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Microsoft invests £2.5 billion in UK AI

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Microsoft is to invest £2.5 billion in the UK over the next three years to expand its next generation AI datacentre infrastructure.

The investment will include more than 20,000 of the most advanced Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) – which are crucial for machine learning and the development of AI models.

This is the single largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in the country which will see the company grow its UK AI infrastructure across sites in London and Cardiff and potential expansion into northern England.

The investment will help the UK meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI specific compute power. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled £29.5 billion of investment in a number of the UK’s innovation sectors, including tech and life sciences.

He said: “Microsoft are one of the founding fathers of modern technology and today’s announcement is a turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and development in the UK.

 “The UK started the global conversation on AI earlier this month, and Microsoft’s historic investment is further evidence of the leading role we continue to play in expanding the frontiers of AI to harness its economic and scientific benefits.”

To support research on AI, Microsoft will extend the Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) programme to include prioritised access to GPUs for the UK’s science and research community.  

This will aim to harness the power of AI to accelerate scientific discovery via multiscale multimodal data generation through prioritised access to Microsoft’s AI tools. 

 Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

“The UK is the tech hub of Europe with an ecosystem worth more than that of Germany and France combined – and this investment is another vote of confidence in us as a science superpower.

 “And it follows the £500m investment in Compute that I committed to in my Autumn Statement last week, taking our investment in advanced computing for AI to £1.5bn – a down payment on the jobs and economic growth it will bring to the UK.”

Microsoft vice chair and President, Brad Smith, added: “Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure, easy access to the skills people need, and broad protections for safety and security.”

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