Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    OData–Open Data Technical Committee Proposed to OASIS for standardization


    This is great to hear that Microsoft along with Technology Leaders Support OASIS Standards for Open Data Protocol.


    OData Technical Committee Proposed to OASIS

    Based on overwhelming feedback from the community, Microsoft announced that they, along with SAP AG, IBM, Citrix, Progress Software and WSO2, are proposing an OData Technical Committee (TC) in OASIS, an international open standards consortium. You can participate directly in producing the standard by joining the OData TC. OASIS will be announcing a Call for Participation in early June, including a notice on the odata.org mailing list. If your organization would like to be featured as a Proposer of the OASIS OData Technical Committee—alongside Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Progress Software, SAP, and WSO2—contact join AT oasis-open.org before June 3rd, 2012.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    PSH5X–A Windows PowerShell module for HDF5


    Just saw the announcement from the HDF5 group that they’ve released PSH5X-a Windows PowerShell module for HDF5. They also have some good resources up to help get started – including the pseudo-mindmap of the provider….

    For folks not familiar with HDF5 -

    The HDF5 technology suite is designed to organize, store, discover, access, analyze, share, and preserve diverse, complex data in continuously evolving heterogeneous computing and storage environments.

    HDF5 supports all types of data stored digitally, regardless of origin or size. Petabytes of remote sensing data collected by satellites, terabytes of computational results from nuclear testing models, and megabytes of high-resolution MRI brain scans are stored in HDF5 files, together with metadata necessary for efficient data sharing, processing, visualization, and archiving.

    PSH5X logoPSH5X is a Windows PowerShell module for HDF5. It leverages PowerShell's provider model to produce a file system-like experience for HDF5 (an often cited metaphor). PSH5X helps you perform simple housekeeping tasks such as renaming HDF5 links or copying HDF5 objects, but it can also create new HDF5 items (HDF5 objects, links, attributes) and read or write HDF5 dataset and attribute values. Did you ever ask questions similar to the following?

    • How many groups and datasets are there in an HDF5 file?
    • What fraction of the total file size can be accounted for by HDF5 datasets?
    • Which path names containing the string 'H2O' lead to HDF5 datasets?

    You'll find that these are examples of the proverbial 'one-liners' in PSH5X.

    After years of uncontrolled growth of a bewildering jungle of scripting technologies on the Windows platform, there's, finally, a one-stop automation hub, Windows PowerShell. You may not be aware of it, but it comes with every modern Windows desktop or server installation. You can view PSH5X as a ramp leading straight into the fast lane on the PowerShell highway. There you will have access to a myriad of helpful cmdlets to get almost every HDF5 job done. For example, have a look at FAQ 2.01 if you ever wondered how to get data from HDF5 into Excel.

    There are already several excellent scripting interfaces available for HDF5 including Andrew Collette's h5py Python module. Most people would probably agree that for something as wonderful and multi-faceted as HDF5 there can hardly be too many good choices. With PSH5X we're adding another powerful tool to the arsenal and hope that, with your help, it will find its "niche" in the ecosystem.

    Questions? Check out a few remarks on terminology, a list of PSH5X cmdlets, the FAQ, the tutorial, advanced features, and several limitations and known issues.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Smart Buildings pilot at Microsoft–energy analytics


    clip_image001There’s a good cover story article on Microsoft’s Smart Building Pilot Program in the latest The Leader, it describes the Microsoft Real Estate and Facilitates group effort in using more technology to improve the energy performance of the buildings they manage.  The article describes the use of the corporate campus as a living lab focusing on Fault Detection and Diagnosis, Alarm Management, and Energy Management.  There’s also a technical overview of the Smart-Building Architecture that is being used – which includes the use of Azure Connect to securely transmit data to relevant vendor applications. 

    There’s more information in the whitepaper – and other resources….

