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Kao Data to house UK’s fastest supercomputer – report

Written by Tue 12 Jan 2021

Cambridge-1 supercomputer won’t be located in Cambridge after all

A supercomputer developed by Nvidia that is expected to be the UK’s fastest when launched will be located at Kao Data’s data centre campus in Harlow, reports The Times.

The American chip company announced the Cambridge-1 supercomputer in October following its £29bn acquisition of UK chipmaker Arm.

At the time Nvidia said the supercomputer would be dedicated to AI research, boast 400 petaflops of AI performance, and be used by the likes of GSK, AstraZeneca, NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

Despite what the system’s name implies, the hardware supporting these organisations next-generation AI workloads will actually be located 40 miles south of Cambridge at Kao Data’s gargantuan 40MW co-location data centre campus in Essex.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will personally unveil the supercomputer when it goes live this year, The Times claimed.

Launched in 2018, Kao Data‘s Harlow campus predominantly serves the UK’s innovation corridor with advanced data centre infrastructure. It is OCP-ready, powered 100 percent by renewables, and claims a lean PUE rating of 1.2.

When Nvidia announced the record-breaking system, CEO Jensen Huang said it would ‘serve as a hub of innovation for the U.K., and further the groundbreaking work being done by the nation’s researchers in critical healthcare and drug discovery’.

“Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare requires massively powerful computing resources to harness the capabilities of AI,” he said.

The supercomputer is the meat on the bones of Nvidia’s pledge to invest in the UK following its multi-billion acquisition of Arm — a deal that the UK’s competition watchdog, just this week, announced it was launching an investigation into.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive at the Competition Markets Authority, said: “The chip technology industry is worth billions and critical to many of the products that we use most in our everyday lives.

“We will work closely with other competition authorities around the world to carefully consider the impact of the deal and ensure that it doesn’t ultimately result in consumers facing more expensive or lower quality products.”

Written by Tue 12 Jan 2021

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