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With labs around the globe, Microsoft Research is ideally positioned to partner with leading academic and research institutes worldwide. One of the latest examples of this international cooperation is the Madrid Joint Research Center, a collaborative venture between Microsoft Research and the IMDEA Software Institute. Now we are pleased to announce the center’s inaugural activity: a software workshop that takes place April 2 to 4, 2014, at IMDEA Software Institute’s campus in Madrid.
The Microsoft Research and IMDEA Software Institute Collaboration Workshop will bring together researchers from both partners and will focus on advances in verification, programming languages, and security. Thirty-six researchers and 20 students are involved in the collaboration, and, to date, some 20 papers have resulted from their joint work, with more in preparation.At a workshop that emphasizes collaboration, it is heartening to hear about joint work that has been completed, as well as proposals for new initiatives. A prime example of the first kind is will be described in the keynote by Alexy Gotsman from IMDEA. He will talk about a new framework and set of proofs that tighten up the semantics of modern databases underlying large-scale Internet services that guarantee immediate availability—a joint project from Microsoft Research, INRIA, and the University of Oxford. Said Manuel Hermenegildo, director of the institute, “Following the workshop, the center will broaden its reach to work with Microsoft in the following categories: cloud storage systems and mobile platforms; cloud/web security/malware detection; cryptography and privacy; concurrency, parallelism, and memory models; and programming languages and verification.” This will, we hope, be the first of many such workshops at the center, providing researchers and students a forum to discuss their collaborative work on hot topics in software. I am pleased to organize this joint research center with Georges Gonthier from Microsoft Research and Manuel Hermenegildo and Gilles Barthe from IMDEA Software Institute.
Learn more about the upcoming workshop.—Judith Bishop, Director of Computer Science, Microsoft Research ConnectionsLearn more
As I prepare for the upcoming eScience in the Cloud workshop, I keeping coming back to what might sound like an obvious statement—even in these times when we’re trying to tackle hugely complex issues, like understanding climate change, and we are coping with heterogeneous data in volumes not previously encountered: as with life, science always finds a way. Okay, I’m paraphrasing from Jurassic Park, but you take my meaning.
Facing these complex issues will involve working together—multiple research disciplines collaborating across multiple institutions, across multiple sectors of business, nonprofit, and government. A tall order? Certainly—but, with cooperation and communication, one that is tractable (notice I did not say easy). I hope to see that conversation continue at this workshop.
Yes, we are coping with massive data sets and have the means to collect and share them. Processing big data takes massive compute power; fortunately, compute power grows and becomes increasingly accessible every day. Visualizing data for exploration is critical—and never have I seen more tools to visualize and explore data than of late.
The reason I call this blog “Getting back to first principles” is that many of the topics we will discuss at the eScience in the Cloud 2014 workshop were topics also discussed at Microsoft SciData 2004, our original eScience event, held some 10 years ago.
Sure, the stakes and the availability of tools and compute resources seem higher (don’t they always?), yet the topics and goals are much the same: how we can use technology (in this case, the cloud) to expedite scientific discoveries. This is why, when my co-chair and colleague, Dennis Gannon (formerly an academic attendee) pulled the event together, he and I reviewed feedback from previous eScience events and focused on answering these fundamental questions: how is Microsoft going to help? and what resources can we make available?
Like SciData 2004, the upcoming event will feature not only academics discussing their solutions to compute problems in science, but also Microsoft researchers from a variety of disciplines talking about how you can use their tools to reach your objectives. Even the product teams are becoming involved. They will demonstrate how some of their new offerings—many freely available—can help researchers achieve their goals.
I hope you will join us April 29–30, at the Microsoft Research Lab in Redmond, Washington, to find out how to further your research in the cloud-computing age. Learn more about the event and register.
If you can arrive a day earlier, we’re holding a one-day training event that teaches how to use Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform, for research. This April 28 event is part of the Windows Azure for Research program.
—Kristin Tolle, Director of Environmental Science Infrastructure Development, Microsoft Research Connections
The global Windows Azure for Research program has been going strong for almost six months, and we’ve been delighted by the response from the researchers around the world who have eagerly attended our in-person training events. Today, we are pleased to announce an online version of the training.
Now any researcher can learn how to harness the power of Windows Azure—an open and flexible global cloud platform that supports any language, tool, or framework, and is ideally suited to the needs of researchers across disciplines. Think of it as your personal, data-crunching robot in the cloud.
The in-person training classes have taught hundreds of researchers how to take advantage of the computational and collaborative power of Windows Azure for data-intensive investigations. The online class provides a condensed version of this training, customizable for a personalized learning plan and complemented by the in-depth content in our webinar series.
The online materials now available include six videos, which range from 10 to 20 minutes long. Together, they provide a comprehensive but highly efficient way to learn how to use Windows Azure for research. Anyone with an Internet connection can access these free training resources—anywhere, anytime, on demand.
A live class is still recommended as the most effective way to learn how to use Windows Azure for research because it provides the benefits of an experienced trainer, interactive dialogue, and greater depth. But not everyone can attend a class, so we hope the online course will enable even more researchers to explore how cloud computing can accelerate their research. For those interested in attending an in-person training course, please see the training schedule for 2014.
The training course, online or in-person, is intended specifically for active scientists who are interested in coding in a modern computing context, as well as for computer scientists who are working with such researchers.
Before you race off to view the online training videos, I want to remind you about the Windows Azure for Research Awards, which offer a one-year allocation of Windows Azure storage and compute resources to winning proposals. The deadline for submitting proposals for the next round of awards is April 15, so don’t procrastinate.
—Dan Fay, Director, Science Research Engagements, Microsoft Research