    The Central Role of Cloud Computing in Making Cities Energy-Smart

    The Leader - January/February 2012 [12 - 13]

  • 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

    "Data Explorer"– Clean, Mashup, and Publish your Science Data


    Dealing with scientific data can be challenging – especially since it’s in many different formats, files etc.  The SQL Labs release of Microsoft Codename “Data Explorer” looks to be a tool that can help bring together many different data sets in a more straight forward way.  Not only is it an easy to use tool to bring the datasets together, you can also publish it out in a number of ways to make it easy to share the insight/results with others.

    there is both a:

    Check out the "Data Explorer" Learning Page for more details on how to use it as well as the Official Blog

    Microsoft Codename "Data Explorer"
    Gain new insights from your data

    Have you ever had trouble finding data you needed? Or combining data from different, incompatible sources? How about sharing the results with others in a web-friendly way? If so, we want you to try Microsoft Codename “Data Explorer”.
    With "Data Explorer" you can:

    • Identify the data you care about from the sources you work with (e.g. Excel spreadsheets, files, SQL Server databases).
    • Discover relevant data and services via automatic recommendations from the Windows Azure Marketplace.
    • Enrich your data by combining it and visualizing the results.
    • Collaborate with your colleagues to refine the data.
    • Publish the results to share them with others or power solutions.
    Discover Enrich Publish

    Automatically discover data, as we recommend datasets and data services from the Windows Azure Marketplace. Rather than spending your time looking for data, let us bring the data to you.

    Easily enrich your data by combining it with data from other places. Use visualization tools to gain insights into your business.

    Seamlessly publish your results and share them with colleagues. Generate data feeds that can be consumed by other tools. Continue your analysis in other tools, such as Excel or PowerPivot. Control what you share with whom, securely.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    WorldWide Telescope and Kinect on really big screen at SC11


    WP_000206For the last couple of days at Supercomputer 2011 we’ve been demoing WorldWide Telescope being driven via Kinect for Windows – probably the single largest Kinect driven application out there.  While we’ve done something like this before (ie. Mix’11), this time we partnered with Scalable Display Technologies and NVIDIA to create a 18x7 foot single machine display. The whole demo is powered with one PC, connected to two Nvidia Quadro Plex devices to drive 8 projectors.  The projector alignment and blending was accomplished via the Scalable Display Manager software.  This made it one very large desktop – if you look in the bottom right corner of the screen you can see the notification bar Smile 

    Beyond it being a great demo, it also showcased how this could be built with shipping technologies in a short time.


  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Develop with Python in Visual Studio, connect with Kinect and Excel


    There is a new release of the Python Tools for Visual Studio and it includes Pyvot: a connector to Excel that allow data transfer and manipulation – check out the tutorial.  It also has a PyKinect, to leverage Kinect for new natural user interactions (NUIs)… 

    An integrated environment for developing Python in VS2010 PTVS 1.1 Alpha is Live!

    • Supports CPython and IronPython
    • Python editor with advanced member and signature intellisense
    • Code navigation “Find all refs”, goto definition, and object browser
    • Local and remote debugging
    • Profiling with multiple views
    • Integrated REPL window with inline matplotlib graphics
    • Support for HPC clusters and MPI, including debugging & Profiling
    • Interactive parallel computing via integrated IPython REPL


    Python Tools for Visual Studio

  • 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


  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Big Data and LINQ in CACM


    Just read the The World According to LINQ article in October’s Communications of the ACM – Erik Meijer does a really good job describing LINQ and how it can be used with Big Data from my different data sources – ie. DBs, REST services and other unstructured data sources…also describes the mathematical foundations of LINQ….

    The World According to LINQ

    [article image]

    Erik Meijer

    Big data is about more than size, and LINQ is more than up to the task.

    Programmers building Web- and cloud-based applications wire together data from many different sources such as sensors, social networks, user interfaces, spreadsheets, and stock tickers.  Most of this data does not fit in the closed and clean world of traditional relational databases.  it is too big, unstructured, denormalized, and streaming in real time.  Presenting a unified programming model across all these disparate data models and query languages seems impossible at first.  By focusing on the commonalities instead of thee differences, however, most data sources will accept some form of computation to filter and transform collections of data.

    Erik Meijer. 2011. The world according to LINQ. Commun. ACM 54, 10 (October 2011), 45-51. DOI=10.1145/2001269.2001285 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2001269.2001285

    The World According to LINQ | October 2011 | Communications of the ACM

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    .NET Bio: the new name for Microsoft Biology Foundation and now open source

    .Net Bio samples9.png

    Microsoft Research is putting .NET Bio, a bioinformatics toolkit into the Outercurve Foundation, allowing community involvement in the future of this open-source project.

    See the full post by Simon Mercer describing the transfer to Outercurve as a new Research Accelerator and the new functionality being included in this release.

    There is a training event this week on .NET BIO (10/20-21) at UCSD.



