The UK government has announced it will be investing £225m in an artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer, in the latest push to position itself as a global leader in AI. 

The Isambard-AI computer, which will be created by the University of Bristol, is said to be ten times faster than the UK’s current fastest machine. 

In the short-term, the UK government hopes to link the machine to another newly announced Cambridge supercomputer called Dawn. This powerful machine, which will be powered by over 1,000 Intel chips, has been built by Dell and StackPC. 

The two computers will be used by researchers to give them “30-times the capacity of the UK’s current largest public AI computing tools”. The machines will analyse advanced AI models to drive breakthroughs in clean energy and drug discovery, as well as test safety features. 

The AI supercomputer was announced alongside the UK’s AI Safety Summit, which welcomed over 100 representatives from academia, business and politics to discuss the threat of “Frontier AI”.

Frontier AI is defined by the UK government as “highly capable general-purpose AI models that can perform a wide variety of tasks and match or exceed the capabilities present in today’s most advanced models”.

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The two-day event saw 28 countries, from continents including Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as the EU, reach a world-first agreement to establish a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks posed by Frontier AI.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has regularly spoken of his intentions to make Britain the global centre for AI.

In June, the PM claimed he didn’t want the UK to just be the “intellectual home” of AI, but also the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation”.

However, with no actual AI regulation currently in place in the UK, some feel that the country is lagging on regulation. The EU’s landmark AI Act has provided tough rules and restrictions on the development of AI models.

“The EU and China have been the most active in envisaging regulatory frameworks and will likely set the standard for AI regulation over the next few years,” Laura Petrone, analyst at Globaldata, told Verdict.

Jordan Lawrence, co-founder and chief growth officer at open payments company Volt, told Verdict that Britain is poised to carve out a leading role in AI and AI safety.

“With a history rich in technological prowess, there’s every reason to believe the upcoming AI Safety Summit could be a pivotal moment in this journey,” Lawrence said.

Speaking on the UK AI Safety Summit, Lawrence said that “by fostering partnerships between academia, industry, and government, we can collectively advance AI safety research.”

The overall AI market will be worth $909bn by 2030 having grown at a compound annual rate of 35% between 2022 and 2030, according to research company GlobalData.

Speaking in GlobalData’s webinar Generative AI: A Game Changer for Businesses webinar, GlobalData research director Josep Bori said that generative AI is expected to remain the fastest-growing AI technology and will pose a threat to “every business across every sector”.