UK reportedly looking at building £800m supercomputer

The UK could be looking to build a £800m supercomputer according to reports about ambitions from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

It is being reported that Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has begun reviewing proposals for the idea, which would look to rival tech currently owned by global superpowers such as the USA, which currently owns the world’s most expensive supercomputer named Frontier. 

The machine would supposedly be built by British firms using systems from the UK though it is not clear which companies could take on the task. 

brown wooden hallway with gray metal doors

According to Bloomberg, talks between the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and the Treasury are currently ongoing around the idea though sources said that it was unlikely there would be a resolution in time for the upcoming annual budget. 

Supercomputers are used by government’s around the world as part of military and scientific applications such as climate and geology modelling and processing new breakthroughs in tech such as AI. 

Currently, the UK’s most advanced supercomputer is the £79m ARCHER2 which was funded by the government and was turned on in November 2021, it is used by researchers and scientists across the country to discover more about issues such as the efficiency of windfarms. 

In addition, British startup Graphcore is also working on a $120m ‘Good Computer’, named after pioneering code breaker Jack Good, which it claims will be the first ultra-intelligence AI computer when it launches in 2024. 

Reports come after the newly launched DSIT revealed a ten point framework to place the UK as a global tech superpower by 2030. Whilst the supercomputer was not listed in the framework, investment into emerging technologies such as quantum tech and AI were a major part of the government’s plans. 

Though the supercomputer idea is reportedly moving along in early development, reporting also notes that the funding still needs to be signed off by the Chancellor and Treasury department.

Photo by İsmail Enes Ayhan


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