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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

    Celebrating the first Microsoft Research Korea • Japan Academic Day

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    Looking out the windows of Microsoft Korea’s headquarters, I enjoy a magnificent sight: Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul’s most recognizable landmark, which spreads below me in its centuries-old splendor. Another inspiring sight adorns the office walls around me: posters describing research projects from Korea and Japan, each project a result of the researchers’ collaboration with Microsoft Research. These posters are tangible reminders that we are celebrating the first Microsoft Research Korea • Japan Academic Day.

    View from Microsoft Korea's headquarters, showing the Gyeongbok Palace and capturing a sliver of a banner announcing the first-ever Microsoft Research Korea • Japan Academic Day.
    View from Microsoft Korea's headquarters, showing the Gyeongbok Palace and capturing a sliver of a banner announcing the first-ever Microsoft Research Korea • Japan Academic Day.

    For the past decade, Microsoft Research has funded select research proposals from universities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Each year, we’ve celebrated our collaborative efforts by hosting separate Korean and Japanese Days, events that shared the fruits of our joint research and solidified connections with and among Asian academics. These events strengthened our relationships in both countries, and this year, wanting to embrace a more open and international atmosphere in research and academia, we’ve combined the two. Thus on May 7, 2015, 120 academic researchers and distinguished guests—93 from Korea and 27 from Japan—joined with 22 computer scientists from Microsoft Research to share, learn, and get inspired by recent findings in advanced research.

    Nearly 150 research scientists attended the Microsoft Research Korea • Japan Academic Day.
    Nearly 150 research scientists attended the Korea • Japan Academic Day.

    The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Microsoft Korea General Manager James Kim, after which Hsiao-Wuen Hon, chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development (ARD) Group and managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, shared Microsoft’s views on innovation and the company’s ultimate goal of empowering everyone to do more and achieve more. Next, P. Anandan, managing director of Microsoft Research Outreach, discussed how his group works with the academic community to foster research collaboration, talent development, academic exchange, and curriculum innovation, drawing examples from the notable research that is conducted in Korea and Japan. The welcoming ceremony concluded with Tim Pan, director of Microsoft Research Outreach Asia, introducing the Call for Proposal program, an initiative that empowers academics to collaborate with researchers beyond Microsoft Research, and expressing his optimism about such collaboration opportunities around the globe.

    Following the opening, six computer scientists from Microsoft Research—Qiang Huo, Steve Lin, Masaaki Fukumoto, Tao Mei, Chin-Yew Lin, and Ming Zhou—described their recent work in optical character recognition and image recognition. They presented captivating demos of research prototypes and displayed some of the most popular recent Microsoft Research products, giving attendees a sense of the creativity that takes place at in the Microsoft labs.

    At noon, while enjoying a light lunch, we had an interesting two-hour poster and demo session that featured 25 projects from Korea and 10 from Japan, each project presented by its justifiably proud owners. The session featured a competitive element, as the Korean projects vied for three prizes and the Japanese projects competed for four.

    Lunchtime was all the more enjoyable thanks to the poster and demo presentations.
    Lunchtime was all the more enjoyable thanks to the poster and demo presentations.

    In the afternoon, the guests broke into eight topical groups: Search Mining; Graphics, Vision, and Interactions; Speech; Security; Wireless and Networks; Human-Computer Interaction; Systems; and Social Impact. Personnel from Microsoft Research hosted each group, while professors from Korea and Japan delivered talks related to their work. Thanks to the joint nature of the event, the sessions had a global perspective and provided guests with a bounty of research and provocative academic debate.

    Thought-provoking breakout groups let researchers explore topics in depth.
    Thought-provoking breakout groups let researchers explore topics in depth.

    After a full day of academic rigor, guests relaxed at a banquet, which culminated in the awards for the poster and demo session. The three Korean prizes went to:

    • Seong-Whan Lee of Korea University, for Development of Brain Signal Processing Algorithms based on Deep Learning for Decoding User Intentions to Control a Lower Limb Exoskeleton
    • Jin Bae Park of Yonsei University, for Interactive Flight Experience Simulator Using Head-Mounted Display, Multicopter, and Kinect
    • Uichin Lee of KAIST, for Swim Train

    The four Japanese prizes were awarded to:

    • Yoshihiro Kawahara of the University of Tokyo, for Using Inkjet Printers for the Fabrication of Electrical Circuit Boards for Rapid Prototyping
    • Graham Neubig of Nara Institute of Science and Technology, for Semantic Parsing for Ambiguous Input through Paraphrasing and Verification
    • Hideyuki Sawada of Kagawa University, for A Study of Displaying Tactile/Haptic Sensations Using the Micro-Vibrations Generated by SMA wires
    • Toshihiko Yamasaki of the University of Tokyo, for A Navigation System for Media Generation by Consumers

