Rishi Sunak launches UK’s advanced computing review
- United Kingdom
Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Monday launched the UK's advanced computing review to work on a long-term plan for the country's large-scale processing power, memory and data storage needs.
The Indian-origin finance minister said the 'Future of Compute Review' will delve into the immense potential of the field, from tackling climate change to discovering new drugs. Laying out the plans at the London Tech Week summit, the Cabinet minister said the review will report later this year with recommendations for how to deliver the UK's computing needs for decades to come.
"From modelling the effects of climate change, to powering the discovery of new drugs and increasing business innovation, the capabilities of advanced compute are endless," said Sunak.
"The UK is a world leader in innovation and this review will help us maintain that position – as we embrace new technologies and the people that create them to drive forward our growth and productivity," he said.
In his address to the summit, the senior Cabinet minister pointed out that high-performance computers and cloud capabilities were vital for powering technologies of the future and would be critical for the UK's productivity, prosperity and innovation. Advanced compute refers to the large-scale processing power, memory and data storage that is used to tackle tasks beyond the capabilities of everyday computers. It is becoming essential to biology, chemistry, physics, and nearly every other area of research and can also increase business innovation by enhancing R&D and product design processes, driving economic growth and productivity. "We witnessed our most powerful computers speed up the development of vaccines during the pandemic. But all the data generated in the coming years will be meaningless without the capacity to process it," said UK Digital Secretary Nadine Dorris.
"This review will ensure we have the advanced computing abilities to keep the UK at the forefront of the most complex science and cutting edge tech to deliver major benefits for people and businesses," she said.
The 'Future of Compute Review' will be led by leading artificial intelligence (AI) expert Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge and Vice-President of Research at Google AI and Director of Google Brain.
"The UK's ability to do the hardest science, and help businesses be even more competitive, depends on more powerful computers. Advanced compute helps us model incredibly complex systems, such as what's happening to the climate and how to stop the spread of pandemics," Ghahramani said.
"Advanced compute is fundamental to the UK's national interest. This review will deliver a long term plan for UK compute, enabling government, business and academia to remain at the forefront of innovation and be prepared to fight the biggest challenges of this century," added the British Iranian expert.
The concept of the review, which falls within the UK government's new Digital Strategy, was first tabled by Sunak in his Budget statement earlier this year. It will be a part of the UK government's Integrated Review ambition to become a "Science and Technology Superpower".
The goals of the review will cover understanding the UK's compute needs over the next decade and developing cost-effective, future-forward solutions to ensure that research users and industry have internationally competitive access to compute.
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