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Microsoft Makes AI Push in London and Japan with Strategic Investments

Microsoft has announced several initiatives and investments targeted at international markets this week to expand its AI capabilities.

First, on Monday the company announced that it is expanding its recently created Microsoft AI group to the U.K. Microsoft AI London will focus on advancing in language models,  infrastructure, and tooling for foundation models. The new hub will work in close collaboration with Microsoft's AI teams and partners like OpenAI.

"There is an enormous pool of AI talent and expertise in the U.K., and Microsoft AI plans to make a significant, long-term investment in the region as we begin hiring the best AI scientists and engineers into this new AI hub," wrote Mustafa Suleyman, CEO of Microsoft AI, in a blog post.

The London-based group will be headed by research scientist Jordan Hoffmann, who migrated to Microsoft from DeepMind at the same time Microsoft AI CEO Suleyman and others made last month. The company said that it will begin aggressively hiring AI engineers and scientists to fill out the new hub, which will work closely with Microsoft Research Cambridge lab and its current AI efforts.  

Suleyman said the new center would enhance Microsoft's AI research in the region and is part of the financial commitment the company recently made to the region. "The Microsoft AI London hub adds to Microsoft’s existing presence in the U.K., including the Microsoft Research Cambridge lab, home to some of the foremost researchers in the areas of AI, cloud and productivity," wrote Suleyman. "At the same time, it builds off Microsoft’s recently announced ¬£2.5 billion investment to upskill the U.K. workforce for the AI era and to build the infrastructure to power the AI economy, including our commitment to bring 20,000 of the most advanced GPUs to the country by 2026."

In related news, Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is investing $2.9 billion for cloud and AI infrastructure in Japan. The investment, which is the company's largest in the region in almost 50 years, will be divided over the next two years.

Microsoft President Brad Smith made the announcement during an interview with Japanese financial publication Nikkei and said the investment includes adding AI semiconductors to two of its regional datacenters, setting up new research centers for AI and robotics and training 3 million workers over the next three years in AI-related skills.

"The competitiveness of every part of the Japanese economy ... will depend on the adoption of AI," said Smith.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.

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