UK’s Most Powerful Supercomputer, Cambridge-1, Targets Healthcare

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Nvidia’s Cambridge-1 is now the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, and will offer research capabilities for healthcare and AI

The UK has a brand new supercomputer that is being described as the most powerful supercomputer in the country.

Dubbed the Cambridge-1 supercomputer, it has been built by American GPU powerhouse Nvidia. The Cambridge-1 supercomputer however is based at a facility (i.e. a data centre) belonging to Harlow-based Kao Data, is a colocation provider in the UK.

Nvidia announced that Cambridge-1 is ene of World’s fastest AI supercomputers, and will available for UK researchers in digital biology, genomics, quantum computing and AI.

Cambridge-1 supercomputer

“Nvidia today officially launched Cambridge-1, the United Kingdom’s most powerful supercomputer, which will enable top scientists and healthcare experts to use the powerful combination of AI and simulation to accelerate the digital biology revolution and bolster the country’s world-leading life sciences industry,” said the firm.

The new machine is dedicated to advancing healthcare, and Cambridge-1 represents a $100 million investment by Nvidia.

It will first be used for projects with AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

Typical projects include developing a deeper understanding of brain diseases like dementia, using AI to design new drugs, and improving the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in human genomes.

It should be remembered that Nvidia that for a long time operated in the high performance computing (HPC) market, and in 2019 it acquired Israeli chipmaker Mellanox for $7 billion in order to bolster its processing and interconnect credentials for the HPC sector..

Renewable energy

Cambridge-1 ranks among the world’s top 50 fastest computers and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

“Cambridge-1 will empower world-leading researchers in business and academia with the ability to perform their life’s work on the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, unlocking clues to disease and treatments at a scale and speed previously impossible in the UK,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia.

“The discoveries developed on Cambridge-1 will take shape in the UK, but the impact will be global, driving groundbreaking research that has the potential to benefit millions around the world,” added Huang.

Nvidia said Cambridge-1 builds on the UK’s status as a global leader in life sciences, technology and AI by providing advanced infrastructure for current and future generations to carry out groundbreaking research within the country.

But what exactly is under the hood of Cambridge-1, which is apparently the first Nvidia supercomputer designed and built for external research access.

400 Petaflops

Well Cambridge-1 features 80 DGX A100 systems integrating Nvidia A100 GPUs, BlueField-2 DPUs and Nvidia HDR InfiniBand networking.

This means that Cambridge-1 is an Nvidia DGX SuperPOD that delivers more than 400 petaflops of AI performance and 8 petaflops of Linpack performance.


GPUs have become popular in high-performance computing as they help accelerate specialised workloads such as artificial intelligence, data anlalytics and big data visualisation.

A number of weather-forecast supercomputers around the world use Nvidia-based supercomputers, including the Spanish Meteorological Agency, the China Meteorological Administration, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, NASA and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Nvidia also intends to build an AI Center for Excellence in Cambridge, featuring a new Arm-based supercomputer, which will support more industries across the country.

In July last year Nvidia announced it had built an in-house supercomputer called Selene based on A100 GPUs.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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