UK’s Fastest AI Supercomputer, Powered By Intel And Dell Technologies, To Drive Research

Dawn supercomputer


  • Dawn, the U.K.’s fastest AI supercomputer1, will drive significant advancements in healthcare, green fusion energy development and climate modelling.
  • Co-designed with Intel, Dell Technologies, the University of Cambridge, UKAEA and with additional investment from UK Research and Innovation, Dawn resides at the Cambridge Open ZettaScale Lab.
  • Deployed as the U.K.’s most powerful AI supercomputing cloud1 using the Scientific OpenStack cloud software developed with UK SME StackHPC.
  • 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Intel® Data Center GPU Max Series accelerators utilize Intel’s oneAPI programming environment to deliver strong performance on real-world scientific problems.
  • Dell PowerEdge XE9640 direct liquid cooled 2U servers optimize system space and efficiency to handle the most demanding artificial intelligence and simulation workloads.

CAMBRIDGE, U.K., Nov. 2, 2023 – Dell Technologies, Intel and the University of Cambridge announce the deployment of the co-designed Dawn Phase 1 supercomputer. Leading technical teams built the U.K.’s fastest AI supercomputer1 that harnesses the power of both artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing (HPC) to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. This sets a clear way forward for future U.K. technology leadership and inward investment into the U.K. technology sector.

Dawn kickstarts the recently launched U.K. AI Research Resource (AIRR)2, which will explore the viability of associated systems and architectures. Dawn brings the U.K. closer to reaching the compute threshold of a quintillion (1018) floating point operations per second – one exaflop, better known as exascale. For perspective: Every person on earth would have to make calculations 24 hours a day for more than four years to equal a second’s worth of processing power in an exascale system.

“Dawn considerably strengthens the scientific and AI compute capability available in the U.K., and it’s on the ground, operational today at the Cambridge Open Zettascale Lab. Dell PowerEdge XE9640 servers offer a no-compromises platform to host the Intel Data Center GPU Max Series accelerator, which opens up the ecosystem to choice through oneAPI. I’m very excited to see the sorts of early science this machine can deliver and continue to strengthen the Open Zettascale Lab partnership between Dell Technologies, Intel and the University of Cambridge, and further broaden that to the U.K. scientific and AI community,” said Adam Roe, EMEA HPC technical director at Intel.

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Dawn was born of a co-design partnership between Dell Technologies, Intel, University of Cambridge and additional investment from UK Research and Innovation. Dawn is the fastest AI supercomputer deployed in the U.K. today1 and will support some of the U.K.’s largest-ever workloads across both academic research and industrial domains. Usage domains include healthcare, engineering, green fusion energy, climate modelling and frontier science within cosmology and high-energy physics.

A New Dawn for UK’s Scientific Research Communities

“Dawn Phase 1 represents a huge step forward in AI and simulation capability for the U.K., deployed and ready to use now. The system plays an important role within a larger context, where this co-design activity aims to deliver a Phase 2 supercomputer in 2024 which will boast 10 times the level of performance. If taken forward, Dawn Phase 2 would significantly boost the U.K. AI capability and continue this successful industry partnership,” said Dr. Paul Calleja, director of Research Computing Services at the University of Cambridge.

Dawn Phase 1 and the already announced Isambard AI supercomputer3 will join to form the AIRR, a U.K. national facility to help researchers maximize the potential of AI and support critical work into the potential and safe use of the technology. Dawn, supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will vastly increase the country’s AI and simulation compute capacity for both fundamental research and industrial use cases, accelerating research discovery and driving growth within the U.K. knowledge economy.

The new supercomputer is based on Dell PowerEdge XE9640 servers4. With its versatile configuration options and liquid cooling technology, the server system is well-equipped to handle the demands of AI and HPC workloads. Direct liquid cooling technology provides a more efficient and cost-effective solution than traditional air-cooled systems.

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“Collaborations like the one between the University of Cambridge, Dell Technologies and Intel, alongside strong inward investment, are vital if we want compute to unlock the high-growth AI potential of the U.K. It is paramount that the government invests in the right technologies and infrastructure to ensure the U.K. leads in AI and exascale-class simulation capability. It’s also important to embrace the full spectrum of the technology ecosystem, including GPU diversity, to ensure customers can tackle the growing demands of generative AI, industrial simulation modelling and ground-breaking scientific research,” said Tariq Hussain, head of U.K. Public Sector, Dell Technologies.

Each PowerEdge XE9640 server in this system combines two 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and four Intel Data Center GPU Max accelerators to deliver strong performance and high efficiency for solving real-world scientific problems. The Scientific OpenStack from UK SME StackHPC provides a fully AI- and simulation-optimized cloud supercomputing software environment. This is combined with the oneAPI open software ecosystem and optimized frameworks that help developers speed up AI and HPC workloads and enhance code portability across multiple hardware architectures.

Technical details and performance numbers for Dawn Phase 1 will be released in mid-November during the Supercomputing 23 (SC23) conference in Denver, Colorado.

More: Cambridge Open Zettascale Lab High Performance Computing Primer | 4th Gen Xeon Scalable Processors (Press Kit) | £300 million to launch first phase of new AI Research Resource (UK Research and Innovation News)

About Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play. The company provides customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.

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Based on Cambridge Open Zettascale Lab’s own performance analysis compared to the Top500 List June 2023, based on theoretical peak FP16 FLOPS throughput.

Intel does not control or audit third-party data. You should consult other sources to evaluate accuracy.

About Intel

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to and

© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.


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