The UK will struggle to cement its position as a science and technology ‘superpower’ and unlock its growth potential without a long-term, nationally coordinated public IT infrastructure strategy.
This is according to the conclusions of the government Examination of the future of computingwhich describes the UK’s current public IT infrastructure as “fragmented”, lacking long-term vision and requiring “several interventions” if it is to play its part in unlocking the UK’s “high growth potential, world leader”.
According to the report, the UK’s IT landscape consists of three “somewhat overlapping” deployment zones, which are increasingly closely aligned.
These areas include artificial intelligence (AI) applications, science-related modeling and simulation workloads, and the cloud.
“These three types of computation are converging – AI computation can be done on the cloud, high performance computing (HPC) access models are becoming more cloud-like, and HPC is supporting more and more AI workloads,” the report states.
But public investment in computing for AI resources is “seriously lagging behind” despite the “economic value of AI” being “undeniable”, and this is one of the reasons why, as noted in the report, “several interventions” are needed now “if we are going to unlock the UK’s potential for high growth and global leadership”.
These interventions include the publication in 2023 of a 10-year “strategic vision” for the UK’s national IT infrastructure, as well as the creation of a national coordination body to implement this plan, and immediate investments in building a computationally-driven exascale system. technological roadmap so that the UK does not lag behind other nations.
In addition, the roadmap is expected to be released by spring 2024 and detail how the UK’s strategic compute vision will be implemented, the report adds.
“The UK’s public IT infrastructure is fragmented and we currently have no long-term plan,” the report continues. “We need a national coordinating body to deliver a vision for computing that can provide long-term stability and adapt to the rapid pace of change in computing technology.
“We [also] We need to increase AI research capacity immediately to feed the UK’s impressive AI research community and plan for additional AI capacity as part of our exascale system.
At the same time, the UK must also invest in building a skilled workforce and find ways to capitalize on the “longstanding and valuable” collaborations it has previously had with the United States. United, Japan and various members of the European Union to support his plans.
The report makes a total of 10 recommendations which its authors say need to be implemented in a ‘holistic’ way to enable the UK’s compute strategy to play its part in helping the government achieve economic growth, achieve its net zero goals and securing nationhood. scientific and technological superpower by 2030.
“By acting now, the government will not only ensure that the UK remains a prosperous country, but will also bring invaluable societal benefits,” the report continues. “The UK is currently an international technology hub, a leader in research and innovation, and home to world-class universities.
“To capitalize on these strengths and develop them further, the government must ensure that the country has the necessary IT resources now, over the next decade and beyond. Inaction will be to the detriment of the UK’s scientific capacity, its innovative economy and its overall international reputation.