Daily Management Review

After Bid To Purchase Britain’s ARM, Nvidia Promises To Build Largest Supercomputer Of UK


After Bid To Purchase Britain’s ARM, Nvidia Promises To Build Largest Supercomputer Of UK
After announcing its intention to acquire the British rival Arm for $40 billion a few weeks ago, United States based chipmaker Nvidia has now pledged to build a supercomputer in Cambridge, England for £40 million or $52 million.
The Nvidia founder and Chief Executive Jensen Huang unveiled the supercomputer – which has been named “Cambridge-1” and intended for conducting research in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care, at the company’s GTC 2020 conference on Monday.
“Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in health care requires massively powerful computing resources to harness the capabilities of AI,” Huang will say in his keynote. “The Cambridge-1 supercomputer will 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.”
Nvidia said that this proposed supercomputer will be the 29th most powerful computer in the world and the most powerful in Britain and is expected to be launched by the end of the year.
The supercomputer will be available for usage for the scientists and other researcher associated with the GSK, AstraZeneca, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore for exploring solutions for medical problems including those associated with the novel coronavirus.
“There are scientists that need a state-of-the-art computer and we are going to build one,” said Nvidia Vice President of Healthcare Kimberly Powell on a press call prior to the announcement and added that they’ll be able to do “large-scale research” that they otherwise “wouldn’t be able to do.”
Cambridge-1 will rank in the top three most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world and will be have 400 petaflops of “AI performance”, said Nvidia. A petaflop is a unit for measuring a computer’s processing speed.
“Accelerating drug discovery has never been so important” and that the investment can “make a real difference,” said Matt Hancock, Britain’s health minister.\
“Nvidia’s new supercomputer will aid the U.K.’s best and brightest to undertake research that will save lives,” said Hancock in a statement.
80 Nvidia systems that are connected together will power the supercomputer which can be set up in a matter of weeks,.
Cambridge-1 is “not a commercial endeavor”, Powell said when asked whether Nvidia expects to generate any revenue from Cambridge-1.
Only a limited role in managing the novel coronavirus pandemic has been so far played by AI. There has been little chatter from Facebook AI Research, and Microsoft or DeepMind and OpenAI, which have their own supercomputers, during the spread of the pandemic across the world even though there has been some successful applications in niche areas by those companies.
“This (pandemic) is showing what bulls--t most AI hype is,” said Neil Lawrence, the former director of machine learning at Amazon Cambridge, back in April. “It’s great and it will be useful one day but it’s not surprising in a pandemic that we fall back on tried and tested techniques.”
Cambridge-1 isn’t the only supercomputer Nvidia plans to build in Cambridge.