June, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8


    Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows Division at Microsoft presented at  the ‘All Things Digital;’ Conference #D9 yesterday. Steven announced  a few details about what we can expect from the next version of the Windows operating system.

    Windows 8 will feature a new UI similar to the tile-based interface of Windows Phone 7 and this will all be touch enabled (see the video below).

    Windows 8 will focus on two types of apps:

    · Classic Windows desktop apps- they will run and look similar to Win 7 today. They will open from the Start screen into familiar Win 7.

    · HTML5/Javascript apps – they will look more like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows apps. This includes IE10. This new style of app will be able to access everything new in Windows 8.

    The concept of HTML 5 application is these be like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows applications additionally HTML 5 applications will have access to a number of new features in Windows 8 and both type native windows and HTML 5 applications can run side by side.

    Apps using “new Windows” programming are built in HTML and Javascript. Windows 8 will run both those apps and ones written in traditional Windows code. Now, it’s wait and see to the Professional Developer Conference. Also, if you’re interested in building applications for Windows 8, you should keep September 13-16 free and book a flight to California for this: http://www.buildwindows.com/.

    Windows 8 start screen will appear with a a lock screen similar to Windows Phone 7 and be displayed with s a clock, upcoming calendar item and notification and customisation of this screen will be possible.

    Windows 8 UI

    Windows 8 will not require any specific enhancement to hardware in terms of memory, disk space, CPU than Windows 7 and exciting for the UK Academic space is Windows 8 will run on Intel, AMD and ARM based chips.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows SDK event


    We had a fantastic morning and lunch with over 80 Academics, researchers and students at a special event our team ran on the Kinect for Windows SDK.

    The speakers and agenda for the day was as follows:-

    Introductions - Geoff Hughes, Developer Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Ltd

    The Science of Kinect - Andrew Fitzgibbon, PhD, Microsoft Research Cambridge


    Time: 00:26:46

    Overview of Kinect for Windows SDK - Dave Brown, PhD, Microsoft Technology Centre

    Demos from David’s Presentation are available here

    Microsoft External Research Connections - Kenji Takeda, PhD, Microsoft Research Cambridge

    It was a great morning with lots of stimulating thoughts, discussion and debate and UK academic’s are certainly thinking of interesting uses for the Kinect device and its potential usage within teaching, learning and research.

     We would welcome any ideas you might have and also keep us informed of your progress with the SDK.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio Getting Started, Hobbyist? Academic? Researcher?



    The Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 (Microsoft RDS) is a Windows based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. All previous editions of Microsoft RDS 2008 R2 (Express, Standard and Academic) have been combined into one new version, RDS 2008 R3 and can be downloaded at no charge from MSDNAA or DreamSpark.

    The Microsoft CCR and DSS Toolkit 2008 R2 is no longer available as a standalone product and is now included for no charge with RDS 2008 R3. RDS 2008 R3 includes a lightweight asynchronous services-oriented runtime, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools, as well as templates, tutorials, and sample code to help you get started.

    The key problem with both games and robots has been the cost and complexity of producing the necessary building blocks that faculty can use to create computer science assignments. By partnering with faculty who are domain experts in robotics and teaching, Microsoft External Research has collaborated with many institutions and researchers to advance state-of-the-art curricula, coupling existing practices with compelling, practical, and affordable robotics technology.


    Research Tools and Services

    Hardware Support

    Academic Publications

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft wins Best Cloud Service award at Cloud Computing World Series Awards



    Microsoft has won the Best Cloud Service award at the 2011 Cloud Computing World Series Awards.

    Having been judged by an independent panel of industry experts, the awards were presented to Microsoft at the 3rd annual Cloud Computing World Forum on the 21st June, Olympia, London.

    Since the Windows Azure platform became generally available over a year ago, it has been adopted by customers across 41 countries. These customers are creating new services and gaining greater efficiencies as they take their companies to the cloud, enabling them to able to address customer needs quickly with innovative solutions that are cost effective and reliable.

    “It’s fantastic for us to see this type of recognition for the Windows Azure platform. We’re seeing companies creating business solutions in record times, reinforcing the new possibilities created by the cloud,” said Michael Newberry, Windows Azure lead, Microsoft UK.

