Frontier Holds Top Spot in TOP500 Update, Aurora Ranks Second

November 14, 2023 by our News Team

The 62nd edition of the TOP500 list reveals exciting developments and shake-ups in the world of high-performance computing, with the Frontier system at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA, retaining its top spot and the Microsoft Azure Cloud system named Eagle claiming the No. 3 spot.

  • Frontier system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the only exascale machine on the list, with an impressive HPL score of 1.194 EFlop/s.
  • Aurora system at Argonne Leadership Computing Facility is expected to surpass Frontier with a peak performance of 2 EFlop/s upon completion.
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud system named Eagle has claimed the No. 3 spot on the TOP500 list, the highest rank ever achieved by a cloud system.

In the ever-evolving landscape of high-performance computing, the TOP500 list serves as a benchmark for the most powerful and advanced supercomputers in the world. The 62nd edition of the TOP500, released recently, brings some exciting developments and shake-ups to the top rankings.

Retaining its top spot is the Frontier system, housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, USA. Frontier continues to be the only exascale machine on the list, with an impressive HPL score of 1.194 EFlop/s. Powered by AMD EPYC 64C 2GHz processors and based on the latest HPE Cray EX235a architecture, Frontier boasts a total of 8,699,904 combined CPU and GPU cores. Notably, Frontier also achieves an impressive power efficiency rating of 52.59 GFlops/watt, thanks to HPE’s Slingshot 11 network for data transfer.

However, the Top 10 has seen some significant changes with the entry of five new or upgraded systems. The Aurora system, located at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in Illinois, USA, takes the No. 2 spot with an HPL score of 585.34 PFlop/s. It is important to note that Aurora’s current numbers were measured on half of its planned final system, and it is expected to surpass Frontier with a peak performance of 2 EFlop/s upon completion. Aurora is built by Intel and utilizes the HPE Cray EX – Intel Exascale Compute Blade, along with Intel Xeon CPU Max Series processors and Intel Data Center GPU Max Series accelerators.

In terms of processors, the TOP500 list shows that Intel Sapphire Rapids CPUs are gaining popularity, with 20 new systems using this CPU. This brings the total number of systems using Intel Sapphire Rapids CPUs to 25, making it the leading new CPU among new systems. However, only four of the 45 new systems on the list use the corresponding Intel GPU, with Aurora being the largest.

Breaking new ground in the world of cloud computing, the Microsoft Azure Cloud system named Eagle has claimed the No. 3 spot on the TOP500 list. This is the highest rank ever achieved by a cloud system on the list. Just two years ago, a previous Azure system made history by entering the TOP10 at spot No. 10. Eagle, with an HPL score of 561.2 PFlop/s, is based on Intel Xeon Platinum 8480C processors and nVidia H100 accelerators.

Fugaku, the Japanese supercomputer that held the No. 1 spot from June 2020 until November 2021, has now moved to No. 4. With an HPL score of 442.01 PFlop/s, Fugaku remains the highest-ranked system outside of the USA.

Europe makes its mark on the list with the LUMI system based at Euro HPC/CSC in Kajaani, Finland, taking the No. 5 spot. LUMI achieved an HPL score of 379.70 PFlop/s and has undergone multiple upgrades to maintain its position near the top.

The TOP 10 systems summarized:

1. Frontier (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA): AMD EPYC processors, HPE Cray EX235a architecture, HPL score of 1.194 EFlop/s.

2. Aurora (Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, USA): Intel Xeon CPU Max Series processors, Intel Data Center GPU Max Series accelerators, HPL score of 585.34 PFlop/s.

3. Eagle (Microsoft Azure Cloud, USA): Intel Xeon Platinum 8480C processors, NVIDIA H100 accelerators, HPL score of 561.2 PFlop/s.

4. Fugaku (RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Japan): HPL score of 442.01 PFlop/s.

5. LUMI (Euro HPC/CSC, Finland): HPL score of 379.70 PFlop/s.

The TOP500 list also reveals interesting trends in processor choices, with Intel, AMD, and IBM processors being the preferred options for HPC systems. Intel Xeon processors dominate the TOP10, with five systems utilizing them, followed by two systems using AMD processors and two systems using IBM processors.

In terms of geographical distribution, the United States and China continue to dominate the list. The United States increased its lead with 161 machines on the list, while China dropped to 104. North America, Asia, and Europe remain the leading continents in terms of the number of systems.

The GREEN500 list, which focuses on energy efficiency, showcases the top performers in this regard. Henri at the Flatiron Institute in New York, USA, retains its No. 1 spot with an energy efficiency rating of 65.40 GFlops/Watt. Frontier’s Test & Development system at ORNL claims the No. 2 spot with an energy efficiency rating of 62.68 GFlops/Watt.

