May, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

May, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta


    Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta

    The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

    This OCR service is the next step in the evolution of
    Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones.

    With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone's camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and in return receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus.

    Download the SDK and start building Windows Phone 7 apps today. For more details, read the Aloha: Text from the Cloud blog.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    On premise HPC Cluster with the power of the cloud


    Did you know that the minimum requirement for Windows Azure Burst configuration is one on-premise (local) machine with Windows HPC Server installed. This extremely low barrier to entry allows anyone to create a mini-super computer on Azure with powerful HPC scheduling mechanism.


    So if you have CPU intensive jobs that require 100s of Cores the options are now unlimited as you could have 99 on Azure and one HPC on-premise cluster or vice versa.

    As the Diagram above illustrates HPC can be provided from on-premise resources, dedicated HPC Clusters and Window 7 workstations running Microsoft Cluster Of Workstation services.

    One of my colleagues Wen-ming has  just uploaded five easy-to-learn samples with lab instructions to the Faculty Connection resources. Wen-ming has has also produced the following white paper aimed at academic and researchers Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

    More real-world demos will be available soon, molecular dynamics, DNA sequencingWeather Simulation, Parallel Visualization, Seismic Simulation in Silverlight + World Wide Telescope version.  These new demos will also demonstrate the integration of our developer technologies including Phone 7, Silverlight, Windows Azure Marketplace, .NET parallel extension, with HPC Azure.

    Download Page for Samples and White Paper

    Wen-ming blog:  Details of the samples

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2)


    Microsoft  launched the Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS, as part of TechEd North America 2011, Microsoft have released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2)

    This release includes some important new features, including:

    Support and tooling for the Access Control Service 2.0 (i.e. use identity federation like Live ID, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and ADFS)

    Support for Apple Push Notification Services (works along with the Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS)

    Support for Windows Azure storage queues (simple enqueue and dequeue operations)

    Updated UI/UX for the management web application

    Code refactoring, simplification, and bug fixes

    Try the toolkit.

    It’s quick, simple, and (I hope!) will impress you.  Download the bits here:

    Available Resources

    Two new videos are available up on Channel 9:


    Getting Started with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7


    Getting Started with ACS and the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

    Here are some useful blog posts with details:

    NOW AVAILABLE: Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 v1.2

    Bring Your Active Directory in Your Pockets with ACS, OAuth 2.0 and the New Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 1.2 will Integrate with ACS

    Using Windows Azure for Windows Phone 7 Push Notification Support

    The CodePlex Project Resources

    This resource has a lot of useful information for you to review:


    The toolkit includes an awesome File à New Project experience in Visual Studio.  In this release we added some additional flexibility to the New Project Wizard:


    Here you can see that we provide optional support for the Microsoft Push Notification Service and the Apple Push Notification Service (useful for iPhone and iPad applications). 

    Making Windows Azure a great place to support these applications, regardless of the platform.


    Here you can see the ability to specific the Access Control Service 2.0 in the tooling, along with links that help you decide which to choose and how to proceed.

    The net result is a solution that you can literally run and use.  Simply choose the identity provider you want to use, then login.


    Support for Windows Azure queues is also simple and straightforward.


    Finally, we were not particularly pleased with the out-of-the-box ASP.NET theme, so we updated it. Inspired by the Metro Design guidelines for Windows Phone 7, we came up with something nice and fresh.



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 7.1 Mango Announcement



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    Today, along with the release of the new Windows Phone Developer Tools for Mango, we are proud to announce a set of new and updated samples and articles tailored for Windows Phone game developers to get up to speed on Mango changes quickly, all free, and all on App Hub!

    To jump right in, see the new and improved Game Development page on App Hub with a section just for Windows Phone OS 7.1 and the Mango Tools.


    The Game Development Tutorial, launched less than two months ago, has already seen over 50,000 unique visitors, over 175,000 aggregate page views, and close to 7,000 “graduates”.

    Here's a full list of the new and updated samples and articles that we have for you in this release!

    Remember, this content is designed for Windows Phone OS 7.1 and the Windows Phone Developer Tools for Mango. Be sure to download the update to the Tools before trying out this content!


    What's New for Games in Mango
    This high-level article calls out a few of the changes in Windows Phone OS 7.1 and Windows Phone Developer Tools that affect game developers.


    XNA Game Studio or Silverlight - Which is Right for Me? (Updated for Mango)
    This article, which discusses the differences between Silverlight and XNA Game Studio on Windows Phone, has been updated to include information about the new combined Silverlight and XNA architecture in Mango.


