tuesday.

In March, the department hailed the coming arrival of a separate $500 million exascale supercomputer, called Aurora. It too is slated to go online in 2021. However, Aurora will feature technology from Intel. Frontier, on the other hand, is being built with silicon from rival AMD.

Specifically, Frontier will run custom Epyc CPU processors and Radeon Instinct GPU chips, connected over AMD's low-latency, high-bandwith Infinity Fabric interconnect technology. The machine itself will cover about 7,300 square feet, or almost the size of two basketball courts, and require about 90 miles of cabling. To cool the system, Frontier will require about 5,900 gallons of water flow per minute.

"When it's deployed it's going to be the fastest machine in the world," said Thomas Zacharia, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where the Frontier supercomputer will be built.

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