NVIDIA launches UK’s most powerful supercomputer to support medical breakthroughs
Nvidia has opened what it claims is the fastest UK supercomputer to outside researchers that include both academic scientists and commercial firms who will be able to use it to accelerate research into preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases.
Dedicated to advancing healthcare, Cambridge-1 represents a $100 million investment by Nvidia, and the move is among a number of steps Nvidia is taking to show a commitment to the United Kingdom as it works to complete its $40 billion acquisition of Arm from Japan’s SoftBank. Nvidia said that it is offering use of the system for free and it will use what it learns running the system to improve its future healthcare-specific products.
Its first projects with AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies include developing a deeper understanding of brain diseases like dementia, using AI to design new drugs and improving the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in human genomes.
King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are using Cambridge-1 to teach AI models to generate synthetic brain images by learning from tens of thousands of MRI brain scans, from various ages and diseases. The goal is to use this synthetic data model to gain a better understanding of diseases like dementia, stroke, brain cancer and multiple sclerosis and enable earlier diagnosis and treatment.
As this AI synthetic brain model can generate an infinite amount of never-seen brain images with chosen characteristics (age, disease, etc.), it will allow a better and more nuanced understanding of what diseases look like, possibly enabling an earlier and more accurate diagnosis.
“Through this partnership, we will be able to use a scale of computational power that is unprecedented in healthcare research,” said Professor Sebastien Ourselin, head of the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London. “It will be truly transformational for the health and treatment of patients.”
“The power of artificial intelligence in healthcare will help to speed up diagnosis for patients, improve services such as breast cancer screening, and support the way that we risk assess and prioritize patients according to clinical need,” said Professor Ian Abbs, chief executive officer of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
“Cambridge-1 will empower world-leading researchers in business and academia with the ability to perform their life’s work on the U.K.’s most powerful supercomputer, unlocking clues to disease and treatments at a scale and speed previously impossible in the U.K.,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia. “The discoveries developed on Cambridge-1 will take shape in the U.K., but the impact will be global, driving groundbreaking research that has the potential to benefit millions around the world.”
Cambridge-1 features 80 DGX A100 systems integrating Nvidia A100 GPUs, BlueField-2 DPUs and Nvidia HDR InfiniBand networking, and is able to deliver more than 400 petaflops of AI performance and 8 petaflops of Linpack performance. The system is located at a facility operated by Nvidia partner Kao Data.
Cambridge-1 is the first supercomputer Nvidia has dedicated to advancing industry-specific research in the UK. The company also intends to build an AI Center for Excellence in Cambridge featuring a new Arm-based supercomputer, which will support more industries across the country.