Frontier keeps top spot, but Aurora officially becomes the second exascale machine

The 63rd edition of the TOP500 reveals that Frontier has once again claimed the top spot, despite no longer being the only exascale machine on the list. Additionally, a new system has found its way into the Top 10.

The Frontier system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA remains the most powerful system on the list with an HPL score of 1.206 EFlop/s. The system has a total of 8,699,904 combined CPU and GPU cores, an HPE Cray EX architecture that combines 3rd Gen AMD EPYC CPUs optimized for HPC and AI with AMD Instinct MI250X accelerators, and it relies on Cray’s Slingshot 11 network for data transfer. On top of that, this machine has an impressive power efficiency rating of 52.93 GFlops/Watt – putting Frontier at the No. 13 spot on the GREEN500.

Also like the last list, the Aurora system at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in Illinois, USA, has claimed the No. 2 spot on the TOP500. Despite currently being commissioned and not fully complete, Aurora is now the second machine to officially break the exascale barrier with an HPL score of 1.012 EFlop/s – an improvement over the 585.34 PFlop/s score from the last list. This system is based on HPE Cray EX- Intel Exascale Computer Blade and uses Intel Xeon CPU Max series processors, Intel Data Center GPU Max Series accelerators, and a Slingshot-11 interconnect.

The Eagle system installed on the Microsoft Azure Cloud in the USA reclaimed the No. 3 spot that it achieved after its debut appearance on the previous list, and it remains the highest-ranking cloud system on the TOP500. This Microsoft NDv5 system has an HPL score of 561.2 PFlop/s and is based on Intel Xeon Platinum 8480C processors and NVIDIA H100 accelerators.

Fugaku also retained its No. 4 spot from the previous list, despite holding the No.1 spot from June 2020 until November 2021. Based in Kobe, Japan, Fugaku has an HPL score of 442 PFlop/s and it remains the highest-ranked system outside the USA.

The LUMI system at EuroHPC/CSC in Finland also remained in its spot at No. 5 with an HPL score of 380 PFlop/s. This machine is the largest system in Europe.

The only new system to find its way onto the Top 10 is the Alps machine at No. 6 from the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Switzerland. This system achieved an HPL score of 270 PFlop/s.

Here is a summary of the systems in the Top 10:

  • Frontier remains the No. 1 system in the TOP500. This HPE Cray EX system is the first US system with a performance exceeding one Exaflop/s. It is installed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, USA, where it is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE). It currently has achieved 1.206 Exaflop/s using 8,699,904 cores. The HPE Cray EX architecture combines 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ CPUs optimized for HPC and AI, with AMD Instinct™ 250X accelerators, and a Slingshot-11 interconnect.
  • Aurora is currently the No. 2 with an HPL score of 1.012 Exaflop/s. It is installed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, Illinois, USA, where it is also operated for the Department of Energy (DOE). This new Intel system is based on HPE Cray EX - Intel Exascale Compute Blades. It uses Intel Xeon CPU Max Series processors, Intel Data Center GPU Max Series accelerators, and a Slingshot-11 interconnect.
  • Eagle the No. 3 system is installed by Microsoft in its Azure cloud. This Microsoft NDv5 system is based on Xeon Platinum 8480C processors and NVIDIA H100 accelerators and achieved an HPL score of 561 Pflop/s.
  • Fugaku, the No. 4 system, is installed at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan. It has 7,630,848 cores which allowed it to achieve an HPL benchmark score of 442 Pflop/s. 
  • The LUMI system, another HPE Cray EX system installed at EuroHPC center at CSC in Finland is at the No. 5 with a performance of 380 Pflop/s. The European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) is pooling European resources to develop top-of-the-range Exascale supercomputers for processing big data. One of the pan-European pre-Exascale supercomputers, LUMI, is located in CSC’s data center in Kajaani, Finland.
  • The only new system in the TOP10 is Alps at No. 6 installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Switzerland. It is an HPE Cray EX254n system with NVIDIA Grace 72C and NVIDIA GH200 Superchip and a Slingshot-11 interconnect. It achieved 270 Pflops/s.
  • The No. 7 system Leonardo is installed at another EuroHPC site in CINECA, Italy. It is an Atos BullSequana XH2000 system with Xeon Platinum 8358 32C 2.6GHz as main processors, NVIDIA A100 SXM4 40 GB as accelerators, and Quad-rail NVIDIA HDR100 Infiniband as interconnect. It achieved a Linpack performance of 241.2 Pflop/s.
  • The MareNostrum 5 ACC system was remeasured and jumped in the ranking over the Summit system. It is now at No. 8 and installed at the EuroHPC/Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain. This BullSequana XH3000 system uses Xeon Platinum 8460Y processors with NVIDIA H100 and Infiniband NDR200. It achieved 175.3 Pflop/s HPL performance.
  • Summit, an IBM-built system at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, USA, is now listed at the No. 9 spot worldwide with a performance of 148.6 Pflop/s on the HPL benchmark. Summit has 4,356 nodes, each one housing two POWER9 CPUs with 22 cores each and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs each with 80 streaming multiprocessors (SM). The nodes are linked together with a Mellanox dual-rail EDR InfiniBand network.
  • The Eos system listed at No. 10 is a NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD based system at NVIDIA, USA. It is based on the  NVIDIA DGX H100 with Xeon Platinum 8480C processors,N VIDIA H100 accelerators, and Infiniband NDR400 and it achieves 121.4 Pflop/s.


