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Supercomputer on Hunt for Medical Breakthroughs

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

The UK’s most powerful supercomputer, which its creators hope will make the process of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease better, faster and cheaper, is operational.

Christened Cambridge-1, the supercomputer represents a $100m investment by US-based computing company Nvidia. The idea capitalises on artificial intelligence (AI) - which combines big data with computer science to facilitate problem-solving - in healthcare.

The UK has already made strides with massive datasets such as the UK Biobank, which encompasses anonymised of medical and lifestyle records from half a million middle-aged Britons.

AI for healthcare is booming in the UK, with a range of startups and larger pharmaceutical companies mining the vast quantities of data available to discover potential drugs, pinpoint why some people are susceptible to certain diseases, and improve and personalise patient care.

Cambridge-1’s first projects will be with AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore. They will seek to develop a deeper understanding of diseases such as dementia, design new drugs, and improve the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in human genomes.


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