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WUWM’s Chuck Quirmbach reports on innovation in southeastern Wisconsin.

UWM-Microsoft Connection Grows, Through Cash & Greater Access To The Cloud

Chuck Quirmbach
(From left) Microsoft President Brad Smith, UWM Chancellor Mark Mone and Rockwell Automation CEO Blake Moret at Monday's news conference at UWM.

Microsoft has announced a gift worth $1.5 million to the Connected Systems Institute, which is based at UW-Milwaukee. The institute is a statewide collaboration among academia, industry and state government that helps industry optimize data and improve manufacturing automation.

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the details of the donation at a news briefing Monday afternoon at UWM. He said the gift includes $1.25 million in cash, $250,000 in cloud computing credits and $80,000 in computer hardware.

Cloud computing involves using data centers available to many users over the internet — for a price.

Smith says computer technology keeps changing.

"If we were here 10 years ago, we would probably be making an announcement that we would be helping the university build a [computer] server room. ... But in 2019, it's all about the cloud. What we're donating to the university is the ability to use the time on our computers, in our data centers. And then they can put that computational power and data storage to work."

"There's very few places that have more of the buildings blocks for success than here in Milwaukee." - Microsoft's Brad Smith

So why Wisconsin and UWM? Smith grew up in Appleton, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella holds a master's degree in computer science from UWM. But Smith said it's not just personal connections to the state.

"We are very bullish on what we see at UWM, and what we see in Milwaukee. The world is rapidly becoming connected in really quite dramatically new ways through the so-called 'internet of things.' When you look across the country and around the world, there's very few places that have more of the buildings blocks for success than here in Milwaukee," Smith said.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said, "From our discussion, as we've visited with manufacturers throughout the state, the addition of Microsoft really is going to push things forward in a greatly accelerated way."

Support is provided by Dr. Lawrence and Mrs. Hannah Goodman for Innovation reporting.

Do you have a question about innovation in Wisconsin that you'd like WUWM's Chuck Quirmbach to explore? Submit it below.


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