Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    AGU 2012–Environment and large displays are fun


    This week many of us from the Microsoft Research Earth, Energy and Science team are down at AGU2012 enjoying all that the American Geophysical Union’s 45th annual Fall Meeting has.  MSR has been a participant for many years and really enjoy connecting with scientists and researchers to discuss their scientific challenges. 

    In the Microsoft Research booth this year we have experts from many different areas available to talk about challenges with collecting, visualizing and managing data.  We also have Windows 8 and Office 2013 running on the machines to show what is possible from Surface devices, Desktops, and really large touch screens like the 82'” one from Perceptive Pixel in the booth. 

    You think a tablet is a touch device?  Just touch one of these and you’ll realize that pads are mini compared to the 82" Smile


    Also we are hosting the following FireSide Chats at the booth tomorrow – Wednesday.

    Wednesday 10:00am -10:30 am   

    Real-Time Water System Management   Prof Barbara Minsker & Jong Sung Lee 
      The goal of this project is developing a prototype near-real-time decision support system for river modeling and management in Texas that can serve as a national and international model to promote more sustainable and resilient water systems
    Wed 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm         
    BING: An introduction to Microsoft’s Bing Maps Platform
        Erik Lindeman  & Ryan Eckardt 
      In this session Microsoft will provide an overview of the Bing Maps Platform, its features and how they can be used in a wide range of applications.
    Wednesday 3:30pm -4:00pm  
    Gadgeteer Steven Johnston
      Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio or Visual C# Express.
    Wednesday 5:00pm - 5:30pm   
    DATA MANAGEMENT 101 Carly Strasser
      Tips and tools for managing your research data better

    Also glad to see the support for Windows Phone and all HTML apps via the link http://app.core-apps.com/agu-fm12 on that AGU program guide.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    SCIENCE Article: An Earth Systems Science Agency?


    Very interesting article in current issue of Science...

    The United States faces unprecedented environmental and economic challenges in the decades ahead. Foremost among them will be climate
    change, sea-level rise, altered weather patterns, declines in freshwater availability and quality, and loss of biodiversity. Addressing these challenges will require well-conceived, science-based, simultaneous responses on
    multiple scales, from global and national, to regional and local. The executive and legislative branches of the federal government and of the states will have to transcend bureaucratic boundaries and become much more innovative in developing and implementing policy responses. We strongly believe organizational changes must be made at the federal level to align our public institutional infrastructure to address these challenges. The most pressing organizational change that is required is the establishment of an independent Earth Systems Science Agency formed by merging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

    An Earth Systems Science Agency

    Mark Schaefer,* D. James Baker, John H. Gibbons, Charles G. Groat, Donald Kennedy, Charles F. Kennel, David Rejeski

    Addressing serious environmental and economic challenges in the United States will require organizational changes at the federal level.

    An Earth Systems Science Agency -- Schaefer et al. 321 (5885): 44 -- Science

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Photosynth in Silverlight


    Very neat to see a experimental Silverlight viewer for Photosynth.

    Here’s one synth I did while at SC08 of the MS Booth

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    PDC watch remotely – Great News


    This is really good to hear…being able to watch some of the PDC sessions remotely.  I’m looking forward to tuning in.

    PDC @ Home

    With the current global crisis some of us will not be able to attend PDC this year due to different reasons however the PDC organizers decided to make available portion of the content in order to have people like me virtually attending PDC this year. These are the resources that you can use to be part of PDC without be physically there… enjoy it!

    Watch the PDC Keynotes LIVE Online
    Bookmark www.microsoftpdc.com and watch live:

    · 8:30-10:30 AM Pacific Time (UTC -8) Monday, October 27 Keynote 1 – Ray Ozzie, Amitabh Srivastava, Bob Muglia and David Thompson

    · 8:30-10:30 AM Pacific Time (UTC -8) Tuesday, October 28
    Keynote 2- Ray Ozzie, Steven Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie and David Treadwell

    Community and Influencers Blog : PDC @ Home

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    eclipse4SL: Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight


    Just saw a posting that eclipse4SL - the Eclipse tools for Silverlight project is available. It is an eclipse plug-in that enables Eclipse developers to use the Eclipse IDE to create applications that run on the Microsoft Silverlight runtime platform.

    The purpose of this project is the creation of open source tools integrated with the Eclipse development platform that enable Java developers to use the Eclipse platform to create applications that run on the Microsoft Silverlight runtime platform. Specifically, the project will be an Eclipse plug-in that works with the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) to provide both a Silverlight development environment and greater interoperability between Silverlight and Java, to facilitate the integration of Silverlight-based applications into Java-based web sites and services. The project has been submitted to the Eclipse Foundation and released as an open Eclipse project.

    Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    PHP Support in Expression Web 2


    Passing this note about PHP support in Expression Web 2....

    PHP Support in Expression Web 2

    For those who might wonder about how open Microsoft is to third-party development tools and/or languages, here's one answer:

    In response to feedback from Expression Web 1 users, we’ve added a rich set of features for PHP development in Expression Web version 2. There are the expected productivity features such as code-coloring, snippets and IntelliSense™, but it doesn’t stop there. The product now ships with a PHP development server that lets you test your PHP pages without any other external web server dependencies (e.g. IIS or Apache). Essentially, PHP is now a first-class citizen in Expression Web 2, and will continue to be in upcoming versions of the product.
    [Thanks .net DEvHammer]

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Finding Hubble in the WorldWide Telescope


    The folks at HubbleSite.org have a good overview on how to view the magnificent images in WorldWide Telescope.   


    Bring the power of the Hubble Space Telescope to your computer screen, browsing the universe for astronomical phenomena in striking detail. Hubble images in full resolution are now available through Microsoft Research's free WorldWide Telescope (WWT) software. Pan across the constellations to find objects of interest and zoom in for close-ups, or zoom out for context. Hear professional Hubble astronomers explain the stories, science and significance of the objects in guided tours, or make your own tours to share with the public. WorldWide Telescope includes not only Hubble images, but a rich collection of visuals from both ground and space telescopes in visible light, infrared, x-ray, radio and other wavelengths. The universe in its full glory is yours to explore.

    HubbleSite - Explore Astronomy - Finding Hubble in the WorldWide Telescope

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    .NetMap @ Harvard


    Marc Smith gave a (Excel) .NetMap online tutorial at Harvard this morning hosted by David Lazar of the Harvard Kennedy School - Program on Networked Governance.  The slides and recording will be available at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/netgov

    Online Event: Using (Excel) .NetMap for Social Network Analysis

    (Excel) .NetMap is an add-in for Office 2007 that provides social network diagram and analysis tools in the context of a spreadsheet. Adding the directed graph chart type to Excel opens up many possibilities for easily manipulating networks and controlling their display properties.

    In this tutorial the steps needed to install and operate (Excel) .NetMap are reviewed. The (Excel) .NetMap add-in provides directed graph charting features within Excel, allowing users to create node-link diagrams with control over each node and edge color, size, transparency and shape. Since .NetMap builds within Excel, all of the controls and programmatic features of Office are available. Additional features of (Excel) .NetMap generate social networks from data sources like personal e-mail (drawing data from the Windows Desktop Search engine). Arbitrary edge lists (anything that can be pasted into Excel) can be visualized and analyzed in .NetMap.

    This session will provide a walk through the basic operation of .NetMap. Attendees are encouraged to bring an edge list of interest. Sample data sets will be provided. Techniques for time slicing and filtering networks will be highlighted. You may download the Excel .NetMap Add-in and slides visit in advance of this tutorial.

    Government Innovators Network: A Portal for Democratic Governance and Innovation

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    WorldWide Telescope - you haven't seen it?


    I decided to wait a bit before blogging about the release of WorldWide Telescope (WWT) to see how everything went and what the initial reaction would be.  After Curtis and Jonathan showed me an earlier version over 18 months ago - I knew they were onto something...I fell in love with the sky once again.  The images I could access were nothing short of beautiful and the experience of zooming in and out of spaces was second nature.  Who needs a user manual?  Of course then when you here the excitement in Benjamin's voice as he talks about the crab nebula you also have to remember what it felt like to be a child...

    Anyhow, I so loved it when I ran across this post - this is exactly what WWT is all about - letting individuals find interesting items and letting others know about them...

    Skull at mars / Esqueleto en Marte

    Yesterday I was using the new Microsoft's WWT (World Wide Telescope) and in it's panorama view, I decided to zoom some rocks, and "surprise" I found a little one, very near to the rover wheels, that looks diferent. Here are some pictures, judge them yourself.

