The University of Bristol is set to witness the birth of a groundbreaking supercomputer, Isambard-AI, backed by a significant £273 million investment from the UK government. This ambitious project, anticipated to be operational by the summer of 2024, will position the UK at the forefront of AI computing.
Isambard-AI aims to carve its niche among the most powerful AI supercomputers globally, boasting a core foundation of numerous Nvidia superchips. These superchips are poised to facilitate over 200 quadrillion calculations every second, making it a true juggernaut in the world of artificial intelligence.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HP), renowned for its laptops, will collaborate in the construction of this remarkable machine. Isambard-AI’s remarkable capabilities will be driven by a constellation of over 5000 Nvidia’s GH200 Grace Hopper Superchips, designed to harness a colossal 21 exaflops of AI performance. This translates to a staggering 21 quintillion floating-point operations per second, primarily dedicated to tasks like training large language models.
Isambard-AI’s prowess is not limited to its incredible computational abilities. It is anticipated to outperform the UK’s current fastest AI supercomputer by a factor of ten, a remarkable leap in performance. The supercomputer will be accommodated in an innovative self-cooled, self-contained data center, strategically located at Bristol’s National Composites Center.
What elevates the significance of Isambard AI is its capacity to integrate and cooperate with other supercomputers within the UK. Simon McIntosh-Smith, affiliated with the University of Bristol, envisions this collaboration as a stepping stone towards creating “one of the most powerful AI systems for open science anywhere in the world.”
This monumental endeavor was unveiled during the UK’s AI Safety Summit, which convened leaders from across the globe, including the United States. The summit’s central focus was to engage in discussions about the potential risks associated with AI and to strategize ways to mitigate these concerns.