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London Solidifies Its Position as a Global AI Hub with Microsoft’s New AI Centre

new London AI Microsoft Hub to open in 2024
Man using Windows 11 on his laptop / © Microsoft

The landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) research and development is witnessing a significant shift, with London emerging as a major player. Microsoft’s recent announcement to establish a brand-new AI hub in the heart of London, dubbed “Microsoft AI London,” underscores the city’s growing prominence in this critical technological domain.

This new centre, spearheaded by renowned AI scientist and engineer Jordan Hoffmann, will focus on cutting-edge advancements in large language models, the foundation for tools like Microsoft’s Copilot coding assistant. Hoffmann, a London native with a distinguished career at DeepMind and Inflection, will lead a team of Microsoft AI experts already stationed in the London Paddington office.

Microsoft’s decision to plant roots in London stems from the city’s vibrant AI ecosystem and its abundance of highly skilled talent. The company emphasises a long-term commitment to the region, actively seeking to recruit top AI scientists and engineers for this new hub. Job postings are expected in the coming weeks, targeting passionate innovators and problem-solvers who thrive on tackling complex AI challenges with the potential for large-scale impact.

Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind and Executive Vice President and CEO of Microsoft AI, expressed immense pride in establishing this hub in his hometown. “I’m deeply aware of the extraordinary talent pool and AI ecosystem in the U.K.,” he stated, highlighting his close collaboration with British government, academic, and business leaders. “The country,” he continued, “is committed to advancing AI responsibly and with a safety-first commitment to drive investment, innovation, and economic growth.”

Microsoft AI London builds upon the company’s existing presence in the UK. Notably, the Microsoft Research Cambridge lab boasts some of the world’s leading researchers in AI, cloud computing, and productivity tools. Additionally, it complements Microsoft’s recent £2.5 billion investment aimed at upskilling the UK workforce for the AI era, alongside crucial infrastructure development to power the AI economy. A key element of this investment involves bringing 20,000 of the most advanced Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to the UK by 2026, providing essential computational power for AI tasks.

The synergy between Microsoft’s AI ambitions and the UK’s vision for responsible AI development creates fertile ground for groundbreaking advancements. The establishment of Microsoft AI London serves as a significant catalyst, attracting top talent, fostering collaboration within the existing AI ecosystem, and providing the necessary resources to push the boundaries of language models and their supporting infrastructure. This strategic move strengthens London’s position as a global AI powerhouse, with the potential to shape the future of this transformative technology.