    Leading a toast to the guests and a successful event: Microsoft Korea General Manager James Kim, Microsoft ARD Group Chairman & Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia Hsiao-Wuen Hon, and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Outreach P. Anandan
    Leading a toast to the guests and a successful event, from the left: Microsoft Korea General Manager James Kim, Microsoft ARD Group Chairman & Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia Hsiao-Wuen Hon, and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Outreach
    P. Anandan

    Throughout dinner, guests shared casual and meaningful chats, strengthening the relationships that foster cooperative innovation and discovery. Seated among seasoned professors who boast long-term collaborations with Microsoft Research were many young researchers—some of them former interns who now work full-time for Microsoft, others rising stars in academia who can look forward to upcoming internships with Microsoft Research. Whatever their age and wherever their careers take them, we look forward to their continued collaboration with us, as we continue to drive the research and talent ecosystem that connects Asian academia and Microsoft Research.

    Miran Lee, Principle Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research

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  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Microsoft issues RFP for Surface Hub

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    This past January, Microsoft revealed to the world Microsoft Surface Hub, a state-of-the-art, large-format, pen and touch computing device—think of it as a digital whiteboard on steroids—that empowers our enterprise customers to collaborate, brainstorm, and get insight into their data.

    This product brings together the very best of Microsoft capabilities, combining first-rate hardware in display, touch, and sensing, with a custom edition of Windows 10 specifically designed for communal scenarios, with integrated key productivity applications and services.

    How would you harness the potential of Microsoft Surface Hub?

    With Surface Hub, we are launching a completely new category of computing using the large screen for group productivity. This is a relatively young field with lots of greenfield opportunity, which is why we invite the academic research community to join us in advancing it. 

    Surface Hub has its roots in Perceptive Pixel, a company dedicated to multi-touch interfaces that formed out of my academic research at New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Here at Microsoft, participation in and support of the research community has always been a core part of our culture even as we’ve advanced on our commercial mission. This RFP exemplifies the academic-industry collaboration that is a hallmark of Microsoft Research.

    On behalf of Microsoft Research and Microsoft Devices Group, I am thrilled to announce an RFP that will award a Surface Hub and up to US$25,000 to selected research proposals from qualified academic institutions.

    We look forward to receiving submissions in a range of domains, including core HCI techniques (such as inking and sketch-based interfaces, pen and touch, large-screen interaction, proxemics, and multi-modal interfaces), collaboration, information visualization, and technology in education/training.

    But what’s really great about Surface Hub is just how broadly its impact can reach. We are interested in proposals from any field, especially those that demonstrate alignment to Microsoft’s mission of productivity, and we expect rigorous work leading to novel contributions.

    To learn more about the RFP, please visit Surface Hub for Research. The deadline for proposal submissions is June 12.

    Jeff Han, General Manager for Microsoft Surface Hub

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  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Tune in for the latest on devices and networking

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    Devices and Networking Summit 2015

    Tomorrow, May 12, is the first full day of the Microsoft Research Devices and Networking Summit, which brings together more than 200 experts to discuss cutting-edge developments, potential breakthroughs, and ongoing concerns in today’s evermore connected world.  An event of this significance deserves broad participation, which is why we are thrilled to announce that Wednesday, May 13, we will broadcast key speeches, interviews, and demos from the Summit. That’s right—some of the best of the conference will be available online. Just tune in this Wednesday.

    The Wednesday webcast will explore such topics as the design of the next generation of connected devices, including a keynote address from renowned materials scientist Sir Richard Friend. And we’ll provide an in-depth look at how inexpensive, but powerful, platforms are enabling schoolchildren to build their own prototypes—and generating excitement about STEM subjects.

    You’ll also get insights into developments in spectrum issuesthink next-gen Wi-Fiand learn about Mobility First, a proposed new architecture of the Internet.  Meanwhile, those of you who are concerned with security and privacy—that would be everyone, right?—will get advice from two of the leading experts in this fraught area.  And if those anxieties raise your blood pressure, you’ll take heart when you learn what’s new in the world of wearable, connected health monitors.

    Interested in how the cloud plays into this realm of interconnections? We have just the keynote for you, as Microsoft Research distinguished scientist Victor Bahl envisions a future in which “cloudlets” provide seamless connections.

    And what’s a Microsoft Research conference without demos? Unthinkable. So we’ll feature deep dives into four “bleeding-edge” demo projects.  Throughout the entire broadcast, you’ll see firsthand the value of industry-academia collaboration, as researchers combine their unique strengths to achieve outcomes that are far greater than the sum of the parts.

    Speaking of industry-academia collaboration, we'll also provide information about the Surface Hub for Research RFP (request for proposal). This RFP is a golden opportunity for qualified academic researchers to create innovative applications that exploit the capabilities of the Surface Hub’s huge, multi-sensing, pen-and-touch display.

    All of this and more will be available on May 13. So plug in, switch on, and enjoy!

    Ant Rowstron and Steve Hodges, Co-Chairs of the Microsoft Devices and Networking Summit

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