Dave Burrows, Economic Development Advisor to the Innovation Core, tells us about Harlow’s exciting new resident, the UK’s largest Supercomputer – Cambridge-1.

The Innovation Core is the central part of the UK Innovation Corridor, situated midway between London and Cambridge, encompassing Harlow, Broxbourne, East Herts, Epping, and Uttlesford districts.

Dave BurrowsMedtech and Digital Health have been identified as a key investment opportunity for the Innovation Core within the broader Life Sciences offer of the UK Innovation Corridor, considering the regional intersection of Advanced Manufacturing, ICT, and Life Sciences.

Taking advantage of all this opportunity, US chip and technology company, NVIDIA, have just announced that they will site their powerful new supercomputer in Harlow. This momentous project is to be located on Kao Park, the same park where Sir Charles Kao and George Hockham invented  fibre optic technology  in 1966, and is therefore of tremendous importance for Harlow and the broader Innovation Core and UK Innovation Corridor.

The project strengthens the local ICT sector and in particular boosts the credentials of the Kao Data Centre as a hub for big data processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Cambridge-1 will be ranked the world’s 29th most powerful supercomputer and the most powerful in the U.K., according to Nvidia. For the Innovation Core, however, the most exciting aspect of this project regards the purposes for which this supercomputer will be used.

Business Weekly reported that the supercomputer will be used for AI-powered drug discovery and analysis of NHS datasets.  Jensen Huang, Chief Executive of Nvidia, said that Cambridge-1 will be available to healthcare researchers using artificial intelligence to work on urgent medical challenges:

“Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare requires massively powerful computing resources to harness the capabilities of AI.”

Kao Data Park exterior

Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are among those reported to have already signed up to use the supercomputer, demonstrating the capacity of Harlow and the Innovation Core to support advanced projects in Medtech, Digital Health and broader Life Sciences.

Harlow Innovation Park, formally known as Harlow Science Park, situated adjacent to Kao Park, is currently completing construction on a number of additional units, ready to house companies and projects linked to these sectors. Anglia Ruskin University’s Arise Innovation Hub is aimed at health, wellbeing and performance companies and the Nexus building next door has even larger office space available while the new Modus units will be flexible mid-tech facilities adaptable to a variety of uses.

With the arrival of the new supercomputer, the appeal of Harlow for business looks set to go from strength to strength.

You can contact me at David.Burrows@harlow.gov.uk for further information on opportunities in the Innovation Core for Medtech and related Life Sciences projects.