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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.

  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Explore advances in artificial intelligence—and much more

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    Tune in to the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit

    On July 8–9, more than 350 academic researchers and educators will join Microsoft researchers and engineers for the sixteenth annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, Washington. The annual Faculty Summit is one of those rare events that brings together a cross-disciplinary collection of academic and industry talent, focused on both advancing the state of the art in computer science and using computing to solve real-world problems. And while attendance at the in-person event is by invitation only, anyone with an Internet connection can catch key portions of the summit at the online event page.   

    Our live coverage will include the opening day keynote address by Jeannette Wing, corporate VP at Microsoft Research, who was recently honored by the Association for Computing Machinery for transforming the way the world views computing with her seminal views on computational thinking. She will focus on future trends in computing and give us a keen understanding of the innovation that starts with basic scientific research.

    High on this year’s list of topics is artificial intelligence. Not too long ago, AI was the stuff of science fiction. Today, it’s moving from the research lab to everyday reality. Also on day one of the summit, online viewers will be treated to a panel discussion on “Progress in AI: Myths, Realities, and Aspirations,” moderated by Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research and featuring panelists Chris Bishop of Microsoft Research, Oren Etzioni of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Fei-Fei Li of Stanford University, Michael Littman of Brown University and Josh Tenenbaum of MIT.

    On day two, our webcast will feature Monica Lam, professor of Computer Science at Stanford University on A Revolution Against Big-Brother Social Networks,” which focuses on an open social movement led by Omlet, an open messaging service and distributed computing platform that spun out of four years of research at Stanford. We will also bring you the event’s closing keynote from Peter Lee, corporate VP at Microsoft Research.

    We hope as you watch these online webcasts that you will not only gain insights into the technological impact, but the scientific and societal implications of all these trends in computing.

    So fire up your web browser and tune in to the 2015 Faculty Summit.

    —Harold Javid, Director and General Chair of Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2015

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  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Top student research recognized at ACM banquet

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    Students dream of attending major conferences, where they can present their work and interact with top researchers. For many, however, this dream remains just that, as funds for student attendance are in short supply. Microsoft Research receives many requests to fund conferences each year, and organizers continually tell us that their most pressing need is funding for student travel. We recognize that students are the next generation, ensuring the ongoing vitality of computer science and providing energy and new ideas.

    Students present their poster to experts at the SC14 conference.
    Students present their poster to experts at the SC14 conference.

    Recognizing the value of student participation, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) started a program in 2003 for student travel. The ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), sponsored by Microsoft Research, offers a unique forum for undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research before a panel of judges and attendees at well-known ACM-sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. The competition takes place at 26 participating conferences, including SuperComputing, CHI, SIGGRAPH, ICSE and the Grace Hopper Celebration, and it sponsors more than 200 students.

    Much more than just a travel funding program, the ACM SRC provides participants a chance to meet other students and to get direct feedback on their work from experts. Let’s hear it from the students themselves:

    Tharindu Rusira“ACM SRC was a premier opportunity to showcase our research to an audience of expert researchers. It is not only about science and research but about communication and presentation skills. It is an all-round experience that a student researcher should not miss.”

    —Tharindu Rusira, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (CGO 2015)

    Snigdha Chaturvedi“Participating in SRC was a wonderful experience. It gave me an opportunity to interact and present my work to a broad and diverse audience not limited to my research field. It was fun!”

    —Snigdha Chaturvedi, University of Maryland (Grace Hopper Celebration 2014)

    Matthew Loring“The SRC was a very valuable and enjoyable experience. The insights I gained from judges and other attendees broadened my understanding of how the problems I worked on fit into the broader picture of the programming languages community. ”

    —Matthew Loring, Cornell University (PLDI 2014)

    Kyoungwon Seo“Presenting my research in the presence of other students and leading researchers was extraordinary. It gave me a perfect opportunity to practice pitching and defending my own research outcomes. Most of all, time with other students was really amazing!”

    —Kyoungwon Seo, Hanyang University, Korea (CHI 2014)

    2015 ACM Student Research Competition finalists with ACM President Alex Wolf, Director of Microsoft Research Outreach P. Anandan and ACM CEO John White
    2015 ACM Student Research Competition finalists with ACM President Alex Wolf, Director of Microsoft Research Outreach P. Anandan and ACM CEO John White

    This year’s banquet took place on Saturday June 20 in San Francisco. The six finalists are listed below, with links to their winning papers:

    Graduate category

    Undergraduate category

    The judges had a hard time ranking these papers, as all were of excellent quality. Moreover, many of them had special significance to us. For example, Lu Xiao’s paper, "Detecting and Preventing the Architectural Roots of Bugs," treats a topic much on the minds of people at a company like Microsoft. Likewise, Shannon Lubetich’s paper, "Eve Eat Dust Mop: Measuring Syntactic Development in Child Language with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning," centered on machine—and childhood—learning, areas of intense interest to researchers both in academia and industry.

    We congratulate the winning students who have achieved much in getting to the top of the competition. We also thank the organizers and judges, who make the experience so worthwhile each year. We are proud to be associated with this program, which changes the lives of so many.

    Judith Bishop, Director of Computer Science, Microsoft Research; Laurie Williams, Professor and Acting Department Head, North Carolina State University Department of Computer Science

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  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Announcing the Microsoft Academic Graph: Let the research begin!

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    The published research generated by the global research community constitutes a diary of humankind’s scientific achievements. As this output grows year after year, it creates new opportunities for further inquiry—and new challenges in dealing with the volume and complexity of the information. As a result, scholarly big data has been the focus of a growing number of recent research workshops, such as:

    For our part, Microsoft Research announced last summer that Microsoft Academic Search was evolving from a research project into full-scale production powered by Bing (see Making Cortana the Researcher’s Dream Assistant). In addition to integrating scholarly publications directly into Bing search results and Cortana’s notification system, we are taking full advantage of Bing’s capacity to crawl the web and generate structured information from unstructured text. Our Academic Graph of research publications, authors, journals, conferences, universities and fields of study has grown significantly, more than doubling the number of publication records of the previous iteration and offering nearly three times the number of citations between publications.

    While our graph continues to grow, today we are announcing the release of a snapshot of this graph for the research community, in an effort to jumpstart new avenues of research at web scale. The Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) can be used immediately. The data is stored as a set of text files, one for each entity in the graph, and one for each relationship type between the entities (paper-paper citations, author-paper, paper-topic and so forth).

    Professor Jevin West, of the University of Washington’s Information School, calls the MAG a game changer. “There has never been a release of bibliographic data at this scale,” he says. “It will allow researchers to study the structure of scientific knowledge, build better algorithms for mapping the ever-expanding corpus and improving information retrieval. I have been waiting for news like this for years. Let the research begin!”    

    You can download the MAG data directly from Microsoft Azure, or you can mount it from Azure blob storage directly into your own Azure virtual machine. Due to the size of the data, researchers may find it advantageous to use Microsoft’s scalable cloud infrastructure, and to this end, we are encouraging researchers to also apply for an Azure for Research award to support their research efforts. Simply include #academicgraph in your award submission—the next deadline is August 15, 2015.

    As Professor West says, let the research begin!

    Alex Wade, Director of Scholarly Communications, Microsoft Research

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