    Migration Guide: From the Game Class to Silverlight/XNA
    This article explains why and how to move your Windows Phone game to an architecture that integrates Silverlight with the XNA Framework.


    Visual Basic Support in XNA Game Studio
    Beginning with XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh, the XNA Framework expands programming language support to include Visual Basic (VB). This article introduces basic XNA Game Studio programming concepts for Windows Phone in VB.



    Game State Management (Updated for Mango)
    This popular sample, showing how to manage the transitions among menus and gameplay states, has been updated for Mango to handle the new Fast App Switching feature in Mango.


    Paddle Battle
    This new sample shows a very basic game written on top of the new Silverlight/XNA application model.


    Model Viewer Demo
    This new sample showcases a complex application built on top of the Silverlight/XNA application model, leveraging full 3D rendering, Silverlight’s animation engine, and the use of dependency properties to act as the proxy between Silverlight UI and the XNA Framework based rendering system.


    Silverlight/XNA Game Components
    This new sample provides an implementation and demonstration of a GameComponent system for use in games leveraging Silverlight and the XNA Framework.


    Your task is now simply go and  Create Games for Windows Phone!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure - Updated Platform Pricing Calculator



    Microsoft has recently released a new version of it Azure online calculator.

    The Windows Azure Platform Pricing Calculator, provide you with an estimate of costs if you were to use the Windows Azure platform based on your specific inputs.

    You should not view the results of this report as a substitute for engaging with a third party expert to independently evaluate you or your company’s specific computing needs. The analysis report you will receive is for informational purposes only but its a great starting point a looking at the potential costs of cloud services using Microsoft Azure Platform.


    For more details please visit

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft API Mapping Tool–Porting iPhone apps to Windows Phone 7


    Microsoft is announcing the availability of a new “API mapping tool” to help iPhone developers port applications to Windows Phone 7.

    Microsoft have developed a dedicated web site

    The site core features are:-

    • · A NEW iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool

    • A 90+ pages “Windows Phone 7 Guide for iPhone Application Developers” white paper, organized in 8 chapters, and growing

    • A series of “developer stories” in which developers share on video their experience porting iPhone applications to Windows Phone and explain why and how they did it.


    Further details are via the Windows Team Blog at:

    • Leveraging your iPhone development expertise to build Windows Phone applications

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Futures: Advancing Research and Education with Cloud Computing Redmond, WA | June 2-3, 2011


    The Workshop agenda is finalized and listed below for your information.  I hope you can attend the  Cloud Futures 2011 Workshop on  Advancing Research and Education with Cloud Computing, taking place in Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond, WA, June 2-3, 2011.

    Please note that Windows Azure Platform 180 Day Pass will be available for attendees who will be coming to Redmond. 

    However, if you are not able to attend in person, we will broadcast life all the session taking part in Cascade auditorium and will video tape all presentations.  The videos will be available for view on the workshop web site and Faculty Connection after the workshop.

    Workshop Overview

    The Cloud Futures Workshop series brings together thought leaders from academia, industry, and government to discuss the role of cloud computing across a variety of research and educational areas—including computer science, earth sciences, healthcare, humanities, life sciences, and social sciences. Presentations and discussions will highlight how new techniques, software platforms, and methods of research and teaching in the cloud may solve distinct challenges arising in those diverse areas.

    Workshop Co-Chairs



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    Ed Lazowska
    Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in CS & Engineering
    Seattle, WA

    Dennis Gannon
    Director, eXtreme Computing Cloud Engagement
    Microsoft Research - Redmond, WA

    Keynote Presenters

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    Jim Larus Director, Research & Strategy
    eXtreme Computing Group
    Microsoft Research

    Mark Russinovich
    Technical Fellow
    Windows Azure Fabric
    Microsoft Corporation

    Michael Franklin AMPLAB Director University of California, Berkeley

    Workshop Agenda (check for agenda updates on the workshop website)

    June 2, 2011

    8:00 Transportation from Bellevue Westin to Microsoft Conference Center

    8:45 Welcome and Conference Logistics

    9:00 Keynote -  Jim Larus, Microsoft Research, eXtreme Computing Group (Cascade)

    10:00 Break

    10:30 Systems 1 (Cascade)

    · Cloud, HPC, or Hybrid: A Case Study Involving Satellite Image Processing. Marty Humphrey, University of Virginia

    · Classical and Iterative MapReduce on Azure.  Geoffrey Fox ,  Indiana University

