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CEO Satya Nadella (AP/Rafiq Maqbool

The contest for more sophisticated artificial intelligence systems has hotted up with an announcement of a big new lab — Microsoft Research AI, in which the software behemoth will employ more than 100 scientists to study how a single system of AI can tackle a wide range of jobs, rather than a single task, per Bloomberg. The new lab will partner with MIT, Microsoft said.

One of the new lab's initiatives is called AI for Earth, which will offer tools to environmentalists working on problems including climate and water shortages, Wired reports. As we've reported, Microsoft already was using its software to track pollution in places like Chesapeake Bay.

Why it matters: Microsoft is stepping up an already-fiercely competitive race toward smarter machines against Alphabet and Elon Musk's OpenAI.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.