Cray and AMD To Develop the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

AMD AMD 33.04 +0.04 +0.12% and Cray
CRAY 34.61 -0.02 -0.05% have been awarded a $600 M contract by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The computer will be called Frontier, and is expected to be completed by 2021. Su and Peter Ungaro, the chief executive of Cray, said the system — planned to be the size of about two basketball courts — will reach a processing speed of 1 exaflop per second, which translates to an unimaginable 1 quintillion floating point calculations per second. It will be about 50 times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers. AMD will provide both the main processors, or CPUs, and the graphics processors, or GPUs.

Frontier will be replacing the current fastest supercomputer, Summit, housed in the same location at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Like Summit (and Titan before it), Frontier is an open science system, meaning that it’s available to academic researchers to run simulations and experiments on. Accordingly, the lab is expecting the supercomputer to be used for a wide range of projects across numerous disciplines, including not only traditional modeling and simulation tasks, but also more data-driven techniques for artificial intelligence and data analytics.