    · Data Semantics Aware Clouds for High-performance Analytics Systems.  Jun Wang, the University of Central Florida

    10:30 Education (St. Helens)

    · Bringing the Cloud to the Classroom Using the Microsoft Imagine Cup. James L. Parrish, Jr., University of Arkansas

    · Introducing Cloud Computing into STEM Undergraduate Curriculum Using Microsoft Azure. Bina Ramamurthy, University at Buffalo

    · InstantLab – The Cloud as Operating System Teaching Platform. Alexander Schmidt and Andreas Polze, Hasso Plattner Institute

    12:00 Lunch in Rainier

    1:00 Keynote - Michael J. Franklin. AMPLAB Director University of California, Berkeley (Cascade)

    2:00  Systems-2 (Cascade)

    · Into the Blue: Streaming Data Processing in the Cloud. Stephen Wong, Rice University

    · Stork Data Scheduler for Windows Azure. Tevfik Kosar, State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo

    · Relational Data Markets in the Cloud: Challenges and Opportunities. Magdalena Balazinska, University of Washington

    2:00  Windows Azure Tutorial, Part 1, Krishna Kumar, Windows Azure Academic Lead (St.Helens)

    3:30 Break

    4:00 Applications 1 (Cascade)

    · Using the Cloud to Model and Manage Large Watershed Systems. Marty Humphrey, University of Virginia

    · Large Scale Prediction of Transcription Factor Binding Sites for Gene Regulation using Cloud Computing. Zhengchang Su, University of North Carolina

    · University of Southern California, Clever Transportation Project (USC2T).  Barak Fishbain, University of Southern California

    4:00 Windows Azure Tutorial, Part 2, Krishna Kumar, Windows Azure Academic Lead (St.Helens)

    5:30 Transfer to Hotel

    6:30 Dinner at Din Tai Fung , Bellevue, WA (located in Lincoln Square, 2/F, next door to the Bellevue Westin Hotel)

    June 3, 2011

    8:00 Transportation to Microsoft Conference Center from Bellevue, Westin

    8:30 Breakfast in Rainier

    9:00 Keynote -  Mark Russinovich, Technical Fellow, Windows Azure Fabric, Microsoft Corporation Cascade

    10:00 Break

    10:30 Systems 3 (St. Helens)

    · Multi-cloud and cloud-desktop coordination made simplified by GXP on Azure. Kenjiro Taura, University of Tokyo

    · Running Large Workflows in the Cloud. Paul Watson, Newcastle University

    · Towards Enabling Mid-Scale Geo-Science Experiments Through Microsoft Trident and Windows Azure. Eran Chinthaka Withana and Beth Plale, Indiana University

    10:30 Applications 2 (Cascade)

    · Network Display and Sharing System for Large Cultural Heritage Objects via Cloud Computing Environments. Yasuhide Okamoto, University of Tokyo

    · Deep Natural Language Processing for Improving a Search Engine Infrastructure using Windows Azure. Daisuke Kawahara, Kyoto University

    · A Secure Multi-party Collaboration System for Australian Coal Supply Chains. Shiping Chen, CSIRO ICT Centre

    12:00  Lunch in Rainier

    1:00 Applications  3  (St. Helens)

    · Beekeeping Enters the Cloud. James T. Wilkes, Appalachian State University

    · Scaling Document Clustering on the Cloud. Rob Gillen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    · Microsoft Azure: The Ultimate Flexible Enterprise-Level Solution. Janet L. Bailey, University of Arkansas

    1:00 Security and software development (Cascade)

    · Risk Assessment and Cloud Strategy Development.  Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, University of Washington

    · Cloud forensics: an overview. Keyun Ruan, University College Dublin

    · Cloud Based Product Development. Joris Poort, Harvard Business School

    2:30 Break

    3:00 Systems  4 (St. Helens)

    · Expanding the Horizons of Cloud Computing Beyond the Data Center. Jon Weissman and Abhishek Chandra, University of Minnesota

    · URSA: Scalable Load Balancing and Power Management in Cluster Storage Systems. Seung-won Hwang, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

    · Achieving energy efficient computing by jointly scheduling services and batch jobs in virtualized environments. Tajana Simunic Rosing, UC San Diego

    3:00 Applications 4 (Cascade)

    · High through-put, low impedance e-Science on Microsoft Azure. David Abramson, Monash University

    · Abstractions for Life-Science Applications on Clouds. Shantenu Jha, Andre Luckow, Rutgers University

