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by Sofia Villegas
09 October 2023
Edinburgh to host 'state-of-the-art' computing system

The facility will accelerate research on climate change and drug development

Edinburgh to host 'state-of-the-art' computing system

Edinburgh to host 'state-of-the-art' computing system

Edinburgh has been nominated to host a next generation computing system. 

The new national Exascale site - one of the top global computing systems - will be based at the University of Edinburgh, allowing researchers to accelerate their work on challenges such as climate science, AI and medicine.

By processing complex functions more effectively, the system has become the next stage in computing power, making it a “need” for the “UK to remain a global leader in scientific discovery and technology innovation”, said Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.

Besides enabling research, the facility would bring new high-skilled jobs to the Scottish capital and boost the national economy by improving productivity.

“This new UK Government Exascale computer in Edinburgh will provide British researchers with an ultra-fast, versatile resource to support pioneering work into AI safety, life-saving drugs, and clean low-carbon energy. 

“It is part of our £900m investment in uplifting the UK’s computing capacity, helping us forge a stronger Union, drive economic growth, create the high-skilled jobs of the future and unlock bold new discoveries that improve people's lives,” Donelan added. 

The new system will be 50 times more powerful than the current facility ARCHER2 - which is in Edinburgh.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said: “We have already seen the vital work being carried out by ARCHER2 in Edinburgh and this new Exascale system, backed by the UK Government, will keep Scotland at the forefront of science and innovation.”

The announcement comes after recent news that Bristol will also host a new AI supercomputer - amongst the most powerful in Europe. Part of the national AI Research Resource, the cluster will support work around the safe use of the technology.

UK research and innovation chief executive Ottoline Leyser said: “State-of-the-art computer infrastructure is critical to unlock advances in research and innovation, with diverse applications from drug design through to energy security and extreme weather modelling, benefiting communities across the UK.”

Both systems will help meet the needs outlined in the Independent Review into the Future of Compute - a report of the UK’s computing needs over the next decade.

The new facilities also arrive before the first-ever global AI Safety Summit, set to take place in Bletchley Park next month. The event will have sector representatives from all over the world to discuss how to manage the advances in the sector. 

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