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Post: UK gov’t announces new $1.1B supercomputer and AI research facility



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The UK government has announced it will build a £900 million (US$1.1 billion) supercomputer, to drive the country’s AI research and innovation capabilities.

The supercomputer, dubbed Isambard-3 after the 19th century British civil and mechanical engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is set to be installed at the National Composites Centre in Bristol later this year. The University of Bristol is home to the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Interactive Artificial intelligence and is part of the GW4 group of universities — an alliance of research-intensive universities that also includes Bath, Cardiff and Exeter.

Bristol University will also host the new AI Research Resource (AIRR or Isambard-AI), a national facility to help support AI research and promote the safe use of the technology. Both the supercomputer and AIRR are financed by the by the AI investment announced the government announced in March.

The machine will be “made up of thousands of state of the art graphics processing units (GPUs)” making it “one of the most powerful in Europe,” according to a statement from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) in a statement on Wednesday.

“We are backing the future of British innovation, investing in a world-leading AI Research Resource in Bristol that will catalyse scientific discovery and keep the UK at the forefront of AI development,” said Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for Science, Innovation and Technology, in comments posted alongside the announcement.

“The Isambard-AI cluster will be one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, and will help industry experts and researchers harness the game-changing potential of AI, including through the mission-critical work of our Frontier AI Taskforce,” she said.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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