UK government launches new digital strategy

The Chancellor of the UK, Rishi Sunak, has launched a review into the country’s advanced computing capabilities at London Tech Week.

Led by AI expert Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, the Future of Compute Review will look at the UK’s compute needs and develop cost-effective solutions to ensure researchers and industry have what they need to lead the way and inform a long-term plan for the UK. It is being launched as part of the government’s new digital strategy.

During his opening address at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, Sunak hailed the UK’s tech sector as an “incredible, thriving ecosystem”, and said high-performance computers and cloud capabilities were vital for powering technologies of the future and would be critical for the UK’s productivity, prosperity and innovation.

Advanced compute – the large-scale processing power, memory and data storage that is used to tackle tasks beyond the capabilities of everyday computers – is an important component of the UK’s digital infrastructure and a building block for future capability.

Professor Ghahramani, who is vice president of research at Google and professor of information engineering at the University of Cambridge, said: “Advanced compute helps us model incredibly complex systems, such as what’s happening to the climate and how to stop the spread of pandemics. Advanced compute is fundamental to the UK’s national interest. This review will deliver a long term plan for UK compute, enabling government, business and academia to remain at the forefront of innovation and be prepared to fight the biggest challenges of this century. I am delighted to lead this review and look forward to bringing my industry and research experience to this important work.”

Nadine Dorries, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport of the UK, said: “We witnessed our most powerful computers speed up the development of vaccines during the pandemic. But all the data generated in the coming years will be meaningless without the capacity to process it. This review will ensure we have the advanced computing abilities to keep the UK at the forefront of the most complex science and cutting-edge tech to deliver major benefits for people and businesses.”