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A global perspective is informed by knowledge gathered from around the world, and Sept. 16 in Rome, Microsoft Research had an opportunity to exchange information about the scientific foundations of the most recent computer-science technologies from an Italian point of view.
One in a series of similar events, the Italian Faculty Days gathering was attended by leading researchers, faculty, and other IT professionals from Microsoft Research, academia, and private industry. The event was held in the historical heart of the Roman capital, at Palazzo Valentini, headquarters of provincia di Roma since 1873.
The goal of this event was to leverage breakthroughs in scientific computing to advance research. Presentations delved into research in the ever-evolving areas of cloud computing, high-performance computing (HPC), and technical computing. Broad themes addressed included research directions presented by Microsoft Research, novel research results, academic curricula for faculty, and current industry investments.
Sessions on cloud computing covered cloud computing at Microsoft and VENUS-C, using the power of the cloud to do science on the web, teaching cloud computing and Windows Azure, reducing energy consumption in cloud systems, and the opportunities and challenges of sharing information in the cloud. Sessions focused on HPC included developing biochemistry applications in the Microsoft HPC 2008 environment and real-time reconstruction on an HPC cluster for 3-D Computed Tomography applied to large cultural-heritage objects. Other presentations included F# for scientists and how algorithmic-systems biology propels nutrigenomics.
In talking to the attendees, Judith Bishop, director of Computer Science for the External Research division of Microsoft Research Redmond, found they were keen to have the opportunity to meet during such a broad forum. Her visit to the Centro per le Applicazioni della Televisione e delle Tecniche di Istruzione a Distanza (Center for the Applications of Television and Distance Learning Techniques; CATTID) at Sapienza University of Rome revealed a wide range of applications directed between the cloud and human interfaces. CATTID is directed by Ugo Ceipidor, and its six laboratories are coordinated by Carlo Medaglia, who holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric physics from University of Washington. Apart from projects on the Internet of Things, Near Field Communication, and a mapping project with Microsoft using Windows Azure, Professor Medaglia is working on new models for weather prediction that eventually will migrate from clusters to the cloud.
Shown in the picture are (L to R) Francesco Visconti and Prof Carlo Medaglia (CATTID) and Mauro Minella (DPE Microsoft Italy) who organized the Academic Days
In addition to thanking all attendees and presenters, I'd like to thank Paul Watson, who co-chaired the conference with me. In addition to being a professor of computer science at Newcastle University, Watson is the director of both the North East Regional e-Science Centre and the Informatics Research Institute.
-Fabrizio Gagliardi, director, External Research EMEA, a division of Microsoft Research