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University of Edinburgh to lead new Exascale supercomputer

The service will benefit major research and industry projects across the UK.

The UK government has announced that the University of Edinburgh will be the preferred location for the first phase of the new Exascale supercomputer.

Once operational, the supercomputer will provide high-performance computing capabilities for major research and industry projects across the UK.

The new service is supported by the Spring Budget as part of a £900m investment, as previously announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and is a key component of the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) digital research infrastructure strategy.

The Exascale supercomputers, which can perform a billion calculations every second, will be used to create computer models to test theories, explore ideas and optimise designs.

With applications that span across areas of scientific and industrial research, the supercomputer will act as a platform for interdisciplinary research and innovation, including drug discovery, designing new materials and weather and climate prediction.

Additionally, the new service will support other programmes and projects across the UKRI’s digital research infrastructure and compute portfolio to help researchers, policymakers and innovators resolve issues and analyse and understand complex topics.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive officer of UKRI, said: “State-of-the-art compute infrastructure is critical to unlocking advances in research and innovation.

“This next phase of investment… will help to keep the UK at the forefront of emerging technologies and facilitate the collaborations needed to explore and develop game-changing insights across disciplines.”

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Exascale’s power will help all who work with it to untangle some of the world’s knottiest problems, ensure the UK is prepared for the data-driven future, and further establish Edinburgh as the data capital of Europe.”

The new service will be delivered by the UKRI, with delivery subject to full business case approval.

The installation of the first part of the system will take place in 2025.