UK Looks to Join Exascale Club of Nations

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The U.K.’s growing supercomputing infrastructure may include exascale-class HPC within a few years. A Bloomberg report states that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government is considering a plan to budget £800 million for a new leadership-class system, whose inflation-adjusted costs would be in line with the cost of the $600 million Frontier exascale system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, currently ranked no. 1 in the world.

It’s part of a strategy to elevate the U.K. into a science superpower, reflective of the formation of the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology only last month by the Sunak government.

While the U.K. has expanded its HPC-AI-quantum infrastructure in recent decades, a story today from Data Center Dynamics reports that the country possesses less than 2 percent of the world’s computing capacity, according to a report submitted this week to Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, which also noted that the country does not have a top 25 system of the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

“This comes just days after a policy paper was published by the UK governmental Department for Science and Technology,” the publication reported, “announcing plans to make the nation a science and technology superpower by 2030, known as the UK Science and Technology Framework.”

The report submitted to Hunt included three top recommendations: a national supercomputing strategy that would unify the U.K.’s HPC infrastructure; immediate investments in exascale “so that we are not falling behind our peers”; add AI research capacity as part of the U.K. exascale strategy.

The news from the U.K. fits a growing trend among geopolitical players of viewing supercomputing as a critical area of competitive standing across scientific, business and national security fields.