ORNL’s Exascale-Class Data Center for Incoming Frontier Supercomputer

Source: Inside HPC | December 14, 2020

Oak Ridge National Laboratory issued the following today, an update by staff science writer Coury Turczyn, on progress made in the construction of a data center capable of supporting ORNL’s Frontier exascale system, scheduled for installation next year.

When the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) new exascale supercomputer, Frontier, completes installation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2021, it will debut as a landmark in high-performance computing with groundbreaking performance of greater than 1.5 exaflops (one quintillion floating-point operations per second). But right now—long before Frontier’s technological advances are made available to the world’s scientists—the room it will occupy is undergoing a complete mechanical, electrical, and structural transformation.

Frontier will reside in the former data center of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s (OLCF’s) Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer; once the most powerful supercomputer in the world, it was decommissioned after 7 years of service on August 1 last year. It took about a month for a team of HPE Cray technicians to dismantle 430,000 pounds’ worth of Titan components and remove them for recycling. Just days later, work began to revamp the 20,000-square-foot room to accommodate Frontier’s much higher requirements for power, cooling, and structural support. That meant everything in room E102 of Building 5600 had to be stripped out: piping, electrical infrastructure, even the floor.

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