Microsoft sets up up AI hub in Paddington – ComputerWeekly.com

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Microsoft has opened an artificial intelligence (AI) hub in the heart of London to drive what it describes as “pioneering work to advance state-of-the-art language models”. The company said its London team would work closely with other parts of Microsoft and OpenAI to build the supporting infrastructure for AI and develop tools to support foundation models.

Led by former DeepMinds AI scientist and engineer Jordan Hoffmann, the AI hub, based in Paddington, is actively recruiting AI talent.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be posting job openings and actively hiring exceptional individuals who want to work on the most interesting and challenging AI questions of our time,” wrote Mustafa Suleyman, executive vice-president and CEO of Microsoft AI, in a blog post. “We’re looking for new team members who are driven by impact at scale, and who are passionate innovators eager to contribute to a team culture where continuous learning is the norm.”

He added: “I’m proud to have co-founded and built a cutting-edge AI business here. I’m deeply aware of the extraordinary talent pool and AI ecosystem in the UK, and I’m excited to make this commitment to the UK on behalf of Microsoft AI.”

Suleyman said the UK is committed to advancing AI responsibly and with a safety-first commitment to drive investment, innovation and economic growth. “Our decision to open this hub in the UK reflects this ambition.” he added.

The Microsoft AI London hub adds to the company’s existing presence in the UK, including the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, which conducts research into AI, cloud and productivity. 

In November 2023, Microsoft announced plans to double its datacentre footprint in the UK and train more than one million people for the AI economy. At the time, the government said Microsoft would also support the UK’s growing AI safety and research efforts through partnerships with the government and leading universities.

As part of this, Microsoft will spend £2.5bn over the next three years to expand its next-generation AI datacentre infrastructure, bringing more than 20,000 of the most advanced graphics processing units (GPUs) – which are crucial for machine learning and the development of AI models – to the UK by 2026.

Speaking prior to the UK’s AI Safety summit in November 2023, prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “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.”

Microsoft is also set to grow its AI operations in Cardiff and potentially expand into northern England to meet the demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI-specific compute power, datacentre processing and data storage for the massive volume of digital information needed for developing AI models.

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