Download Research Tools
Late last year, Microsoft Research, in partnership with Bing, Microsoft's decision engine, introduced a private beta testing of Microsoft Web N-gram Services. The goal of Microsoft Web N-gram Services is to support research conducted using large data sets, particularly to engage the academic community in the area of data-driven research. This week, during the World Wide Web Conference (WWW2010), Microsoft Research and Bing will announce expanded access of the Microsoft Web N-gram Services beta to include professors and students at accredited colleges and universities worldwide.
The technologies included in Microsoft Web N-gram Services have been noted for their ability to assist in writing applications specific to search, translation, and speech processing. One of the immediate scenarios made possible by the technology is the ability to understand misspelled words and ungrammatical sentences by using the power of the sheer volume of language data, for any natural language that has lots of data published on the web. From a development perspective, this reduces the need for experts to develop grammars for all languages; users who conduct searches or network on the Internet will be enabled to share information in free form with stronger understanding and clarity. This is made possible by using predictions to contextualize the initial words in the query.
As the technology and corresponding development efforts advance, Microsoft Web N-gram Services are expected to provide an accurate, consistent user experience, such as helping people learn another language or search for information with queries that are spoken rather than typed.
Microsoft Web N-gram Services will be demonstrated in the Microsoft booth during WWW2010.
Call for Papers and Proposals
The evolution of Microsoft Web N-gram Services is the result of ongoing collaboration. If you're passionate about advancing data-driven research, here are two upcoming opportunities to get involved:
For those of you attending WWW2010, I look forward to meeting you. And for those of you planning to participate in the upcoming calls for papers and proposals, I'm eager to work with you.
Evelyne Viegas, senior research program manager, Microsoft Research
It’s official: With today’s launch, F# makes its formal debut as a part of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Although F# has proved its ability to make a significant positive impact on the lives of professional programmers and others, the inclusion of version 2.0 of F# in Microsoft’s development tool firmly establishes its status as a major .NET programming language. Already popular, F# extends the .NET platform by offering a productive language for developers working in technical, algorithmic, parallel, and data-rich areas. F# 2.0 is the first supported version of the language and includes new, improved features.
F# provides type-safe, succinct, efficient and expressive functional programming on the .NET platform. It is a simple and pragmatic language, and has particular strengths in data-oriented programming, parallel I/O programming, parallel CPU programming, scripting and algorithmic development. It offers access to a huge .NET library and tools base and comes with a strong set of Visual Studio development tools. This combination has been so successful that the language is now a first class language in Visual Studio 2010, and can also be used on Mac, Linux and other platforms. F# originates from Microsoft Research, Cambridge, and the MSR F# team, led by Don Syme, which continues to partner with the Microsoft Developer Division.
Microsoft Research has served as the incubation center for the development of F#, which began seven years ago. From the beginning, Microsoft has worked closely with members of the global research community to ensure optimal development of the language. One collaborator is R. Nigel Horspool, professor of computer science at the University of Victoria, whose courses expose students to different programming paradigms. He lauds the ability of F# and Visual Studio to simplify and expedite the programming process in various ways, including helping the programmer remember the methods attached to different data types and how to use those methods. F# programs, he says, tend to be much shorter and can be used by programmers more quickly. And the fewer lines of code required, of course, the higher the productivity.
In his classroom, Horspool isn’t the only one impressed with F#. His top students love it, he reports, and are amazed at what their programs can accomplish with only a small amount of code.
As a productive language for typed functional and object-oriented programming on the .NET platform, F# is being adopted across a number of industry verticals, where it is particularly useful for companies that need to conduct algorithmic analysis of large quantities of business information. Known for its ability to make it easier for analysts to experiment with different data and derive analysis of a higher quality, F# has been selected as the language of choice by major banks in the United Kingdom and, as a result, is influencing the curricula for business and finance students at top colleges in London.
Judith Bishop, director, Computer Science, Microsoft External Research
Last week I had the opportunity to lead a discussion on The Fourth Paradigm with attendees at an e-science and research data management conference. Thanks to technology, specifically Microsoft Office Live Meeting, I was able to participate from Redmond even though the conference was held at the University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany. Since its founding in 1991, the university has established itself as an important member of the scientific community not only in the region of Brandenburg and Berlin, but also internationally. Last week's conference was attended by scientists representing different disciplines, including librarians, data managers and scientific software developers. In my talk I called out Jim Gray’s seven key actions, four of which address the funding of generic tools for data management, with three focused on the coming revolution in scholarly communication and the need for digital libraries with content that’s both data and text. Jim’s call to action set a useful context for the later discussions in the meeting.
Tony Hey, corporate vice president, External Research, Microsoft Research