UK Sets Aside £225 Million To Build Isambard-AI Supercomputer

The UK government plans to invest £225 million to build the most powerful supercomputer, “Ismabard-AI,”  ever. The University of Bristol will house this supercomputer, which will have 200 petaflops of double-precision performance, and Nvidia will provide the core computing components. However, the details were shared at the AI Safety Summit held on Wednesday in the UK. Mr. Simon McIntosh-Smith, director of the Isambard National Research Facility, stated that “Isambard-AI represents a huge leap forward for AI computational power in the UK.” Furthermore, he noted that the Isambard-AI could be one of the top ten supercomputers in the world today. However, once it is operational in 2024, it will be the most powerful AI system for open science worldwide. 

The Ismabard-AI will be public next year, and the organizations will be able to use it. For example, it will assist them in researching everything from drug discovery and climate change to neural network applications in big data, robotics, and national security.

Top 10 Supercomputers—Isambard-AI:


Archer 2, the fastest supercomputer in the United Kingdom, ranks 30th among the top 500 supercomputers. However, Archer2 has a theoretical peak speed of 26 petaFLOPS and benchmarks at 20 petaFLOPS. This makes the Ismabard-AI ten times faster than other supercomputers in the UK. Top 10 supercomputers available to date:

  1. Frontier Speed: 1,194 petaFLOPS
  2. Fugaku Speed: 442 petaFLOPS
  3. LUMI Speed: 309.10 petaFLOPS
  4. Leonardo Speed: 238.70 petaFLOPS
  5. Summit Speed: 148.6 petaFLOPS
  6. Sierra Speed: 94.6 petaFLOPS
  7. Sunway TaihuLight Speed: 93 petaFLOPS
  8. Perlmutter Speed: 70.87 petaFLOPS
  9. Selene Speed: 63.46 petaFLOPS
  10. Tianhe-2A Speed: 61.4 petaFLOPS

University of Bristol, Isambard-AI:


According to sources from the University of Bristol, Isambard-AI will house 5,448 Nvidia GH200 GraceHopper Superchips. Additionally, Nvidia’s GH200 will connect a 72-core Arm Grace CPU and Hopper GPU via a 900GB/s NVLink-C2C interconnect. Depending on the configuration, each Superchip will include up to 480GB of LPDDR5x memory, whether 96GB or 144GB of high-bandwidth memory. The chips will be integrated into an HPE Cray liquid-cooled chassis. Furthermore, it is networked with the manufacturer’s custom Slingshot 11 interconnect and is backed up by nearly 25 petabytes of storage. However, the system will be entirely housed in a self-contained and self-colled datacenter at the National Composites Center (NCC) in Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Bottom Line:

The UK is all set to invest £225 million, which is approximately $273 million, to create the world’s most powerful supercomputer. The Isambard-AI will hit the market in the coming year; it will be one of the most powerful supercomputers in the UK ever. To learn more about supercomputers and technology-trending ideas, keep following Blogging Hut.

FAQs about Isambard-AI:

Q1. What is Isambard-AI, and where will it be located?

It is the most powerful supercomputer in the UK, with 200 petaFLOPS of double-precision performance. It will be located at the University of Bristol in a self-contained and self-cooled data center at the National Composites Center (NCC) in Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Q2. When will Isambard-AI become operational and available for use?

It will be operational in 2024. It will be open for use by various organizations for research purposes.

Q3. What components make up the Isambard-AI supercomputer?

Isambard-AI will consist of 5,448 Nvidia GH200 GraceHopper Superchips, a 72-core Arm Grace CPU, Hopper GPU, and 900GB/s NVLink-C2C interconnect. 

Q5. What research areas and applications will benefit from Isambard-AI?

Isambard-AI will support research in various fields, including drug discovery, climate change, neural network applications in big data, robotics, and national security. It will be a valuable resource for advancing AI-driven research and applications.

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