The Future of Compute

Independent Review by a UK Expert Panel: “…Compute is a material part of modern life. It is among the critical technologies lying behind innovation, economic growth and scientific discoveries. Compute improves our everyday lives. It underpins all the tools, services and information we hold on our handheld devices – from search engines and social media, to streaming services and accurate weather forecasts. This technology may be invisible to the public, but life today would be very different without it.

Sectors across the UK economy, both new and old, are increasingly reliant upon compute. By leveraging the capability that compute provides, businesses of all sizes can extract value from the enormous quantity of data created every day; reduce the cost and time required for research and development (R&D); improve product design; accelerate decision making processes; and increase overall efficiency. Compute also enables advancements in transformative technologies, such as AI, which themselves lead to the creation of value and innovation across the economy. This all translates into higher productivity and profitability for businesses and robust economic growth for the UK as a whole.

Compute powers modelling, simulations, data analysis and scenario planning, and thereby enables researchers to develop new drugs; find new energy sources; discover new materials; mitigate the effects of climate change; and model the spread of pandemics. Compute is required to tackle many of today’s global challenges and brings invaluable benefits to our society.

Compute’s effects on society and the economy have already been and, crucially, will continue to be transformative. The scale of compute capabilities keeps accelerating at pace. The performance of the world’s fastest compute has grown by a factor of 626 since 2010. The compute requirements of the largest machine learning models has grown 10 billion times over the last 10 years. We expect compute demand to significantly grow as compute capability continues to increase. Technology today operates very differently to 10 years ago and, in a decade’s time, it will have changed once again.

Yet, despite compute’s value to the economy and society, the UK lacks a long-term vision for compute…(More)”.