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by Staff reporter
04 July 2023
Scottish university installs AI supercomputer for pioneering medicines research

Scottish university installs AI supercomputer for pioneering medicines research

The University of Strathclyde has become the first in the UK to install a new supercomputer which will allow scientists to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help develop new medicines.

The university’s Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation (CMAC) medicines research centre has installed a new NVIDIA DGX H100, which it described as a “ground-breaking” platform that would enable the next wave of AI research and development.

“This investment demonstrates our commitment to drive the digital transformation of CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control) processes for medicines development and manufacture,” said Professor Alastair Florence, CMAC director.

He added: “This ground-breaking infrastructure will allow us to work with our partners to develop novel AI solutions that will help us to produce new medicines more quickly, more affordably and with greater resilience of supply.”

AI is seen as a key tool for accelerating drug development, with the new platform set to transform the way researchers at the university carry out their work.

Using autonomous robotic platforms driven by hybrid AI and physics-based models, it is hoped the technology can revolutionise drug development and manufacturing. The supercomputer will dramatically enhance computational capabilities, allowing for scientific exploration at unprecedented speed.  

Professor Blair Johnston, associate director CMAC, Data Management and Infrastructure, said:  “From novel ChatGPT-like large language models for medicines manufacturing to real-time imaging applications deployed at the edge on our advanced manufacturing process lines, NVIDIA DGX H100 will allow us to advance research challenges previously beyond accessible computational capabilities.

“Working collaboratively with NVIDIA’s experts and pharma partners we are in a strong position to further accelerate the impact of CMAC’s portfolio of industrial digital technology research on medicines development in the coming years.”

CMAC’s medicines manufacturing research strategy is co-created with Tier 1 and 2 industry partners and this ground-breaking new capability, alongside the ongoing project collaboration with NVIDIA, their Elite Solution Partner Scan and their team of AI and immersive technology experts and data scientists, will allow us to accelerate the development of cutting-edge AI solutions.

In the coming weeks CMAC will showcase applications that leverage DGX H100 as it launches its AI and machine learning grand challenges for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

Prof Florence added: “Our research must not cost the Earth and I am delighted that this investment has been made possible through our UK RPIF Net Zero pilot that allows us to continue to invest in world-class, resource-efficient digital infrastructure that will extend our capabilities and accelerate progress whilst minimising carbon emissions from our research and training activities.”

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