    For more information on Microsoft visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Academic Search


    The Academic Search beta is a free search engine, developed by Microsoft Research, that helps users quickly find information about academic researchers and their activities. It is also a test-bed for our object-level vertical search research.

    With Academic Search, you can easily find top researchers and their papers, conferences, and journals. You can also find relationships between researchers who co-authored papers. Academic Search will be changing its name with the upcoming release of new and improved features. In the meantime, try Academic Search and explore more than 15 million publications.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Has your institution considered becoming a Microsoft IT Academy? IT Academy offers Over 300 courses and over £40,000 of Value to Education



    About the Microsoft IT Academy:

    Microsoft responds to IT Education, Training, and Employment demands. IT Academy offers Over 300 courses and over £40,000 of Value to Education

    The Microsoft IT Academy program is exclusively available to accredited academic institutions and CASA-eligible organizations to provide an affordable learning solution and toolkit from Microsoft to benefit schools. One subscription per campus will cover everyone students, faculty and staff; this is a great way to save on training.

    You can provide your customers with official Microsoft educational resources on the latest Microsoft technologies. Courses are available to students and faculty working toward proficiency with everyday business applications as well as to those pursuing advanced IT training. Membership can help to accelerate course development with a comprehensive package of courseware, e-learning programs, course management tools, and more. Schools also realize significant discounts on exams and courseware as part of the IT Academy program.

    IT Academy members in the UK also receive a free Live Meeting training session and on-boarding support to ensure usage of their IT Academy benefits are maximized. This on-boarding is provided by our appointed Microsoft UK Academic Engagement Provider.

    Please contact our Microsoft Academy Service Partner Consultant or  Click Here for Details of the Microsoft Academy Program

    IT Academy Benefit Highlights:

    • Reduced costs for technology training through an extensive portfolio of benefits for students, and for faculty and staff professional development. E-learning provided to just four students or teachers saves schools the equivalent of their annual membership fee.

    • Save faculty time with a “ready to go” solution for technology education.

    • E-learning - over 300 courses available, as well as a course management tool allowing instructors to administer courses and monitor students’ progress.

    • Link academic learning to real-world skills to prepare students with the IT skills needed for the workforce.

    • Access for teachers to get direct link and form communities with Microsoft’s network of more than 15,000 certified instructors teaching on Microsoft technologies around the globe.

    • E-Reference Library – members receive three complimentary faculty subscriptions to a digital, fully searchable online database of more than 600 technology titles published by Microsoft Press. Faculty members can save time finding that specific technical reference they need for teaching and research. Plus 60% discounts are available for additional faculty and for student subscriptions.

    • Workforce credentials – Certifications available in IT Academy help prepare students for the work world ahead and are globally recognized, workforce credentials, recognized by Microsoft customers and partners worldwide.

    • Flexibility to incorporate IT Academy content to existing curriculum pathways and learning solutions.

    IT Academy Facts:

    • Microsoft IT Academy is one of the fastest growing industry-academic partner programs- growing from 6,000 member institutes to 9,000 during 2010

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides students, faculty and staff with access to hundreds of official Microsoft e-learning courses for one low membership price

    • Microsoft IT Academy contributes to workforce development initiatives on campus and student employability objectives

    • Microsoft IT Academy helps connect student learning with workforce skills

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides flexibility for inclusion in credit, degree-granting programs and certificates as well as non-credit programs

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides schools, faculty and students with exclusive exam and textbook discounts

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides learning resources for campus community members to better understand and leverage the technology stack and range of software solutions in your Campus or School Agreement

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides opportunity to differentiate the institution as a leader

    • Microsoft IT Academy allows Institutions  to brand programs and the institution with the Microsoft IT Academy logo

    • Microsoft IT Academy membership gets Institutions and key contact information listed in the academy locator tool on the Microsoft public website

    For more information on the Microsoft IT Academy program benefits, please visit www.microsoftitacademy.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Pricing Structure for Windows Azure from 1st July 2011–FREE inbound data transfers


    cloudpower      Azure_thumbnail

    We are pleased to announce a change in pricing for the Windows Azure platform that will provide significant cost savings for customers whose cloud applications experience substantial inbound traffic, and customers interested in migrating large quantities of existing data to the cloud. For billing periods that begin on or after July 1, 2011, all inbound data transfers for both peak and off-peak times will be free.

