NVIDIA to build the UK’s most powerful supercomputer for health research

NVIDIA has announced the construction of the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, which it will make available to UK health researchers using AI to solve pressing medical challenges, including those presented by COVID-19.

NVIDIA’s new supercomputer, called Cambridge-1, is expected to rank 29th on the latest TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, the company explained in a statement. It will also rank among the world’s top 3 most energy-efficient supercomputers on the current Green500 list.

In terms of performance, the Cambridge-1 will be capable of delivering more than 400 petaflops of AI performance and 8 petaflops of Linpack performance. Besides, the modular DGX SuperPOD architecture enables the system to be installed and operational in as little as a few weeks.

The supercomputer runs on 80 NVIDIA DGX A100 systems connected by NVIDIA Mellanox InfiniBand networking. This would give researchers and academics the ability to tackle some of the most challenging AI training, inference, and data science workloads at scale. The California-based company will invest £40 million (Approx. $52 million) in the construction of Cambridge-1. It would be available by the end of 2020.

Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare requires massively powerful computing resources to harness the capabilities of AI,” said Jensen Huang, founder, and CEO of NVIDIA, in his GPU Technology Conference keynote. “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.”

Major drug companies and other plans to use the new supercomputer for individual and joint projects, including those related to vaccines. NVIDIA said it would help researchers take full advantage of NVIDIA Clara Discovery, a suite of cutting-edge tools optimized for NVIDIA DGX that combines the power of imaging, radiology, and genomics to develop AI applications for the largest health computing tasks.

GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) and AstraZeneca were among the first pharmaceutical companies to use Cambridge-1 for research. Researchers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the team at King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies also plan to take advantage of this system.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, “Accelerating drug discovery has never been so important, and it is investments like this that can make a real difference in our fight against countless diseases. I care about technology because I care about people, and NVIDIA’s new supercomputer will aid the UK’s best and brightest to undertake research that will save lives.

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