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UK to spend £100m of taxpayer money on AI chip production

Written by Wed 23 Aug 2023

The UK Government is set to spend £100 million ($127 million) of taxpayer money to produce computer chips used for artificial intelligence (AI). 

The funds will be used to procure key components from chipmakers like NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel.

The Guardian received word from an official briefed on the plans that the Government is in advanced talks to order 5,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) from NVIDIA, which was recently valued at $1 trillion.

The official also said the £100 million investment is ‘far too low’ compared to investments made by the EU, US, and China.

Funding body UK Research and Innovation will lead the initiative alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DIST).

“We are committed to supporting a thriving environment for compute in the UK which maintains our position as a global leader across science, innovation and technology,” said a government spokesperson.

The UK Government sets its sights on semiconductors and AI

While the UK accounts for just 0.5% of global semiconductor sales, Rishi Sunak said in May that he aims to build the country’s competitive edge on the international stage through a £1 billion ($1.2 billion) investment in the semiconductor industry over the next decade.

By increasing the capabilities and resilience of our world-leading semiconductor industry, we will grow our economy, create new jobs and stay at the forefront of new technological breakthroughs,” said Sunak.

The £1 billion investment was met with mixed reactions when compared to EU’s plans to inject £37 billion ($47.1 billion) into the semiconductor industry.

In addition to this investment, the UK will also spend £100 million ($127 million) to establish a Foundation Model Taskforce led by Ian Hogarth.

The UK Government has also formed a Semiconductor Advisory Panel with leading names to steer the future of the semiconductor sector.

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Written by Wed 23 Aug 2023

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