Independent report

Future of Compute Review - call for evidence

Updated 6 March 2023

Please note: this call for evidence has now closed

Consultation description

In the past decade, compute has grown by orders of magnitude as a critical general purpose technology for productivity, prosperity, and innovation.[footnote 1] The UK’s ability to compete and lead the global digital economy depends on businesses, researchers and innovators having access to trusted and efficient advanced capability. Advanced computing capability is fundamental to achieving our objectives in the Digital Strategy, National AI Strategy and the Data Strategy, amongst others, and delivering the ambition for the UK to be a science and technology superpower.

This review will consider what the UK’s advanced compute needs will be in the next decade across the entire economy, and how government should meet them. The Terms of reference outline the basis of this work.

The review will be grounded in evidence and so the Secretariat is launching a call for evidence. This provides the opportunity to engage with a wide range of experts and interested parties, within the short time available, and ensure the best quality evidence is received. The review will build on a 2021 report by the Government Office for Science - Large-scale computing: the case for greater UK coordination.

The evidence gathered will be used to prepare a report with actionable recommendations for the government’s long-term approach to compute. We value your contribution to our work and look forward to considering your response.

1. How to respond

The consultation period will run between 8 July 2022 and 5 August 2022.

Please send responses to any, or all, of the questions below to:

Please indicate if you are responding in a personal capacity or on behalf of a company or organisation. You must disclose all financial or other links between you or your organisation, and any company operating in a sector in, or connected with, the scope of this review. This should include a statement whether any research you have ever conducted has received commercial funding from a company of this kind.

If you do not have access to email, you can write to:

Future of Compute Review Secretariat
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
1st Floor, Economic Security Unit
100 Parliament Street

Please ensure that your response reaches the Secretariat before the closing date.

Respondents are strongly encouraged to keep their submissions to a limit of 5,000 words. Annexes and supplementary information may be provided in addition to this, if required. Please be explicit about the sources of evidence for your view.

Responses may be published in full or in summary form. If you would not like all or part of your response to be published, please explicitly mark it as ‘not for publication’.

Please note the important information following the questions that sets out how your response will be treated and how any personal data you provided which identifies you or third parties will be handled.

2. Questions

2.1 Users

1. What are the compute needs of UK users?

We would welcome evidence on the demand for compute from UK users. For what purposes do these users (businesses, academia, government) currently use compute, and how would they like to use it in the future?

We are interested in how these user needs translate into demand for specific compute infrastructure, including capacity and performance and types of: hardware, software, architectures, access models (ratio of cloud vs on-premise), and ownership models (including where the supply is geographically located). Please identify the benefits and limitations for users of the options that are currently available. What are users’ needs in relation to security, resilience, and sustainability?

2. How do you expect demand for compute in the UK to change over the next decade?

We welcome evidence on:

  • Current and expected future unmet demand
  • Current latent demand, and potential users that could benefit from compute in the coming decade
  • The sectors / users you expect to drive changes
  • The new use cases that you expect to emerge
  • The types of business models that could benefit by accessing advanced computing capabilities
  • Whether businesses and other (potential) users are aware of the potential applications of compute
  • The mix and use of advanced compute, including AI, that you expect to be required in future
  • The trends and drivers that are influencing your projections.

3. Should the government be trying to stimulate demand for compute, and why?

We are interested in whether UK businesses (across all sizes and sectors), academic institutions and public bodies are making optimal use of compute. What are the barriers to this, and should government intervene? Which users should any intervention target, and how can we best stimulate latent demand to be realised?

2.2 Infrastructure

4. How do you expect the compute provision that is available to UK users to change over the next decade?

Do you expect this to meet users’ needs (in terms of capacity and type of provision)? What provision could best meet demand from each type of user?

We welcome evidence relating to: hardware; software (including open source), capacity, architectures (including those that are needed to support AI and hybrid workflow growth), access models (on premise and cloud provision, including access to systems based outside the UK) and expected costs (capital and operational).

Please provide quantitative data, metrics, models and forecasts relating to current and future compute supply and demand where available. You may wish to comment specifically on the market for exascale compute.

5. How should the government incentivise the supply of compute?

What form(s) should this take? Are there any types of infrastructure or supply where this incentivisation will not be sufficient?

6. What ownership and operational models could best meet the needs of compute users (including business, government, and academic users)?

We are interested in whether any users need UK-hosted compute and/or storage, and for what purposes. Does the geographic location of systems overseas impact their ability to meet user needs?

7. What are the risks of the increasingly widespread use of compute, and how can they best be mitigated?

We welcome evidence on:

  • What steps should be taken to increase trust in the UK’s compute provision
  • How to mitigate concerns about (cyber)security, privacy and intellectual property
  • What improvements to security are needed to protect Intellectual Property and sensitive data whilst using advanced compute.

8. How can the government most effectively intervene in the compute market to help to mitigate the environmental impact of this technology?

We would welcome evidence that relates to: technological advances in greener compute; the climate impact of geographic location of supply; the use of renewable energy; specific knowledge and skills; and methods of supporting and incentivising sustainability.

2.3 Access and enablers

9. How can the government help to increase access to compute across user groups?

Please identify the specific actions needed to support requirements of different user groups. For example, we would welcome options for supporting knowledge sharing, providing technical support, helping to develop skills and manage talent; and alleviating asymmetry in research and business users’ access to advanced compute.