    .NET Bio logoThe Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) has undergone a significant transformation since it was first released. Over time, it’s become clear that a new name was also in order. So today, I am pleased to announce that MBF will now be known as .NET Bio. In addition to the new name, .NET Bio will also have a new location: the Outercurve Foundation. This move is the next logical step in the life of the project: transferring its ownership to a nonprofit foundation that is dedicated to open-source software underscores our community-led philosophy; while Microsoft will continue to contribute to the code, it will do so as one among a growing community of users and contributors.


    Users can perform a range of tasks with .NET Bio, including:

    • Importing DNA, RNA, or protein sequences from files with a variety of standard data formats, including FASTA, FASTQ, GFF, GenBank, and BED.
    • Constructing sequences from scratch.
    • Manipulating sequences in various ways, such as adding or removing elements or generating a complement.
    • Analyzing sequences by using algorithms such as Smith-Waterman and Needleman-Wunsch.
    • Submitting sequence data to remote websites (for example, a Basic Local Alignment Search Tool [BLAST] website) for analysis.
    • Outputting sequence data in any supported file format, regardless of the input format.

    Microsoft Biology Foundation Evolves into New Toolkit: .NET Bio - Microsoft Research Connections Blog

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    PDFs on Docs.com


    I just realized that Docs.com has support for PDFs – so to test it out, I put up a copy of The Fourth Paradigm book MSR put out and the Silverlight viewer works great – no need for a plugin.  Try it out and see what you think….

    Here’s the link to the original blog post about the PDF support – the neat part was to see the example below – links to the original press release for Windows 1.0.

    Support for PDF files

    We want to help you share rich and meaningful content with your friends.

    Starting today, you may now upload PDF files directly to docs.com to share with your Facebook friends.

    Docs.com strives first and foremost to be a tremendous social experience. The ability to seamlessly create a document, invite your Facebook friends to view or edit, and receive feedback and comments is extremely powerful. As you may know, Office 2010 allows you to save your work to PDF. Given this great enhancement to Office, we think it only makes sense for Docs.com to allow you to share your PDF files with your friends to capture their feedback and comments. And, like the Office docs you can already share, we believe the social interaction that docs.com enables will enrich your PDF files.

    Over the past several months, we’ve built a Silverlight viewer that will allow you to read PDF files directly within docs.com. Although we’re in the early stages, with improvements on the horizon, we hope you’ll like the performance and fidelity of the in-browser PDF viewing experience. For a browser-based viewer, it renders documents beautifully. Here is an example.

    As always, please let us know if you experience any problems. If you do not have Silverlight installed, you may do so here. Or, if you choose not to install Silverlight, you can download and view any PDF on your PC or Mac.

    Search Improvements, PDF, User Generated Templates « Docs.com Blog

  • 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

    Pushing Data into WWT - via Excel and LCapi


    StickmanUrban2Last week the Worldwide Telescope team put out some tools to support astronomy and earth-system science with a strong emphasis on time-series support and 3-D rendering.  This includes the beta release of new tools and SDK for WWT.  They include:

    WWT Excel Add-in - Excel Add-in ribbon to load location and time-based data into the WWT visualization environment. Such data, for example, can include latitude, longitude, magnitude, and depth for earthquakes or latitude, longitude, and magnitude for disease outbreaks. By installing the WWT Add-In for Excel, you highlight and load your data into WWT in seconds.


    WWT Client Layer Control API (LCapi) – the API to send datasets (time series, images, 3D models, etc) to WWT Windows client to visualize as well controlling the visualization.   This is the API that the Excel Add-in was built on.

    SDK -  documentations, an interactive LCapi sample to demonstrate the LCapi commands,  and image processing tools and libraries to create tile pyramids for rendering in WorldWide Telescope – be it the entire sky or earth or even specific regions.

    It would be great to see folks use/test out the Excel Add-in and LCapi and let us know how it works…feedback and questions are appreciated

  • 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

    Geospatial data support in OData–Strawman proposal


    For those of you interested in Geospatial issues – check out the new strawman proposal for adding Geospatial to the OData protocol.

    Geospatial data support in OData

    This is a strawman proposal. Please challenge it in the OData mailing list.

    OData supports geospatial data types as a new set of primitives. They can be used just like any other primitives - passed in URLs as literals, as types and values for properties, projected in $select, and so on. Like other primitives, there is a set of canonical functions that can be used with them.

    The only restriction, as compared to other primitives, is that geospatial types may not be used as entity keys (see below).

