Government, tech leaders and Cambridge University collaborate on UK’s fastest AI supercomputer

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The supercomputer, known as Dawn, is hosted in the Cambridge Open Zettascale Lab and is the fastest AI supercomputer deployed in the UK today.


A partnership between Dell, Intel, the University of Cambridge, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has resulted in phase one of the UK's fastest artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer being delivered.

The supercomputer, known as Dawn, is hosted in the Cambridge Open Zettascale Lab and is the fastest AI supercomputer deployed in the UK today. It will vastly increase the UK’s AI and simulation compute capacity for both fundamental research and industrial use. As a result, research discovery will be accelerated, driving growth within the UK knowledge economy. Dawn is expected to drive significant advancements in healthcare, green fusion energy development and climate modelling.

Dawn Phase 1 and the Isambard AI supercomputer at the University of Bristol will come together to form the AI Research Resource (AIRR), a UK national facility to help researchers maximise the potential of AI and support critical work into the potential and safe use of the technology.

Dr Paul Calleja, Director of Research Computing Services at the University of Cambridge, said: “Dawn Phase 1 represents a huge step forward in AI and simulation capability for the UK, deployed and ready to use now. Dawn was born from an innovative co-design partnership between University of Cambridge, UKAEA, Dell Technologies and Intel.

“The Phase 1 system plays an important role within a larger context, where this co-design activity is hoped to continue, aiming to deliver a Phase 2 supercomputer in 2024 which will boast 10 times the level of performance. If taken forward, Dawn Phase 2 would significantly boost the UK AI capability and continue this successful industry partnership.”

Professor Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero and the Institute of Computing for Climate Science, said: “The coupling of AI and simulation methods is a growing and increasingly essential part of climate research. It is central to data-driven predictions and equation discovery, both of which are at the fore in climate science.

“This incredible new resource – Dawn – at Cambridge will enable software engineers and researchers at the Institute of Computing for Climate Science to accelerate their work helping to address the global challenges associated with climate change.”


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