In relation to skills, please highlight any skills gaps that could impact the use of advanced compute for research and business purposes in the UK in the next decade. Please provide suggestions about how the government can ensure a sustainable skills pipeline; the opportunities/blockers for career progression in fields relevant to compute, and how these might be addressed; and how the flow of talent to and from industry and academia can be improved.

10. What are the key issues that prevent UK users accessing the compute supply?

We would welcome evidence about barriers, blockers, and market failures. How do allocation models, contractual models and other features of market provision impact the level of compute use?

11. What public procurement approaches could best meet compute users’ current and future needs?

We welcome evidence that considers the needs of business, government, and academic users.

2.4 International approaches to compute

12. How does the UK compare internationally in relation to compute? Does the UK have, or should it develop, specific strengths?

We welcome evidence on the models for compute provision that have been most successful internationally; approaches to compute by our closest analogues; lessons from the US and China; and any novel or effective approaches or best practice from other countries.

3. Processing of personal data

DCMS provides a secretariat function to the Future of Compute Review. This notice sets out how DCMS will use your personal data for the purposes of this consultation on the future of compute and explains your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

Your data (Data Subject Categories)

The personal information relates to members of the public, parliamentarians, and representatives of organisations or companies.

The data that DCMS collects (Data Categories)

Information may include the name, address, email address, job title, and employer of the correspondent, as well as their opinions on the provision of compute. It is possible that respondents will volunteer additional identifying information about themselves or third parties.

The processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. The task is requesting evidence or obtaining opinion data in order to develop good effective proposals and recommendations to government.

DCMS may use the contact details provided to contact respondents during the consultation period in order to request clarification or further information regarding the response provided where this is deemed necessary.

Special category data

Although not being requested, it is possible that special category data may be processed if it is volunteered by the respondent.

Where special category data is volunteered by you (the data subject), the legal basis relied upon for processing it is: the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest for the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown, or a government department.

This function is consulting on departmental policies or proposals, or obtaining opinion data, to develop good effective policies.


Any personal information will be processed for the purpose of obtaining evidence from members of the public and representatives of organisations and companies, about: departmental policies, or proposals, or generally to obtain public opinion data on an issue of public interest.

Information and data provided to DCMS in response to this call for evidence will be used by the Future of Compute Review Secretariat in DCMS, and by the Expert Panel that are leading the review, to support their considerations on “what the UK’s advanced compute needs will be in the next decade across the entire economy, and how government should meet them”. The Expert Panel comprises external experts who are not civil servants, and have been selected for their knowledge and experience in this field.

Who DCMS share your responses with (Recipients)

Information provided to DCMS in response to consultations may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes. These are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). Appropriate anonymisation and suppression techniques will be implemented to anonymise the data.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If DCMS receives a request for disclosure of the information they will take full account of your explanation, but they cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the Compute Review Secretariat, Future of Compute Review Expert Panel or DCMS.

The Future of Compute Review will be independent of government. It will make a final report with its recommendations which will inform the policy work of DCMS and decisions throughout HM Government.

Where someone submits special category personal data or personal data about third parties, DCMS will endeavour to delete that data before publication takes place.

Where information about respondents is not published, it may be shared with officials within public bodies involved in this consultation process to assist them in developing the policies to which it relates. The data may also be shared with members of the Expert Panel, either in full or in summary form, in order to inform the review’s recommendations and report.

As the personal information is stored on DCMS infrastructure, it will be accessible to DCMS’ Administrators, where required, for support and maintenance purposes. Data will not be shared or stored outside of the EU.

How long we will hold your data (Retention)

Personal information in responses to consultations will generally be published and therefore retained indefinitely as a historic record under the Public Records Act 1958.

Personal information in responses that is not published will be retained for three calendar years after the consultation has concluded.

Your rights

You have the right to request information about how your personal data are processed and to request a copy of that personal data.

You have the right to request that any inaccuracies in your personal data are rectified without delay.

You have the right to request that your personal data are erased if there is no longer a justification for them to be processed.

You have the right, in certain circumstances (for example, where accuracy is contested), to request that the processing of your personal data is restricted.

You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data where it is processed for direct marketing purposes.

You have the right to data portability, which allows your data to be copied or transferred from one IT environment to another.

More information can be found in the DCMS Personal information charter.

How to submit a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR)

To request access to personal data that the DCMS holds about you, contact:

DCMS Operational Data Protection Team
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street

For more information about how DCMS process personal data please view the personal information charter.


If you have any concerns about the use of your personal data, please contact DCMS via this mailbox:

If DCMS is unable to address your concerns to your satisfaction, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, the UK’s independent regulator for data protection. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

0303 123 1113

Any complaint to the Information Commissioner is without prejudice to your right to seek redress through the courts.

Contact details

The controller for any personal data collected as part of this consultation is the DCMS Operational Data Protection Team, the contact details for which are:

DCMS Operational Data Protection Team
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street

The contact details for DCMS Data Protection Officer (DPO) are:

The Data Protection Officer
Data Protection Office
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street


For all other queries please contact the Future of Compute Review Secretariat:

Future of Compute Review Secretariat
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
1st Floor, Economic Security Unit
100 Parliament Street

  1. ‘Compute’ or advanced compute refers to computer systems where processing power, memory, data storage and network are assembled at scale to tackle computational tasks beyond the capabilities of everyday computers. It is an umbrella term encompassing terms such as high-performance computing, high throughput computing, supercomputing and novel computing paradigms. Cloud computing does not fall entirely under this umbrella but it is considered as an access model for advanced compute if used for high computational loads.