AMD and Cray collaborate on world’s fastest supercomputer

Blog Post created by mark.papermaster Employee on May 7, 2019

Our strong momentum continues to grow! Last week, we celebrated a solid first quarter and our company’s 50th anniversary. Today , Lisa joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL ) Director Thomas Zacharia and Cray CEO Peter Ungaro to announce that AMD EPYCTM CPUs, Radeon Instinct GPUs, and Radeon Open Ecosystem (ROCm) and EPYC open source software will power what is expected to be the world’s fastest supercomputer, called “Frontier.”


ORNL’s Frontier supercomputer aims to deliver more than 1.5 exaflops of performance. That level of performance exceeds the combined performance of today’s 160 fastest supercomputers! Scheduled to be online in 2021, the Frontier system will allow researchers to advance science in such applications as systems biology, materials science, energy production, additive manufacturing and health data science. Visit the Frontier website  to learn more about the areas of exploration.


AMD is delighted to partner with the DOE, Cray and ORNL to push the frontiers of HPC and lead the industry into the exascale era. This is one of the finest examples of a public and private partnership. AMD has a long history of working on HPC and is a strong partner for ORNL and DOE. In 2012, the DOE started a series of programs to push research that would enable future exascale compute systems. As part of this, AMD Research collaborated on FastForward, DesignForward, and PathForward – DOE programs that include public/private partnerships focused on key areas of chip, system, and software development to push the boundaries of high-performance computing. As the collaboration progressed, it evolved from research to product development, with exascale technologies incorporated into both our EPYC CPUs and Radeon Instinct GPUs for the datacenter. This partnership and shared vision around exascale computing drove our selection as the CPU and GPU provider for the Frontier project. We are incredibly excited to be a part of this program.

At the heart of the Frontier system is a future AI and HPC optimized AMD EPYC processor and a purpose-built AMD Radeon Instinct GPU in a 4:1 GPU to CPU configuration. The Radeon Instinct GPU also contains high-bandwidth memory allowing it to achieve very high throughput of data, while keeping power low and saving space. AMD’s Infinity Fabric will support high-speed connections between processors. The joint optimization of all these elements together enables us to hit this historic performance in each node of the system. Cray’s Slingshot scalable interconnect will handle the complex processing and communication of HPC and AI applications between nodes and between cabinets. The Frontier system will be supported by an enhanced version of AMD’s ROCm programming environment for AMD CPUs and GPUs.


Our strategy at AMD is about enabling high performance computing and we have an incredibly strong CPU and GPU roadmap, now more than ever optimized together. We believe supercomputing is at the forefront of the computer architecture innovation. Technology that is driving systems like Frontier is re-defining the standard for future high-performance datacenters.


Thank you to the thousands of dedicated employees who had a hand in this project. The science that the Frontier system enables will help solve some of the world’s toughest and most important challenges. This is another very proud day for AMD and demonstrates to the world that we have the technologies, vision and talent to lead the high-performance computing industry forward.



Executive Vice President and  Chief Technology Officer



Senior Vice President and General Manager

Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Group