The investment marks the company’s most significant commitment in its 40-year history in the UK and aims to propel the nation forward in the global AI race.
Microsoft intends to focus on three core areas: expanding AI infrastructure, enhancing AI capabilities, and bolstering AI security.
Expanding AI Infrastructure
The tech giant plans to invest £2.5 billion ($3.2bn) over the next three years to grow its next-generation AI data center infrastructure in the UK.
This initiative includes the addition of over 20,000 advanced GPUs and expanding data center sites in London, Cardiff, and potentially northern England. The expansion will meet the increasing demand for AI-specific computing power in the private and public sectors.
Furthering AI research, Microsoft will extend its Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) program to the UK’s science and research community, providing prioritized access to GPUs.
This initiative aims to foster AI-driven scientific discoveries across various fields and includes collaboration with top UK universities like Cambridge, Oxford, and Imperial College.
Closing the skill gap
Microsoft also intends to launch a comprehensive program that will train 1 million individuals in AI-related skills to close the skill gap in the industry.
The program will focus on AI fluency, technical skills, and responsible AI development in partnership with various educational and non-profit organizations. It includes the first Professional Certificate on Generative AI, aiming to prepare the workforce for the evolving AI economy.
Microsoft also plans to share its experiences in operationalizing responsible AI with UK customers and partners. This involves transforming lessons learned into learning modules embedding safety and security measures in AI development across the IT industry.
Bolstering AI Security
Microsoft is committed to implementing robust AI safety and security measures. This encompasses not only its infrastructure but also the support for developers and users of AI applications.
The company will integrate responsible AI principles into its Partner Pledge for its 25,000 UK partners and collaborate with the UK Government and AI Safety Institute for ongoing refinements in the field.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt hailed the investment as a testament to the country’s prowess in the tech sector, reinforcing its status as a key player in the global AI landscape.
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