Bristol to host one of Europe's most powerful supercomputers

A new supercomputer set to be one of the most powerful in Europe is to be built in a move to drive AI research in the UK, the government says.

The University of Bristol will host the new AI Research Resource (AIRR).

The machine will "help researchers maximise the potential of AI" and the safe use of the technology, according to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

It will be named Isambard-AI after the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


Bristol already plays host to cutting-edge computing technology, with the Isambard 3 supercomputer due to be installed later this year to support research in AI and machine learning.

Prof Simon McIntosh-Smith, senior lecturer of high performance computing at the University of Bristol, said: "We're delighted to be chosen as the site to host the UK's first ever Artificial Intelligence Research Resource.

"Isambard-AI will be one of the world's first, large-scale, open AI supercomputers, and builds on our expertise designing and operating cutting-edge computational facilities, such as the incoming Isambard 3."

Both Isambard 3 and Isambard-AI will be based at the National Composites Centre, in collaboration with the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

Plans for the AIRR were announced in March, backed by a £900m government investment to transform the UK's computing capacity and establish a dedicated AI Research Resource.

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