Speaking of the Shasta supercomputer blades, AMD and Cray announced they had been selected to power Frontier, which is soon to be the world's fastest supercomputer when it comes online in 2021. Frontier will crank out 1.5 exaflops of compute power, which is faster than the current top 160 supercomputers, combined. That compute power comes courtesy of next-generation variants of AMD's EPYC processors and Radeon Instinct GPUs.
AMD optimized its custom EPYC processor with support for new instructions that provide optimal performance in AI and supercomputing workloads. "It is a future version of our Zen architecture. So think of it as beyond..what we put into Rome," said AMD CEO Lisa Su. That could indicate that AMD will use a custom variant of its next-next-gen EPYC Milan processors for the task, but that remains unconfirmed.
The CPUs will be combined with high-performance Radeon GPU accelerators that have extensive mixed-precision compute capabilities and high bandwidth memory (HBM). AMD specified that the GPU will come to market in the future, but didn't elaborate about the future of the custom-designed EPYC processor. AMD will connect each EPYC CPU to four Radeon Instinct GPUs via a custom high-bandwidth low-latency coherent Infinity Fabric. This is an evolution of AMD's foundational Infinity Fabric technology that it currently uses to tie together CPU and GPU die inside its processors, but now AMD has extended it to operate over the PCIe bus.
To put Frontier's performance into perspective, the supercomputer will be able to crunch up to 1.5 quintillion operations per second, which is equivalent to solving 1.5 quintillion mathematical problems every second. Cray also touts the performance of its networking solution as offering 24,000,000 times the bandwidth of the fastest home internet connection, or equivalent to being able to download 100,000 full HD movies in one second.