    JP-IP: Skull at mars / Esqueleto en Marte

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    AstroViz 2011 Workshop–June 4 & 5


    If you are a professional or student interested in visualizing astronomy data then you should not miss the Astro-Viz 2011 workshop. We invite participants who span a broad range of interests and expertise, including: visualization and graphics experts, illustrators/animators, planetarium developers and media. The goal for this workshop is discussion on the development of visualization for use in research and education and not just limited to astronomy. Registration is live.
    For more information visit http://ssg.astro.washington.edu/astroviz.shtml

    Astro-Viz 2011 Workshop

    This workshop is dedicated to astronomy visualization. We invite participants who span a broad range of interests and expertise, including, visualization and graphics experts, illustrators and animators, planetarium developers and technical media. Our goal for this workshop is an active discussion on the development of visualization for use in research and education.
    The workshop will be held at the University of Washington's new digital planetarium.
    Areas of discussion will include

    • Open discussion of visualization in astrophysics ranging from interactivity to high-dimensional data
      • Volume and point rendering
      • Interaction with massive data sets
      • Scalable and interactive visualization
    • Outreach and visualization
      • Planetariums/museums
      • Dome visualization
      • Connection between the dome and the classroom
    • Content creation
      • The role of the observatories
      • Generating full dome content
      • Standards and sharing

    AstroViz 2011

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Mysterious object being built in garage


    Deep in one of the garages on campus – I ran across this project being built…a modern Stonehenge? maybe the spinal tap version of Stonehenge?

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Back from time off…more fun to come


    Today summer seemed to come to an end – the “marine layer” moved in from the coast and brought cool weather and clouds…so much for the last few weeks of nice sunny warm weather.  I’ve been off for the past few months and really tried to stay away from technology, email and blog posting….

    There is so much that has gone on while I was away…

    and more just starting

    So what did I do – here’s the short list

    • studied the movement of grains of sand while laying face down on a lounger – tough keeping your eyelids open, especially with the sun beating down on you.
    • put on a mask and snorkel to look at underwater creatures/fish – tough work, but beautiful Smile
    • Was in Walla Walla when it was named the Friendliest small town in America – and have to agree that it is very friendly – had a great time there…enjoy the sweet onions and wineries
    • caught up on sleep…sleep is so over rated until you have time for it
    • went to Whistler and did the longest continuous lift system on the globe – Whistler to Blackcomb via the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola 
    • Spent time with oceanographers and technologists at Oregon State University – wow was I impressed with the state of the art work they are doing – also went to a few West Coast Baseball League games while there
    • watched in amazement the 5.8 Virginia, USA Earthquake and Hurricane Irene
    • thought a lot about scientific data – have more thoughts to share in later blog posts….

    It’s good to be back…..

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Michael Jackson Memorial Concert Live in HD on the Web


    Just heard that the Michael Jackson Memorial concert will be broadcast live in HD over the Web.  They will be using IIS Smooth Streaming and Silverlight, the technology that delivered on-demand video for the 2008 Sumer Olympics on NBCOlympics.com.

    Michael Jackson Memorial Concert | Sympatico / MSN inMusic

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    SC 2010: WinHPC Server links to the Cloud & breaks Petaflop Barrier


    Just sat through Ryan Waite’s talk at SC2010 showcasing some of the new features in WinHPC – being able to leverage Azure nodes directly from the WinHPC scheduler as well Windows 7 desktop machines (cycle stealing) – as well as being able to hit petaflop for perf.  He also covered all the Excel Windows HPC integration which is really interesting for bringing HPC to the masses. 

    Windows HPC Server Extends to the Cloud and Breaks the Petaflop Barrier

    At SC 2010 Microsoft also announced that by the end of the year it will release Service Pack 1 for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, allowing customers to connect their on-premises high-performance computing systems to Windows Azure. This capability provides customers with on-demand scale and capacity for high-performance computing applications, lowering IT costs and speeding discovery.

    In addition, Microsoft announced that Windows HPC Server has surpassed a petaflop of performance, a degree of scale achieved by fewer than a dozen supercomputers worldwide. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has verified that its Tsubame 2.0 supercomputer running on Windows HPC Server has exceeded the ability to execute a quadrillion mathematical computations per second. The achievement demonstrates that Windows HPC Server can provide world-class high-performance computing on cost-effective software accessible to a wide range of organizations.

    “We saw outstanding performance from Windows HPC Server during our Linpack benchmarking run on Tsubame 2.0,” said Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center, Tokyo Tech. “It broke the petaflop barrier and was on par with Linux at this scale. Moreover, in power-optimized configuration, it recorded over a gigaflop/watt — nearly three times more power efficient than an average laptop. We were very excited to see this level of performance, given Windows applications will be an important part of our work with our nearly 50 industry partners.”

    Microsoft Brings Bioscience “BLAST” to the Windows Azure Cloud: Announcements at Supercomputing 2010 conference highlight Microsoft’s efforts to bring technical computing to the mainstream.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Achieving Climate Sustainability – Article in American Meteorological Society


    Bill Gail has written a thoroughly thought provoking piece Achieving Climate Sustainability in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  One of the things I really like about Bill is that he understands the challenge of climate sustainability and the intersection of the Earth system’s three fundamental components: physical, ecosystem, and human. Right now most definitions of sustainability only applies to climate as a physical system and thus overlooks the interactions of the physical system with both ecosystems and humans. 

