Microsoft Research Connections Blog

The Microsoft Research Connections blog shares stories of collaborations with computer scientists at academic and scientific institutions to advance technical innovations in computing, as well as related events, scholarships, and fellowships.

Students develop analytics engine for the Lab of Things

Students develop analytics engine for the Lab of Things

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Lab of Things (LoT)The Lab of Things (LoT) may sound like something you’d find in a sci-fi movie, but it is a lot more practical than that: it’s a research platform that makes it easy to deploy interconnected devices in multiple homes, then share your individual research data with other investigators, turning it all into a large-scale study. The LoT thus enhances field studies in such diverse disciplines as healthcare, energy management, and home automation. It not only makes deployment and monitoring easier—it also simplifies the analysis of experimental data and promotes sharing of data, code, and study participants, further lowering the barrier to evaluating ideas in a diverse set of environments where people live, work, or play.

One key to the success of the LoT is the involvement of the academic research community in developing extensions to the LoT infrastructure. These extensions can be in the form of drivers, applications, and cloud components such as analytics.

Shortly after we released the LoT in July of this year, a group of students from University College London (UCL) started poking around the code and got inspired: they’ve developed an analytics engine to scrutinize data collected from experiments and research applications running on the LoT. And this is no slouch of an engine, either. Among other things, it:

  • Permits easy integration of different platforms beyond the LoT, including HomeOS and the Internet of Things, allowing them to easily send device data to the engine.
  • Provides analytics for data collected from various field studies and for a wide range of use-case scenarios.
  • Offers HTTP-based APIs, which makes it connect to an internal/external client—a Windows 8 application, for example.
  • Employs a simple interface, enabling users to easily query and analyze data.

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The analytical models provided by the UCL Lab of Things Analytics Engine allow the user to evaluate usage patterns of devices, compare data sets, and find anomalies. The engine also has the capability to run custom R scripts, thereby enabling users to employ statistical models beyond those directly implemented in the engine.

If you are interested in the LoT and running data analytics using the analytics engine, visit the Lab of Things site and the analytics engine CodePlex site

Arjmand Samuel, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections

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  • I am very interested in reading about LOT; however Silverlight says it does not support 64 bit versions. Thus I am not able to see what you want to show.

  • Thanks for your interest in the Lab of Things! The video is also hosted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/qnRu5reX3S4.

  • My granddaughter is a junior in high school in Lancaster, Ma. She read Jennifer Tour Chayes' article on the possibilities of Social Scientists. She is leaning towards Psycology in some new way and needs to talk to someone who could give her ideas of some course lines she could pursue. I started researching for and found you. Your company sounds so stimulating I wondered if she could talk to someone and possibly visit. She was an A student last year with excelerated courses.  She is a seasoned gymnast/cheerleader as well as active in sports and volunteer work.   I really appreciate any help you might be able to give. Thank you. Grandma pacpac42@comcast.net

  • Thank you for the interest you have taken in Microsoft Research and your granddaughter’s future—she is fortunate to have you on her side. We have a few suggestions:

    1. Check out DigiGirlz (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/programs/digigirlz/default.aspx), a Microsoft program that gives high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.
    2. Review the resources and networking opportunities available through our partner, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (http://www.ncwit.org/), including their Aspirations in Computing program (https://www.aspirations.org/).
    3. Suggest to your granddaughter that she talk with her school counselor for guidance as she explores possible fields to pursue in her continuing education.

    Regards, Microsoft Research Connections team

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