    The rest of this spec goes into more detail about the geospatial type system that we support, how geospatial types are represented in $metadata, how their values are represented in Atom and JSON payloads, how they are represented in URLs, and what canonical functions are defined for them.

    Primitive Types

    Our type system is firmly rooted in the OGC Simple Features geometry type system. We diverge from their type system in only four ways.

    Figure 1: The OGC Simple Features Type Hierarchy


  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    BI Labs and Fuzzy Match for Excel


    Just saw that the Business Intelligence folks have setup BI Labs – It will be interesting to see all the prototypes and concepts as the come out and how they can be used for Scientific research/exploration.  I’m currently looking at the Fuzzy Lookup Add-in to see how it performs for environmental datasets.

    The Fuzzy Lookup Add-In for Excel was developed by Microsoft Research and performs fuzzy matching of textual data in Microsoft Excel. It can be used to identify fuzzy duplicate rows within a single table or to fuzzy join similar rows between two different tables. The matching is robust to a wide variety of errors including spelling mistakes, abbreviations, synonyms and added/missing data. For instance, it might detect that the rows “Mr. Andrew Hill”, “Hill, Andrew R.” and “Andy Hill” all refer to the same underlying entity, returning a similarity score along with each match. While the default configuration works well for a wide variety of textual data, such as product names or customer addresses, the matching may also be customized for specific domains or languages.

    BI Labs

    BI Labs is a collection of experimental business intelligence projects and useful applications made available from internal sources across Microsoft. These projects are prototypes and concepts, and there are no current plans to include them in Microsoft products. New ideas can pop up at any time, so please check back often to see what's new. We look forward to your feedback. Enjoy!

    BI Labs

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day guest post on Microsoft Research Connections Blog


    For Earth Day last Friday I did a guest blog post talking about the great collaboration we had with the Astronomers at the Univ. of Washington to create a Digital Planetarium powered by Worldwide Telescope.  Jonathan Fay (no relation) was the driving force behind on our side has been a great experience working with the UW folks, Andy Connolly, Phil Rosenfeld, and Jake Vanderplas.  If you ever have a chance to attend one of the UW Planetarium shows – I can honestly say you’ll be amazed. 

    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day

    Earth Day - How will you celebrate your environment?

    It may seem like an unlikely way to celebrate Earth Day, but this year, students at the University of Washington (UW) can mark the occasion with an exhilarating virtual trip away from our small blue planet, thanks to a unique collaboration between Microsoft Research Redmond and the UW Planetarium.


    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day - Microsoft Research Connections Blog

  • 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

    WWT and Kinect Demo at MIX–the universe at your fingertips.


    Ever wonder when you’d see the “Minority Report” beyond the silver screen?   Beyond the FX you need the technology that will enable the vision – with Kinect we finally have the technology and tools to enable the magic of software to enable the experience.

    At MIX11 the WWT team showed the integration of NUI  via Kinect and Worldwide Telescope and Jonathan Fay demo’d it during the keynote.  The curved three screen setup used at MIX11 really immerses you in the experience – talk about getting “lost in space” – this is the type of data exploration Microsoft Research envisions that every scientist/researcher could use. 

    Check out the reports/videos….

    Don’t forget to sign up for the Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010


    More OData support by products…really neat to see…

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010

    I’m pleased to announce the beta of the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 is now available!

    What the heck is an OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010?
    I’m glad you asked. The purpose of this project is to help developers work with data from Team Foundation Server on multiple types of devices (such as smartphones and tablets) and operating systems. OData provides a great solution for this goal, since the existing Team Foundation Server 2010 object model only works for applications developed on the Windows platform. The Team Foundation Server 2010 application tier also exposes a number of web services, but these are not supported interfaces and interaction with these web services directly may have unintended side effects. OData, on the other hand, is accessible from any device and application stack which supports HTTP requests. As such, this OData service interacts with the client object model in the SDK (it does not manipulate any web services directly).

    What is OData?
    OData exposes a way to work with data over the web. If you’re new to OData, I suggest spending a few minutes at http://www.odata.org/ reading about this evolving standard. It uses interfaces similar to REST, so that you can programmatically consume and manipulate data from any device or application stack which supports HTTP requests. DPE has been working with several organizations (such as PayPal, Facebook, and Netflix) and product groups to enable OData where it makes sense to do so. Team Foundation Server was an obvious choice since it not only allows developers to extend TFS in new and interesting ways, but it also allows us to further showcase support for this evolving standard with the developer community at large.

