The UK’s most powerful AI supercomputer will be built in Bristol.

£225m of government funding has been awarded to the University of Bristol and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to create Isambard-AI.

The funding injection, part of a £300m package to create a new national artificial intelligence research resource for the country – announced at the government’s AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park – aims to make the UK a world leader in AI.

Isambard-AI will be 10 times more powerful than the UK’s current fastest supercomputer and among the most powerful in the world when it opens at the National Composites Centre (NCC) in the summer of 2024.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will build and deliver the new system with the next generation HPE Cray EX supercomputers and over 5,000 state-of-the-art NVIDIA GH200 superchips. The advanced technologies and design will allow Isambard-AI to reach up to 200 quadrillion calculations per second.

The new Bristol facility will be used by a wide range of organisations from across the UK to harness the power of AI, which is already the main driver of emerging technologies such as training large language models, big data and robotics. The new supercomputing facility will also play a vital role in important areas such as accelerating automated drug discovery and climate research.

Isambard-AI will connect with a new supercomputer cluster at the University of Cambridge, called Dawn, which is being developed to offer additional capacity as part of the new national AIRR.

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Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith, Director of the Isambard National Research Facility at the University of Bristol, said: “Isambard-AI represents a huge leap forward for AI computational power in the UK. 

“Today Isambard-AI would rank within the top 10 fastest supercomputers in the world and, when in operation later in 2024, it will be one of the most powerful AI systems for open science anywhere.

“It’s immensely exciting to be at the forefront of the AI revolution and to partner with industry leaders HPE and NVIDIA to rapidly build and deploy large-scale research computing infrastructure to create one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. 

“Isambard-AI will offer capacity never seen before in the UK for researchers and industry to harness the huge potential of AI in fields such as robotics, big data, climate research and drug discovery.”

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