The HPCG benchmark results, which provide an alternative metric for assessing supercomputer performance, show Fugaku leading the pack with an HPCG benchmark of 16 PFlop/s. Frontier and LUMI take the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

Lastly, the HPL-MxP benchmark highlights the use of mixed precision computations. Frontier emerges as the clear winner in this category with an HPL-MxP score of 9.95 EFlop/s.

The TOP500 list continues to captivate and inspire as it showcases the advancements in high-performance computing worldwide. With each edition, we witness new breakthroughs and innovations that push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of computational power.

Frontier Holds Top Spot in TOP500 Update, Aurora Ranks Second

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Background Information

About AMD: AMD, a large player in the semiconductor industry is known for its powerful processors and graphic solutions, AMD has consistently pushed the boundaries of performance, efficiency, and user experience. With a customer-centric approach, the company has cultivated a reputation for delivering high-performance solutions that cater to the needs of gamers, professionals, and general users. AMD's Ryzen series of processors have redefined the landscape of desktop and laptop computing, offering impressive multi-core performance and competitive pricing that has challenged the dominance of its competitors. Complementing its processor expertise, AMD's Radeon graphics cards have also earned accolades for their efficiency and exceptional graphical capabilities, making them a favored choice among gamers and content creators. The company's commitment to innovation and technology continues to shape the client computing landscape, providing users with powerful tools to fuel their digital endeavors.

AMD website  AMD LinkedIn

About IBM: IBM, or International Business Machines Corporation, is a globally American multinational technology company with a storied history dating back to its founding in 1911. Over the decades, IBM has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in the field of information technology. The company is known for its pioneering work in computer hardware, software, and services, with breakthroughs like the IBM System/360 and the invention of the relational database.

IBM website

About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

Intel website  Intel LinkedIn

About Microsoft: Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 in Redmond, Washington, USA, is a technology giant known for its wide range of software products, including the Windows operating system, Office productivity suite, and cloud services like Azure. Microsoft also manufactures hardware, such as the Surface line of laptops and tablets, Xbox gaming consoles, and accessories.

Microsoft website  Microsoft LinkedIn

About nVidia: NVIDIA has firmly established itself as a leader in the realm of client computing, continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation in graphics and AI technologies. With a deep commitment to enhancing user experiences, NVIDIA's client computing business focuses on delivering solutions that power everything from gaming and creative workloads to enterprise applications. for its GeForce graphics cards, the company has redefined high-performance gaming, setting industry standards for realistic visuals, fluid frame rates, and immersive experiences. Complementing its gaming expertise, NVIDIA's Quadro and NVIDIA RTX graphics cards cater to professionals in design, content creation, and scientific fields, enabling real-time ray tracing and AI-driven workflows that elevate productivity and creativity to unprecedented heights. By seamlessly integrating graphics, AI, and software, NVIDIA continues to shape the landscape of client computing, fostering innovation and immersive interactions in a rapidly evolving digital world.

nVidia website  nVidia LinkedIn

Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

EPYC: EPYC is a technology designed by computer chip manufacturer AMD for use in the server and data center industry. It was introduced in June 2017 and features an innovative design to improve performance and power efficiency. EPYC processor technology is based on an innovative 14nm processor architecture, allowing up to 32 high-performance cores in a single socket. This allows for more efficient processing power, increased memory bandwidth, and greater compute density. EPYC is now widely used in the data center and cloud computing industry and provides benefits such as greater scalability, increased resource efficiency, and advanced virtualization capabilities. Additionally, EPYC technology is used in data intensive servers like server farms, gaming, and virtualization platforms. EPYC ensures that even with large deployments in multi-processor environments, power consumption and performance levels are optimized to ensure maximum efficiency.

GPU: GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and is a specialized type of processor designed to handle graphics-intensive tasks. It is used in the computer industry to render images, videos, and 3D graphics. GPUs are used in gaming consoles, PCs, and mobile devices to provide a smooth and immersive gaming experience. They are also used in the medical field to create 3D models of organs and tissues, and in the automotive industry to create virtual prototypes of cars. GPUs are also used in the field of artificial intelligence to process large amounts of data and create complex models. GPUs are becoming increasingly important in the computer industry as they are able to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

Xeon: The Intel Xeon processor is a powerful and reliable processor used in many computer systems. It is a multi-core processor that is designed to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. It is used in servers, workstations, and high-end desktop computers. It is also used in many embedded systems, such as routers and switches. The Xeon processor is known for its high performance and scalability, making it a popular choice for many computer applications. It is also used in many cloud computing applications, as it is capable of handling large amounts of data and providing high levels of performance. The Xeon processor is also used in many scientific and engineering applications, as it is capable of handling complex calculations and simulations.

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