    Can I see a demo?
    Of course! I filmed a video for Channel 9 which shows you how to get started using this service. When you’re ready to get started, just download the beta which includes full documentation. The service can be easily hosted in Windows Azure to front-end your own Team Foundation Server instance, or if you want to use this with CodePlex we’ve already hosted this service for you at https://codeplexodata.cloudapp.net/. As long as you have contributor rights on any CodePlex project backed by Team Foundation Server 2010 you can start making OData calls immediately. We also have included a sample Windows Phone 7 application, and WebMatrix Helpers, which show you how to get started building applications which consume this service.

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 - Brian Keller - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    New update of Microsoft ICE– Cool video to panorama feature


    The latest update to Microsoft ICE – Image Composite Editor is available and it has a feature I’ve been waiting for – being able to create a panoramic stitched images from video…now you can take videos with your cellphone or Flip Video and easily create large seamless images.

    Here’s a panoramic stitch I made while in Copenhagen, just selected new video panorama and cropped it…


    You can also do more interesting panoramas by selecting objects you’d like to appear in the panorama – here are two “motion summaries” of the same sets of images – they give you a different feel of the action.

    Dozier Stitch


    new features:

    • Stitching From Video
    • Automatic Vignette Correction
    • Improved Blending
    • and More Smile 

    Matt Uyttendaele ICE lead has more details on the new release on his latest blog post.

    Microsoft ICE update–video to panorama, lens vignette, improved blending

    We are pleased to announce our latest update to Microsoft ICE.  The download is available by following these links:  ICE for 32 bit Windows  -or-  ICE for 64 bit Windows

    After installing, you will find some exciting new features.

    Stitching From Video

    The first is that ICE can now automatically stitch a panorama directly from video.  One fun use of video panoramas is “motion summaries,” like this result that ICE produced:

    Ski jump 4

    In this video the photographer was panning the camera to follow the motion of the snowboarder.  I used ICE to indicate “Start” and “End” points, and I gave a few hints about which video frames were interesting. The motion tracking and final composition was then done automatically by ICE.  You can access this feature by selecting “New Video Panorama” from the File menu.  This will bring up the Video Panorama dialog (shown to the right), where you can play or single-step through videos in order to choose start and end points. You can also optionally draw regions of interest on individual video frames to ensure that certain elements are present in the final composition. ICE supports most common video formats (avi, mov, wmv, and more).  Of course the results can also be uploaded to Photosynth. Note that this particular feature is only available for ICE running on Windows 7 (for other versions of Windows this menu item will be disabled).


    And More

    In addition to the above main features, we have also made a few other enhancements:

      • An options dialog to control scratch disk location and ICE memory use.

      • Enable perspective projection for wide field-of-view panoramas

      • 1/3 less disk usage when stitching large data sets

      • ICE is now more robust to corrupt metadata in source photos

    Microsoft ICE update–video to panorama, lens vignette, improved blending | HD View

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Free Microsoft Biology Framework Workshop at RENCI in North Carolina April 19-20


    Really good event to go to if you’d like to hear more about MBF…

    Microsoft Biology FoundationWe recently posted a preview of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) for development evaluation purposes. Now, we're following up with a special, free, two-day MBF workshop from April 19 to 20, 2011, at the Renaissance Computing Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, hosted by the Microsoft Biology Initiative. The workshop includes a quick introduction to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, the Microsoft .NET Framework, C#, and the MBF Object Model. Plus, our hands-on lab will give you the opportunity to write a sample application that employs the file parsers, algorithms, and web connectors in MBF. For complete details about the event, or to register, please see the MBF Workshop website.

    Free MBF Workshop at RENCI in North Carolina - Microsoft Research Connections Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Holiday Card–Seasons Greeting


    Holiday Card2Here’s my Holiday Card for 2010 – put together in 5 minutes using www.freeholidayphoto.com – thanks to Windows and Southwest….

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Climate Prediction Leverages Home Computers for Weather At Home


    I posted an article on the MSR External Research blog about a project MSR has sponsored for the past few years – looking to see how climate change could effect regional weather.  See how you can donate idle cycles and more about the work on Weather At Home from the Climate Predication.Net folks as well as Phil Mote at Oregon State.  Climate Prediction Leverages Home Computers

  • 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.

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