Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang pledged today to invest at least $100 million to build a supercomputer in the U.K. The announcement comes as Nvidia seeks to acquire U.K.-based Arm and obtain valuable microprocessor IP for $40 billion. The takeover will enable Nvidia to build heterogeneous data center and high-performance computing (HPC) platforms while adopting a licensing model that will allow it to also sell its own IP to the Arm ecosystem.
In a bid to show a commitment to U.K.'s high-tech industry and science, Nvidia announced plans last October to build the country's most powerful supercomputer in Cambridge. Initially, Nvidia planned to spend £40 million ($55.692 million) on the project, but it looks like Nvidia is ready to spend twice what it intended to initially, possibly to persuade regulators in the U.K. that its acquisition of Arm will be a positive for the country.
"Cambridge-1, that supercomputing center is, call it a $100 million, just as a starting point," said Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, at The Six Five Summit, reports Reuters. "I mean, it is a big investment. It is the most powerful supercomputer in the U.K., and researchers are super excited about it."
Unlike its rivals AMD and Intel, Nvidia lacks crucial CPU IP to develop platforms for exascale supercomputers that will at least initially rely on general-purpose microprocessors and compute GPUs. HPC is a lucrative market, so Nvidia crucially needs competitive CPU technologies to address it in the coming years.
Arm is a leading developer of CPUs with broad support by software makers, so buying it makes more sense for Nvidia than developing its own CPU technologies from scratch. Furthermore, the Arm acquisition will make Nvidia competitive in other markets, like smartphones, smart consumer electronics, self-driving vehicles, and other emerging products.
But Nvidia faces difficulties securing regulatory approval for the deal because the combined company could create antitrust concerns. Furthermore, some market observers believe Nvidia will compete against its Arm's licensees, restraining the development of CPUs based on the Arm architecture.