Other TOP500 Highlights

The 63rd edition of the TOP500 once again shows that Intel, AMD, and IBM processors are the preferred choices for the top HPC systems. Out of the Top 10, five systems use Intel Xeon processors (Aurora, Eagle, Leonardo, MareNostrum 5 ACC, and Eos NVIDIA DGX SuperPod), two use AMD processors (Frontier and LUMI) and one system uses IBM processors (Summit). While Fugaku continues to use the A64FX processor, a new development comes from the Alps machine. This system uses an NVIDIA Grace 72C processor.

Once again, China and the United States were the specific countries that earned most of the entries on the entire TOP500 list. The United States added 7 systems over the previous list, bringing its total number of systems to 168. China once again dropped its number of representative machines on the list from 104 to 80 systems. In fact, China did not report a single new machine for this new list.

However, the 63rd edition of the TOP500 shows an upset in terms of representation from entire continents. North America kept the top spot by increasing from 160 machines on the previous list to 171 on this list, but Asia dropped from 169 machines to 148. Europe, on the other hand, increased from 143 systems to 160, officially overtaking Asia and putting Europe in second place behind North America.

GREEN500 Results

This edition of the GREEN500 saw a major shakeup, as all of the Top 3 machines are new to the list.

The No. 1 spot on the GREEN500 was claimed by JEDI - JUPITER Exascale Development Instrument, a new system from EuroHPC/FZJ in Germany. Taking the No. 190 spot on the TOP500, JEDI achieved an energy efficiency rating of 72.73 GFlops/Watt while producing an HPL score of 4.5 PFlop/s. JEDI is a BullSequana XH3000 machine with a Grace Hopper Superchip 72C. It has 19,584 total cores.

The Isambard-AI machine out of the University of Bristol in the U.K. claimed the No. 2 spot with an energy efficiency rating of 68.83 GFlops/Watt and an HPL score of 7.42 PFLop/s. Isambard-AI achieved the No. 129 spot on the TOP500 and has 34,272 total cores.

The No. 3 spot was claimed by the Helios system from Cyfronet out of Poland. The machine achieved an energy efficiency score of 66.95 GFlops/Watt and an HPL score of 19.14 PFlop/s.

Like the last list, the Frontier system deserves an honorable mention when discussing energy efficiency. Frontier achieved an exascale HPL score of 1.206 EFlop/s while also earning an energy efficiency score of 56.97 GFlops/Watt. This places the system at No. 11 on the GREEN500 in addition to its No. 1 spot on the TOP500.

HPCG Results

The TOP500 list has incorporated the High-Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG) benchmark results, which provide an alternative metric for assessing supercomputer performance. This score is meant to complement the HPL measurement to give a fuller understanding of the machine.

Supercomputer Fugaku is the leader on the HPCG benchmark with an impressive score of 16 HPCG-PFlop/s.

Frontier came in second with a score of 14.1 HPCG-PFlop/s.

Aurora came in third with a score of 5.6 HPCG-PFlop/s. However, it is important to note that Aurora only used about 40% of its nodes for the HPCG run. The Aurora team plans to get a full system run for the next TOP500 list.

HPL-MxP Results (Formerly HPL-AI)

The HPL-MxP benchmark seeks to highlight the use of mixed precision computations.  Traditional HPC uses 64-bit floating point computations. Today, we see hardware with various levels of floating-point precisions – 32-bit, 16-bit, and even 8-bit. The HPL-MxP benchmark demonstrates that by using mixed precision during computation, much higher performance is possible. By using mathematical techniques, the same accuracy can be computed with a mixed-precision technique when compared with straight 64-bit precision.

This year’s winner of the HPL-MxP category is the Aurora system with 10.6 EFlop/s. Frontier has been pushed from the top spot on the last list to the No. 2 spot with a score of 10.2 EFlop/s, and LUMI is now in third place with a score of 2.35 EFlop/s.

About the TOP500 List

The first version of what became today’s TOP500 list started as an exercise for a small conference in Germany in June 1993. A second version of the list was compiled in November 1993 for the SC93 conference. Comparing both editions to see how things had changed the authors realized how valuable this information was and continued to compile statistics about the market for HPC systems based on it. The TOP500 is now a much-anticipated, much-watched and much-debated twice-yearly event.