nvidia-clara.jpg (Image: Supplied)

Nvidia is building a supercomputer specifically designed to help with the increasingly computationally complex area that is medical imaging.

Unveiled at Nvidia's annual GPU Technology Conference in San Jose this week, Clara -- named after the Californian city where the company is headquartered, Santa Clara -- was labelled by Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang as "a datacentre-virtualised, multimodality, multi-user, medical computational medical instrument".

With around 3 million instruments installed in hospitals throughout the world, and 100,000 new ones installed each year, Huang predicts it will take about 30 years before the installed base is replaced with upgraded equipment.

"The question is how do we solve this problem? We can't wait for 30 years for doctors to be able to have this early detection and for doctors to have this technology in their hands," he said. "Because of our technology, it's possible for us to virtually upgrade every single medical instrument."

According to Huang, supercomputing is now a fundamental pillar of science.

"We need larger computers; even then we need larger computers; the world needs larger computers, because there's serious work to be done, there's serious ground-breaking work to be done," he said.

"Science needs super-charged computers and that's the reason why we're building super-charged computers.

"Our strategy at Nvidia is to accelerate GPU computing at the speed of light."

Speaking with ZDNet about the future a machine like Clara promises, Nvidia VP of healthcare and AI business development Kimberly Powell said the GPU giant has been focusing on healthcare for over 10 years, alongside the medical imaging industry, which has been driven by computing for at least as long.

"If you think about what medical imaging does, it does

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