    Achieving Climate Sustainability

    William B. Gail

    It is often assumed that climate change policies, including the Kyoto Protocol and the follow-on Copenhagen agreement now being negotiated, align well with sustainability's tenets. A closer look reveals this is not the case. First, they treat climate change as a one-time problem - anthropogenic greenhouse gases - with a one-time solution. In contrast, research has begun to reveal that human-caused climate change is far from monolithic. Moreover, the clear trend is for societal climate influence to increase and diversify, not decline and simplify. Second, they fail to address the impact of natural climate change on ecosystems and society, an area that is less-well understood than the public commonly believes. A sustainable framework that guides human interaction with Earth's climate system must encompass the broader aspects of climate change and reconcile the reality of ongoing human influence. This includes the highly-controversial use of overt human influence to benefit society and ecosystems.

    Achieving climate sustainability will be far from straightforward, if we even choose to proceed. The concept unearths deeply-held philosophical and religious conflicts, stretches our scientific capabilities, and forces us to address a considerable spectrum of practical concerns. Should we not choose to embrace it, we will find that our policies become less and less effective with time as climate problems expand beyond society's ability to avoid or eliminate them individually. This article elaborates on the need to include sustainability within the climate dialogue and explores the complex considerations that will quickly become part of the public debate.


    As humans and nature become increasingly interconnected, there is a need for public dialogue about sustainability as a framework for addressing climate change.

    AMS Online Journals - Achieving Climate Sustainability

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Bing Trucks


    I’ve been seeing the Bing Trucks around town – take a look if you haven’t seen them

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Bing Earth Day Photo Contest for US Students due April 11th


    I hadn’t seen the Bing Earth Day Photo Contest till today…there are some really good prizes for both the students and their schools.  I was looking at some of the photos – since you can submit ratings and there are some really good ones that have been submitted.

    Bing Earth Day Photo Contest for US Students

    Bing has kicked off a homepage photo contest for students in the United States to submit photoshomepage_web to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The winning photo will be displayed on the Bing homepage on April 22 - Earth Day.

    In addition to the grand prize winner seeing their photo on Bing.com, there are some great prizes for both students and their schools. Winners across the four age groups (ages 5-10, 11-13, 14-17 and 18+) will win a trip for two to the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington. Additionally, each winner will receive equipment from HP and Canon to help build digital photo resources at their school.

    Software Enabled Earth : Bing Earth Day Photo Contest for US Students

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    National Geographic and Stonehenge in Photosynth


    Video showing Stonehenge in Photosynth off the National Geographic Magazine site  - Stonehenge Photosynth: 3-D Exploration

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    External Research Team Blog started


    The Microsoft Research External Research group has started a blog – the initial post is from Tony Heyerhome11 CVP

    Welcome to the Microsoft External Research blog

    The inspiration behind this blog is a strong desire to foster connections that lead to meaningful breakthroughs; to engage in ongoing dialog in an open forum; to discuss and debate the information and ideas critical to harnessing the power of science and technology to address the most urgent global challenges.

    Every day, I have the privilege of witnessing the wonder of discovery, regardless of where it takes place, or whether it’s undertaken by academic researchers and scientists around the world or within Microsoft External Research. For those of us at Microsoft External Research, the opportunity to collaborate with the finest and researchers and scientists working across the globe today is the core of everything we do.


    External Research Team Blog

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Cray Brings Windows 7 to HPC


    Now what computational scientist wouldn’t want one of these under their desk.  I like the tagline, “putting ‘work’ back into workstation”Cray CX1 System.

    Cray Brings Windows 7 to HPC

    by Michael Feldman, HPCwire Editor

    If you thought Windows 7 was just for mere mortals, think again. Microsoft's latest OS is about to show up in Cray's newest CX1 deskside supercomputer that puts a Windows workstation and a Windows HPC Server cluster into a single box. Called the CX1-iWS (for integrated workstation), the machines are to be sold exclusively through Dell and will range in price from $39K to $55K.

    The idea behind the iWS is to retain the interactive experience of a personal workstation, but extend its computational power to that of a small HPC cluster. It's generally aimed at technical computing users who have simply run out of compute headroom on their two-socket machines, but are loathe to give up the intimacy of the workstation environment. A generic CX1 can be configured to provide the equivalent capabilities, but the iWS is preconfigured to deliver this experience right out of the box.

