Nvidia aims to build UK's most powerful supercomputer by end of 2020
Last month, Nvidia announced that it was going to build an Arm-based supercomputer in a new research center in Cambridge, UK. Now the company has revealed that it's also building the UK's most powerful supercomputer at the site, which is being made available for healthcare researchers.
Cambridge-1 is expected to be up and running by the end of 2020, and will deliver more than 400 petaflops of AI performance (one petaflop accounts for a quadrillion floating point operations per second) and eight petaflops of Linpack performance.
Nividia says that this would rank the system at number 29 in the list of the world's most powerful supercomputers, while also putting it in the top three most energy-efficient supercomputers.
Nvidia announced that it was acquiring Brit semiconductor and software designer Arm last month, and would be setting up an AI Center of Excellence as part of the deal. As the project moves forward, the new Nvidia supercomputer is expected to take up residence there, and will be joined by more supercomputers in the future.
Nvidia is investing about £40 million (US$51.7 million) in the supercomputer, with the 80 DGX A100 systems connected by Mellanox InfiniBand networking technology expected to be installed and operational in just a few weeks, rather than the years it can take to get some supercomputers up and running.
The Cambridge-1 is being designed to support the work of healthcare and life science researchers, and will be the first Nvidia supercomputer developed for external research access. It will allow researchers and academics to "tackle some of the most challenging AI training, inference and data science workloads at scale."
"Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare requires massively powerful computing resources to harness the capabilities of AI," said Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang. "The Cambridge-1 supercomputer will serve as a hub of innovation for the UK, and further the groundbreaking work being done by the nation’s researchers in critical healthcare and drug discovery."
GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca will be among the first pharmaceutical companies to make use of the new supercomputer, with researchers from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies also lining up to make use of its computational power.
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