PDC #3 - MSR Keynote - Wow!

PDC #3 - MSR Keynote - Wow!

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That's all I can say. I've just come out of the Microsoft Research (MSR) keynote given by Rick Rashid at PDC where the attendees were given a tour through some incredible technology innovations. He did a pass through (full details here):

  • Highlighting the ability to take massive data feeds and make sense of them, the first presenter ran through some environmental analysis work MS is doing to help reduce power usage in data centres. There were 96 sensors placed around the auditorium where the keynote was being held all feeding temperature and humidity data to a central server. We then saw a model of the heating and cooling of the area over the last few days.

    The real world implementation of this is in data centres where this technology is being used to work out how to distribute computing load around the facility to minimise energy used for cooling. Monitoring glacial ice flows in the Swiss Alps was also shown.
  • World wide telescope (announcing the new version released during the session). Incredible, awe inspiring views of our universe including a dramatic pull back from earth to view the entire, visible universe. Jaw-dropping.
  • He highlighted some of the work MS has been doing to help combat the HIV virus by applying the techniques of spam detection to virus mutation.
  • Boku - an intuitive app for kids that has great possibilities to revolutionise how we develop systems. The speaker used an Xbox controller to create worlds, objects and beings the interact with each other through a very simple but powerful, completely graphical programming model - though  "programming model" sounds way too last century, it's difficult to describe!
  • And the finale was a Star Trek-like look at SecondLight the next generation of Surface devices that use and incredible technique to project through the surface onto other surfaces above. Picture looking at an aerial view of a city then placing a piece plastic (a viewer) above the display and seeing additional information like road names, historical info etc.

    And...the device can detect movement and pressure on the "viewer" - so the space above the screen becomes detectable and usable.This really puts into perspective our investments in Surface and multi-touch in Windows 7

An incredible morning - makes me very proud to be part of this company.

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