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24 October 2014

Oxford spin-outs in deep thought

DeepMind acquires Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factoy.

Author: Thierry Heles, reporter

DeepMind, a UK-based artificial intelligence firm, has acquired Oxford University spin-outs Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factoy. DeepMind itself was acquired by Google earlier this year for £400m.

The size of the acquisitions has not been disclosed, but is thought to be in the range of tens of millions of pounds.

As a result of the acquisition, DeepMind will be working closely together with the university and form a broad partnership. The company is joining forces with Oxford’s computer science and engineering departmens and will offer internships to students as well as have its own researchers deliver guest lectures.

The partnership alone is thought to be worth a “substantial contribution” according to the Financial Times, although a sum has not been disclosed.

DeepMind is working on artificial intelligence which mimicks the functioning of the human brain. Dark Blue Labs is developing software able to understand the meaning of sentences. Vision Factory is creating software which can identify physical objects.

Demis Hassabis, co-founder at DeepMind, said: “These are exciting times for artificial intelligence, and this partnership further cements the UK’s position in the vanguard of this increasingly impactful field.”

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