Inside NVIDIA Cambridge-1: Britain’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

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NVIDIA recently launched Cambridge-1, a supercomputer designed and built for external research access. The American multinational tech company claims it is the UK’s most powerful supercomputer. It is designed to make the use of AI available to UK health researchers to solve pressing medical challenges, including the ongoing pandemic.

In a press release, Jensen Huang, NVIDIA Founder and CEO, said Cambridge-1 will enable world leaders in business and academia to do their life’s work – uncovering clues about diseases and treatments – at a scale and speed that was previously not possible in Great Britain.

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NVIDIA invested $ 100 million to build this supercomputer.

Technology behind Cambridge-1

The AI ​​supercomputer brings together decades of NVIDIA work in the fields of AI, accelerated computing, and life sciences, with NVIDIA optimizing Clara (a health app framework for developing AI-powered imaging, genomics, and the use of smart sensors) and AI frameworks have been doing great research. Cambridge-1 is an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD supercomputing cluster and has 80 DGX A100 systems. DGX SuperPOD offers a turnkey full-stack AI data center solution with advanced computing power, network structure, storage and software tools.

In addition, Cambridge-1 integrates NVIDIA A100 GPUs, BlueField-2 DPUs, and NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand Networking, delivering more than 400 PetaFLOPS of AI performance and eight Petaflops of LINPACK performance. It will give researchers and academics the stability to handle demanding AI training, inference, and data science workloads on a large scale.

Source: NVIDIA

This launch comes right after NVIDIA introduced the new DGX SuperPOD – a cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer with 20 or more NVIDIA DGX A100 systems and NVIDIA InfiniBand HDR networks. While traditional supercomputers typically take years to deploy, the modular DGX SuperPOD architecture allows the system to be installed and operational in a matter of weeks.

Located in a facility operated by NVIDIA’s partner Kao Data, NVIDIA claims Cambridge-1 is one of the 50 fastest computers in the world. It is operated 100 percent with renewable energy.

Currently, AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford are using Nanopore Technologies Cambridge-1 to research, develop new drugs and improve the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in the human genome. King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust will use Cambridge-1 to train AI models to generate synthetic brain images and better understand dementia, stroke, brain cancer and multiple sclerosis. Working with AstraZeneca, Cambridge-1 will help create a transformer-based AI model of chemical structures that will enable researchers to leverage huge data sets with self-supervised training methods to drive faster drug discovery.

According to reports, the AI ​​supercomputer is set to create an estimated value of $ 825 million over the next decade.

Source: NVIDIA

See also

Cambridge-1 versus the rest

Compared to Cambridge-1, the world’s fastest supercomputer – Fugaku – reported an initial performance of Rmax of 416 PetaFLOPS in the FP64 high-performance LINPACK benchmark. However, after upgrading last year, Fugaku’s performance rose to an Rmax of 442 PetaFLOPS.

Pangea III – the world’s most powerful commercial supercomputer from IBM, has a computing power of 25 PetaFLOPS and a storage capacity of 50 Petabytes.

On the other hand, the upcoming supercomputer Aurora from Intel and Cray will have a computing power of 130 TeraFLOPS. Aurora will have nine thousand nodes, each consisting of two Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids processors, six Xe GPUs, and approximately 10 petabytes of memory. It is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Therefore, Cambridge-1 is expected to be ranked 29th on the Top500 supercomputers list and 3rd on the Green500 list based on the specifications currently available.

In the future, NVIDIA is also working on building an AI research center in Cambridge. Cambridge-1, which currently has an arm-based supercomputer, will be part of the competence center.


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Debolina Biswas

Debolina Biswas

After immersing herself deep in the Indian startup ecosystem, Debolina is now a technology journalist. When she’s not writing, she reads or plays with a brush and a spatula. She can be reached at [email protected]



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