    · The Parallelization of Geoscience Apps at C3L with Azure.  Craig Mudge, University of Adelaide

    4:30 Cloud Research Panel - Chair Ed Lazowska  (Cascade)

    Windows Azure Platform Offer

    For those attendees who do not currently have access to Windows Azure, Microsoft wishes to make available onsite attendees the Windows Azure Platform 180 Day Pass. This will provide you with 6 months of access to the Windows Azure and SQL Azure platforms with the following level of service:

    Windows Azure

    · 3 small compute instances

    · 3GB of storage

    · 250,000 storage transactions

    SQL Azure

    · Two 1GB Web Edition database


    · 100,000 Access Control transactions

    · 2 Service Bus connections

    Data Transfers (per region)

    · 3 GB in

    · 3 GB out

    Please note:  the Azure Platform 180 Day Pass is not offered to remote attendees who participate in Cloud Futures 2011 via webcast/live-streaming.

    Workshop Registration

    The online registration for Cloud Futures 2011 is now open and will close on May 20, 2011.  The registration link can be accessed off the workshop website.

    If you are an academic, member of a research institute or a government employee, we are required to send notification to your institution to ensure that accepting anything provided by Microsoft (including meals, Windows Azure Platform 180 Day Pass) does not violate any applicable governmental laws, regulations, or the letter or spirit of applicable ethics policies in place at your institution.   During the registration process, you will be asked to also provide your dean or department head’s name and e-mail address so that we may send this notification (In the case of Germany, we are required to seek approval from your university rector or president.)

    We’d like to provide you with next steps to complete your registration. 

    1. Please complete your workshop registration by May 20, 2011.  (Click Logistics for Participants for Information on hotels, transportation and meals).

    2. For international workshop attendees traveling to the United States, the U.S. State Department's website has information on the Visa Waiver Program (allowing travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa), travel by citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda, and information on Visitor Visas for business or pleasure.  Questions about letters of invitation for visas to the United States should be sent to

    3. If you need to cancel your registration for Cloud Futures 2011, please login to your workshop registration to complete the cancellation process.  Remember to cancel your hotel room before 4 pm the day before your check in date (i.e. 24 hours notification is required).

    4. Please also send an email to to alert us of your change of plans.

    Letter of invitation and Visas

    A letter of invitation is not an absolute requirement for foreign nationals traveling to the United States.  However, the process of entering the U.S. is subject to a great degree of scrutiny, more so than there has been in previous years.  Therefore, we strongly recommend that individuals intending to travel to the U.S. for business visitor purposes (i.e. meetings, conference, etc.) request a business travel support letter by submitting a completed request form as early as possible before their travel date.  For international workshop attendees traveling to the United States, the U.S. State Department's website has information on the Visa Waiver Program (allowing travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa), travel by citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda, and information on Visitor Visas for business or pleasure.  Questions about letters of invitation for visas to the United States should be sent to

    I hope you would be able to attend and contribute to this workshop!

    Yours sincerely,


    Cloud Futures: Advancing Research and Education with Cloud Computing

    Redmond, WA | June 2-3, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What is DreamSpark?



    DreamSpark is Microsoft’s way of giving free software to students. Students can simply log on and enjoy the free Microsoft products available to download.

    Products available on DreamSpark include Expression Studio 4, Virtual PC, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2 and more.

    Why DreamSpark?

    Simply visit , follow the 3 simple steps and download the free products of your choice today!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) programme



    If you have students, whom are passionate about technology, ready to share their knowledge and who want to develop skills outside their academic curricula field then we want to hear from you.

    What is the MSP Programme?

    The Microsoft Student Partner Programme recognises top young minds from around the UK who are passionate about technology. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop real-world skills to help them succeed in their future career, to help others learn about the technology of today and tomorrow, and to connect with other like-minded students, all whilst having a ton of fun along the way.

    The programme is our way of encouraging students who are interested in building a closer relationship with Microsoft, and those who are simply hooked on technology, to develop their skills further. This year's programme will officially run from June 2011 to May 2012.

    What is an MSP?

    The Microsoft Student Partner programme consists of the brightest and most innovative student developers and technology enthusiasts from universities around the world.

    The ‘ideal candidate’ for an MSP would be a passionate and enthusiast individual who wants to learn about new tools and technologies. They would need to have a whole range of skills including excellent time management, organisation and communication skills to ensure that you could host a successful campus launch event.

