UK To Invest 900 Million Pounds In Supercomputer In Bid To Build Own ‘BritGPT’
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The UK government is to invest 900 million pounds in a cutting-edge supercomputer as part of an artificial intelligence strategy that includes ensuring the country can build its own “BritGPT”. The treasury outlined plans to spend around 900 million pounds on building an exascale computer, which would be several times more powerful than the UK’s biggest computers, and establishing a new AI research body. An exascale computer can be used for training complex AI models, but also have other uses across science, industry and defense, including modeling weather forecasts and climate projections. The Treasury said the investment will “allow researchers to better understand climate change, power the discovery of new drugs and maximize our potential in AI.”.

An exascale computer is one that can carry out more than one billion billion simple calculations a second, a metric known as an “exaflops”. Only one such machine is known to exist, Frontier, which is housed at America’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and used for scientific research — although supercomputers have such important military applications that it may be the case that others already exist but are not acknowledged by their owners. Frontier, which cost about 500 million pounds to produce and came online in 2022, is more than twice as powerful as the next fastest machine.

The Treasury said it would award a 1 million-pound prize every year for the next 10 years to the most groundbreaking AI research. The award will be called the Manchester Prize, in memory of the so-called Manchester Baby, a forerunner of the modern computer built at the University of Manchester in 1948. The government will also invest 2.5 billion pounds over the next decade in quantum technologies. Quantum computing is based on quantum physics — which looks at how the subatomic particles that make up the universe work — and quantum computers are capable of computing their way through vast numbers of different outcomes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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