This Computer Is First to Reach Mind-Boggling 'Exascale'

Frontier system at Oak Ridge lab smokes the competition to become fastest in the world
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2022 2:54 PM CDT
This Computer Is First to Reach Mind-Boggling 'Exascale'
Frontier is a beast.   (YouTube/Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

(Newser) – In the ancient days of 2020, the fastest computer was measured in mere petaflops. Now, we're talking ... exaflops. Over the weekend, the powers-that-be in the realm of computers anointed the Frontier computer at the federal Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee as the fastest on the planet, reports PC Mag. That gives the US bragging rights over Japan, where the Fugaku computer in Kobe fell to No. 2. Frontier now has the distinction of being the first "exascale" computer in the world, which means it can perform a mind-boggling billion billion operations per second, per New Scientist. (This video provides a sense of its scale.)

A typical laptop can perform "a few teraflops, or a trillion operations per second, which is a million times less," New Scientist adds. A thousand teraflops is equivalent to one petaflop, and No. 2 Fugaku is capable of "just" 442 petaflops per second, note PCMag. Frontier, then, takes things to a whole new level. A thousand petaflops is one exaflop, and Frontier registered 1.1 exaflops per second. A post at TheNextPlatform has a further explainer of the Top 500 supercomputer rankings, and what Frontier must do to reach the next goal of 2 exaflops per second. (Read more supercomputer stories.)

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