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UK to build €1bn exascale AI supercomputer – by Nick Flaherty for EE News Europe – 16.03.23

The UK government has announced the scale of funding for the development of a supercomputer system for AI with around £900m ((€1bn).

The money will also be used to launch an AI sandbox to trial new, faster approaches to help innovators get cutting edge products to market and a prize of £1m every year, for the next ten years, to the person or team that does the most ground-breaking British AI research.

“The world’s first stored-programme computer was built at the University of Manchester in 1948, and was known as the “Manchester baby”. 75 years on, the baby has grown up, so I will call this new national AI award “the Manchester Prize” in its honour,” said Jeremy Hunt, UK finance minister.

“Because AI needs computing horsepower, I today commit around £900m of funding to implement the recommendations in the independent Future of Compute Review for an Exascale supercomputer,” he said.

This comes after a doubling of UK funding for quantum technology announced yesterday.

The UK had already been offered a supercomputer in Cambridge as part of Nvidia’s bid for ARM, which would have been based on US processors and GPUs. There are already supercomputer projects in the UK using ARM cores, and there are ARM-based high performance computing chips being developed in Europe for supercomputers.

French computing giant Atos is meant to be building an AI supercomputer in Warrington. Whether this will soak up the funding, or whether the UK supercomputer uses more local technologies remains to be seen.

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UK to build €1bn exascale AI supercomputer – by Nick Flaherty for EE News Europe – 16.03
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