    This is a positive move for UK Academic and educational customers, this announcement has already created a great deal of excitement within the UK academic sector.

    As a team were very excited by this change, the cost of inbound data transfer has been a significant concern to academic researchers and the changes will make research projects easier to estimate and removes a barrier or uploading large data sets.

    Buy making this announcement, we hope its make Windows Azure more affordable for the academic community, no matter what the project or research activity is or how large or small.

    So now if your transferring megabytes, gigabytes or terabytes, eliminating data ingress fees will significantly reduce the time and resources required for research and development, testing and significantly reduce operational costs

    We hope that changes such as these continue to increase the value of the Windows Azure platform for our customers.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UCL Algorithmic Trading Competition and F# opportunities in education


    My colleague Geoff Hughes recently represented Microsoft DPE Academic team at the UCL Algorithmic Trading competition, which took place in London on 28th June. Over 100 attendees comprising of city firms, researchers and computer science students attended.



    Algorithmic Trading –Global Opportunities for Research

    12.45- 13.00 Registration and coffee

    13.00-13.20 Keynote Address
    Markets, Networks and Auctions
    Microsoft Research - Peter Key

    13.20 -13.40 Algorithmic Trading – Current trends and future directions
    UCL - Prof Philip Treleaven

    13.40-14.00 Automated Trading – The technology is the business
    Barclays Capital - Chris Donnan

    14.00-14.20 Competition launch and introduction of the prizes:

    14.20-14.40 High Frequency Trading FX
    Citi - Dr John Loizides

    15.10-15.30 A Taste of F# - Functional Programming Meets Information- Rich World Microsoft – Don Syme

    15.30-15.50 The Application of Automated Trading at Knight
    Knight Capital - Kee-Meng Tan

    15.50-16.10 Real-time risk management means tick-by-tick
    LMAX – Martin Thompson

    16.10-16.30 UCL’s Algorithmic Trading System Platform
    UCL - Michal Galas

    16.30-16.40 Wrap Up
    Microsoft - Azam Husain

    Don Syme and Peter Key from MSR both presented at the event, this is very exciting and interesting as on my recent visits a number of academics are interested in now teaching F# as the first language to new UG Students. Therefore Dom’s presentation may be of great interest to you all.

    · Dom Syme Slides attached http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dsyme/archive/2011/06/28/slides-for-today-s-talk-at-ucl-algorithmic-trading-day.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Surface in education



    As many of you are aware, the new Microsoft Surface was unveiled at CES 2011.

    Microsoft Surface 2.0 also has a dedicated web site. There you’ll learn about the Surface experience and get a look at the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.

    It seems that lots of people are really interested in Microsoft Surface. For example the last two institutions I have visited both had some great ideas and interesting research project they wanted to develop on the Microsoft Surface 2.0. As the surface device is a PC you can run application developed in Silverlight, XNA, standard windows based apps or web app for some spectacular application development and ideas take a look at Dr David Brown, from Microsoft Technology Centre blog which contains information on his awesome Surface Virtual Universe application and surface physics engine work.

    For those of you who haven't see the new Surface 2.0 device please watch the following video

    More information will be coming over the next few months in terms of offical release dates of the Surface 2.0 devices and the offical SDK for Surface, so check back with http://www.Surface.com and the Surface blog to stay up to date with the latest news.

    However If your interested in getting started on application development for Surface 2 then the best option for Surface until v2 is officially available is to start with the “Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta”.

    Overview at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee957352.aspx 

    Download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=801907a7-b2dd-4e63-9ff3-8a2e63932a74

    You can also follow Surface information and announcements via Twitter and Facebook

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Tools and Resources for Academics and Researchers


    Data collection and analysis, as well as information authoring, publishing, and preservation, are essential components of an academic’s daily work. The following resources have been developed to help assist you with these tasks.

    Microsoft Tools and Resources

    Papers on STEM

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