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07 July 2021

UK's most powerful supercomputer launched to accelerate research in AI and healthcare

NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1, the UK’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to healthcare and life sciences research, has been launched today with key partners including King’s College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

NVIDIA Cambridge-1 supercomputer

Cambridge-1 is NVIDIA’s first supercomputer that has been designed and built for external research access. It enables scientists and healthcare experts to use the powerful combination of AI and simulation to carry out groundbreaking research to the benefit of patients.

As founding partners of Cambridge-1, King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are using the supercomputer to teach AI models to generate synthetic brain images by learning from tens of thousands of MRI brain scans, from patients of various ages and with different medical conditions.

By producing an infinite amount of never-seen brain images with specific characteristics, this synthetic data model will enable a more nuanced understanding of what diseases such as dementia, stroke, brain cancer and multiple sclerosis look like, potentially leading to earlier and more accurate diagnosis.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin, Head of the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London said: “Having a partnership in place between a large company like NVIDIA and the NHS will help to solve two major issues: access to data and access to power.”

Through this partnership, we will be able to use a scale of computational power that is unprecedented in healthcare research. It will be truly transformational for the health and treatment of patients.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin, Head of the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London

Carried out in close collaboration with the NHS and the UK Biobank, one of the richest biomedical databases in the world, the research leverages several of the UK’s world-leading healthcare resources. King’s will share the synthetic data model with the research and startup community.

“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 prioritise patients according to clinical need,” said Professor Ian Abbs, Chief Executive Officer of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

“We are excited about our involvement in the Cambridge-1 data centre as it will enable us to be amongst the first to benefit from these new AI capabilities — using the very latest technology to benefit our patients, as well as manage precious resources more efficiently.”

Cambridge-1 represents a $100 million investment for NVIDIA. In addition to King’s College London & Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, launch partners include AstraZeneca, GSK and Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

NVIDIA will collaborate with researchers to make much of the work available to the greater scientific community.

Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA said: “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 UK. The discoveries developed on Cambridge-1 will take shape in the UK, but the impact will be global, driving groundbreaking research that has the potential to benefit millions around the world.”

The Cambridge-1 inauguration event can be watched on YouTube. More information about the supercomputer can be found on the NVIDIA website.

In this story

Sebastien Ourselin

Professor of Healthcare Engineering