    Since Windows 7 and Windows HPC Server 2008 form a natural client-server relationship, cluster administration and job management becomes relatively seamless. In addition, since there is disk storage shared between the workstation and the cluster, data management becomes much more straightforward. As long as your data set fits in 4 TB, no data transfers back and forth between client and server will be necessary.

    HPCwire: Cray Brings Windows 7 to HPC

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Instant Search - The Real Live Search Bing API experiment


    If you’d like to see instant results while you’re typing in your search query try out “The Real Live Search” from Long Zheng from istartedsomething – it uses the fast Bing AJAX APIs and the JSON results to give you information as you type.  It’s really neat to see – here’s an example doing a WorldWide Telescope search  The image doesn’t do it justice – try it out yourself.


    I wonder if it could be integrated with the Windows 7 via the Federated Search support – much like Long was able to do with the Flickr Search Connector for Windows 7

    The Real Live Search – Bing API experiment - istartedsomething

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Presenting around the world


    I just finished a seminar presentation to Monash University while sitting in Redmond – the slides were presented using PowerPoint 2013 via Office Presentation Service a free way to control your presentation to anyone in the world.  While the PowerPoint broadcast feature has been included in previous versions of PowerPoint it’s really amazing how easy it is to use – all the viewer needs is a browser, so it works on almost any device/smartphone.

    Start an online meeting from PowerPoint

    Now you’ve got several ways to share a PowerPoint presentation over the Web. You can send out a link to the slides, or start a full-on Lync meeting that displays the deck with audio and IM. Your audience can join you from anywhere, on any device using Lync or the Office Presentation Service.

    Start an online meeting from PowerPoint

    Read more:

    What's new in PowerPoint 2013 - PowerPoint - Office.com

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Memories for life – SenseCam available


    It’s great to see that the technology behind the SenseCam work out of MSR Cambridge is now available for anyone to utilize.  It’s had some real success as an aid for people with memory loss – check out the papers – but it could also be used as a data collection device, I see it being used in environmental projects – long battery life – proximity sensor, etc…


    Vicon Revue Product
    Revue. Memories for life.

    Welcome to Revue. The wearable digital camera designed to take photos passively without intervention whilst being worn by the user.

    Based on Microsoft SenseCam technology, Revue is a research tool aimed at medical researchers as an aid for people with memory loss.

    Vicon Revue | Memories for life

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Learn Windows Azure Next Tuesday (Dec 13th)


    Don’t miss the Learn Windows Azure event next Tuesday, Dec 13th….

    Learn Windows Azure Next Tuesday (Dec 13th)

    Next Tuesday, Dec 13th we’ll be holding a special Learn Windows Azure training event for developers.  It will provide a great way to learn Windows Azure and what it provides.  You can attend the event either by watching it streamed LIVE online, or by attending in person (on the Microsoft Redmond Campus).  Both options are completely free.

    Learn Window Azure Event

    top_imageDuring the Learn Windows Azure event attendees will learn how to start building great cloud based applications using Windows Azure.

    I’ll be kicking off the day with a 90 minute keynote that will provide an overview of Windows Azure, during which I’ll explain the concepts behind it and the core features and benefits it provides.  I’ll also walkthrough how to build applications for it using .NET, Visual Studio and the Windows Azure SDK (with lots of demos of it in action).

    We’ll then spend the rest of the day drilling into more depth on Cloud Data and Storage, how to use the Visual Studio Windows Azure Tools, how to Build Scalable Cloud Applications, and close off with an Q&A panel with myself, Dave Campbell and Mark Russinovich.

    Register Now for Free

    The free Learn Windows Azure event will start at 9am (PST) on Dec 13th.  You’ll be able to watch the entire event live on Channel9 or attend it in person.  Both options are completely free.

    • Register now to watch online or attend the event in person for FREE

    Learn Windows Azure Next Tuesday (Dec 13th) - ScottGu's Blog

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    The Fourth Paradigm book now available in Portuguese


    imageEarlier today I had the pleasure to give the kickoff talk for the release of The Fourth Paradigm book in Portuguese.  Being able to highlight the thinking's of Jim Gray on which the book is based and the scientists who wrote articles for the book was a real privilege for me.

    1. Thousand years ago – Experimental Science
      Description of natural phenomena
    2. Last few hundred years – Theoretical Science
      Newton’s Laws, Maxwell’s Equations…
    3. Last few decades – Computational Science
      Simulation of complex phenomena
    4. Today – Data-Intensive Science (The Fourth Paradigm)
      Scientists overwhelmed with data sets from many different sources

    It was also fortuitous and coincidental that earlier this week AGU EOS published the article Mountain hydrology, snow color, and the fourth paradigm by Jeff Dozier from University of California, Santa Barbara


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