Google buys UK artificial intelligence start-up DeepMind

Google Android robot
Image caption Google has been developing its artificial intelligence and robotics divisions

Google has bought UK start-up DeepMind for a reported £400m, making the artificial intelligence firm its largest European acquisition so far.

DeepMind was founded by 37-year-old neuroscientist and former teenage chess prodigy Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

The artificial intelligence company specialises in algorithms and machine learning for e-commerce and games.

Technology news website Re/code first reported the purchase price.

But Google declined to confirm the figure, while privately-held DeepMind was not immediately available for comment.

Major technology firms such as Google, Facebook, IBM and Yahoo have been increasingly focused on developing artificial intelligence as a new source of business.

Google for example, has been developing self-driving cars and robots, and in May announced a partnership with NASA in launching the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is aimed at using supercomputers and complex mathematical formulas to help improve aeronautical science and space exploration.

Earlier this year, the company bought military robot-maker Boston Dynamics for an unspecified sum.

The internet giant also hired futurist, inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil in 2012 to lead an engineering team focused on machine learning and language processing.

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