Direction of Discovery

ORNL’s exascale supercomputer designed to deliver world-leading performance in 2021.

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It has been basic United States policy that Government should foster the opening of new frontiers. It opened the seas to clipper ships and furnished land for pioneers. Although these frontiers have more or less disappeared, the frontier of science remains. Vannevar Bush, “Science, The Endless Frontier” — 1945

America's Exascale Future

Exascale is the next level of computing performance. By solving calculations five times faster than today’s top supercomputers—exceeding a quintillion, or 1018, calculations per second—exascale systems will enable scientists to develop new technologies for energy, medicine, and materials. The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility will be home to one of America’s first exascale systems, Frontier, which will help guide researchers to new discoveries at exascale.

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Scientific Impact

Pioneering Open Science

Scheduled for delivery in 2021, Frontier will accelerate innovation in science and technology and maintain US leadership in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. Frontier users will model the entire lifespan of a nuclear reactor, uncover disease genetics, and build on recent developments in science and technology to further integrate artificial intelligence with data analytics and modeling and simulation.

The system will be based on Cray’s new Shasta architecture and Slingshot interconnect with high-performance AMD EPYC CPU and Radeon Instinct GPU technology. The new accelerator-centric compute blades will support a 4:1 GPU-to-CPU ratio with high-speed links and coherent memory between them within the node. With Frontier, scientists will be able to pack in more calculations, identify new patterns in data, and develop innovative data analysis methods to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

System Specs Titan Summit Frontier
Peak Performance 27 PF 200 PF > 1.5 EF
Cabinets 200 256 > 100
Node 1 AMD Opteron CPU
1 NVIDIA K20X Kepler GPU
1 HPC and AI Optimized AMD EPYC CPU
4 Purpose Built AMD Radeon Instinct GPU
CPU-GPU Interconnect PCI Gen2 NVLINK
Coherent memory across the node
AMD Infinity Fabric
Coherent memory across the node
System Interconnect Gemini 2x Mellanox EDR 100G InfiniBand
Non-Blocking Fat-Tree
Multiple Slingshot NICs providing 100 GB/s network bandwidth. Slingshot dragonfly network which provides adaptive routing, congestion management and quality of service.
Storage 32 PB, 1 TB/s, Lustre Filesystem 250 PB, 2.5 TB/s, GPFS™ 2-4x performance and capacity of Summit’s I/O subsystem. Frontier will have near node storage like Summit.
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World Leading Systems

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has decades of experience in delivering, operating, and conducting research on world-leading supercomputers. Since 2005, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has deployed Jaguar, Titan, and Summit, each the world’s fastest computer in its time. Frontier will leverage ORNL’s extensive experience and expertise in GPU-accelerated computing to become the US Department of Energy's next record-breaking supercomputer when it debuts in 2021.


No. 1 in 2009, 2010


No. 1 in 2012


No. 1 in 2018


Coming in 2021

Frontier CAAR Program

In preparation for the Frontier supercomputer, OLCF has selected eight research projects to participate in the Frontier Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) program. Through Frontier CAAR, the OLCF is partnering with application core developers, vendor partners, and OLCF staff members to optimize simulation, data-intensive, and machine learning scientific applications for exascale performance, ensuring that Frontier will be able to perform large-scale science when it opens to users in 2022. Consisting of application core developers and staff from the OLCF, the partnership teams are receiving technical support from Cray and AMD—Frontier’s primary vendors—and gaining access to multiple early-generation hardware platforms prior to system deployment.

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