A fragmented public computing infrastructure that needs some serious interventions and a more comprehensive – and cohesive – long-term vision is how experts described the United Kingdom’s current public computing infrastructure in the country’s most recent Future of Compute review.
Indeed, if the country is unable to address the most pressing issues, it will end up struggling to establish itself as a superpower in terms of science and technology. It’s also possible that any inaction will also prevent public computing in the country from achieving its full potential.
Three Key Areas for Deployment
According to the report, the UK’s current digital landscape is made up of three overlapping deployment areas: artificial intelligence (AI) and applications thereof; modeling and simulation workloads related to science; and cloud computing.
The report pointed out that all three areas are converging in various ways. AI computing, for example, may be done in the cloud, while high-performance computing (HPC) access models are beginning to ape the cloud in various aspects. At the same time, a growing number of AI workloads are being supported by HPC.
However, the government has lagged in terms of investing in the AI sector and other areas despite longstanding information regarding the economic value of such technologies. As a result, experts presented a list of possible interventions that could put the situation to rights.
A Shopping List of Interventions
Among the interventions presented in the report are the formulation and publication of a ten-year-long strategic vision for the country’s national computing infrastructure; the establishment of a government agency or coordination body to implement this vision statement; as well as the immediate infusion of funding and investments to develop and implement an exascale technological roadmap that will enable the UK to step in time with the technological initiatives of other countries.
The authors of the report added that the roadmap out to be published around this time next year and that it should present a detailed plan on how improvements could be made to public sector computing. They also pointed out how the UK needs to invest and train up a skilled computing-driven workforce, and to get the most out of its many technological collaborations with the United States, Japan, and European Union member-countries.
The report also served to remind the government of the country’s current position as a global technology hub, a prominent player in the fields of research and innovation, and the home of globally-ranked centers for study. Should the government choose to act upon the suggested interventions, the societal and economic benefits to the British people would be immense.