    An MSP should be comfortable and confident presenting in front of large audiences of both students and faculty members. You may even be asked to present in front of your fellow MSPs at an event. General business and sales skills come in very handy in order to allow you to articulate your ideas effectively when presenting.

    MSPs are sociable, friendly and approachable individuals who like to meet new people. You will require the ability work as a team as well as use your own initiative. In summary, MSPs are innovative and creative students who are extremely passionate about technology.

    You can download the MSP application form and more information about the programme at Microsoft Student Partners

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Is project based team work becoming a logistical nightmare?


    I have had a number of interesting  discussions and questions this week regarding the facilitation of project based team working. From my recent Institution visits a number of institutions are now using tools such as Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project server within the teaching curriculum. They are predominantly using these applications to allow students to manage and monitor the status/progress of work on both individual and team based projects. Microsoft Project is a excellent tool however it doesn't plan development lifecycles or team activity or monitor output of individuals or as a team so I would like to suggest the use of  Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010.


    Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Services  is the collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution. Team Foundation Server 2010 automates the software delivery process and gives the students the tools they need to manage software development projects throughout the IT life cycle.

    What more important is that is FREE if your a MSDNAA subscriber

    For a comprehensive list of software available to your department and each student studying within it under MSDNAA see:-

    Team Foundation Server 2010 enables everyone on the team to collaborate more effectively, be more agile and deliver better quality software while building and sharing institutional knowledge and allowing you the academic to see the status and progress and activity/commitment of each of the team members. This is facilitated by the use of project artifacts and data from work item tracking, source control, builds, and testing tools which are stored in a data warehouse and powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending, full traceability and real-time visibility into quality and progress against business intent.

    Creativity Unleashed

    Designed from the ground up as a collaboration platform to automate the software development process. Let Team Foundation Server 2010 manage your software development process and facilitate collaboration so that your teams are freed up from mundane non-coding tasks and empowered to unleash their creativity.

    Simplicity Through Integration

    Tools, processes and project artifacts come together to simplify the collaboration of people across various functional disciplines, helping them work better together and be more productive.

    Quality Code Ensured

    Monitor quality and progress in real time. Ensure that defects and regressions are discovered at the earliest possible moment with powerful features like build automation and gated check-ins.


    The collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution.

    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 provides workflow automation and integrated processes, tools and project artifacts to simplify the collaboration of people across functional disciplines. The central repository enables rich collaboration in the context of the tasks the team is working on.

    Top Ten Reasons why to use Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

    1. Streamline The Flow of Data Across your student projects.
    Project artifacts are stored in a central repository that facilitates in-context collaboration to reduce waste in hand-over time between tasks and streamlines the development process. Team members can instead focus on delivering value over transitioning information between roles. In addition, seamless support for Eclipse extends these collaboration benefits to heterogenous environments.
    4. Reduce Risk with Real-time Visibility
    Powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending and real-time visibility into overall project health. Real-time metrics give you early warnings of potential problems so you can be proactive and make data-driven decisions and course corrections.
    7. End-to-end Traceability
    Define, query and report on custom relationships between requirements, work items and test cases. Full traceability lets you track progress and quality back to business goals and customer requirements.

    2. Lightweight Agile Planning Tools
    The new Microsoft® Excel Agile Planning Workbook makes it easy for teams to adopt agile software development methodologies like SCRUM. Use it to create and manage user stories and product backlog, estimate the team's velocity, and break the project down into iterations. The Iteration Backlog enables you to plan iterations and track progress.

    5. Project and Portfolio Management
    Integration with Microsoft Project and Office Project Server enables business stake holders and project managers to gain insight into the health of inflight projects, understand how they support the business needs and help identify ways to improve existing processes.
    8. Simplified Installation for Smaller Teams

    Smaller teams and individual developers can choose the new Basic Install option to leverage the power of Team Foundation Server 2010 without the footprint of the full installation.

    3. Understand Parallel Development
    Reduce the complexity in branching and merging with powerful new visualization tools. Understand the scope, organization and maintenance of your source code and easily identify, track and manage changes across branches.
    6. Prevent Broken Builds
    The new gated check-in feature helps teams working in the same branch to prevent costly and time consuming build breaks by testing code in isolation before it goes into the full repository.
    9. Flexible Build Automation

    Windows Workflow-based builds with powerful features like build queuing and build agent pooling enable teams to easily customize, manage and scale out their build environments.

    10. Enterprise Scalability and experience

    64-bit server support and new project collection isolation features let large teams scale Team Foundation Server 2010 installations to meet their demands giving students experience of real world applications, tools and services.

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