The US Department of Energy today unveiled the first supercomputer capable of working in exaflops. The machine, created at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee), is capable of doing 1.1 trillion operations per second (1.1 trillion flops, the measurement used in computing to measure processing speed). If every person on the planet could do a calculation every second, it would take more than four years to do what this computer can process in one second, according to the lab.
It is the first time that a computer has broken the exaflop barrier, a mark that just a few years ago seemed insurmountable. A typical laptop has a power of a few teraflops, that is, a million times less fast than the Frontier supercomputer.
Frontier’s capacity will allow it to contribute to solving scientific problems such as climate models or the simulation of nuclear fusion, its developers explain. “Frontier is ushering in a new era of exascale computing to solve the world’s biggest scientific challenges,” said Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia. “It is the result of more than a decade of collaboration between national laboratories, academia and private industry.”
The system is made up of 74 cabins hardware containing 9,400 processors and each weighing like a van. To get an idea of the infrastructure surrounding the supercomputer, 25,000 liters of water are pumped into it per minute to cool the systems.
Frontier has not yet reached its peak. According to its developers, it is planned to introduce a series of improvements to the software that will optimize your processes and that, on paper, can lead the supercomputer to reach 2 exaflops.