The new AI supercomputer is a £10 million partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the University. Capable of solving the largest scientific and industrial challenges at very high speeds, the supercomputer is supported by Cambridge's Research Computing Service. The aim is to help companies to create real business value from advanced computing infrastructures. The supercomputer is part of the UK government's AI Sector Deal, which involves more than 50 leading technology companies and organisations. The deal is worth almost £1 billion, including almost £300 million of private sector investment into AI.
In one of the weirder moments of Mark Zuckerberg's congressional testimony on Wednesday, the Facebook CEO suggested there might be some really shady stuff going down at one of the oldest and most well respected universities in the world. "There's a whole program associated with Cambridge University where a number of researchers -- not just Aleksandr Kogan, although to our current knowledge he's the only one who sold the data to Cambridge Analytica -- there are a number of the researchers who are building similar apps," Zuckerberg said. "We do need to understand whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require a stronger action from us." SEE ALSO: Scientist at centre of Facebook scandal didn't think data would be used to target voters The organization that Zuckerberg is referring to is the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Center. According to the center's website, it is a "Strategic Research Network at the University of Cambridge dedicated to research, teaching and product development in both pure and applied psychological assessment." That is, it conducts psychological research by assessing social media and online activity.
The comments trained an unexpected spotlight on the 800-year-old institution's role as a research pioneer in the use of Facebook data. It's a specialty that has now drawn the school, an hour north of London, into a global controversy about digital privacy. Facebook has said data from as many as 87 million of its users may have been improperly harvested by an app developed by Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge academic who then sold it to Cambridge Analytica, the analytics firm that worked for the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election and is unaffiliated with the university. Dr. Kogan, in an interview, said he didn't know that his work for Cambridge Analytica violated Facebook's policies and that the social media firm has made him a scapegoat. Mr. Zuckerberg in Washington suggested there could be a wider problem on the Cambridge campus.