27 September marked the 20 year anniversary of Microsoft Research (MSR). To celebrate this milestone the six worldwide labs hosted a series of co-ordinated events. Beginning in Beijing, Craig Mundie kicked off the proceedings, followed by Bangalore, Cambridge, the lab in New England and then Silicon Valley and Redmond.
To an audience of academics, media and staff, host Gareth Mitchell of the BBC and Imperial College, started the Cambridge UK event by inviting Rick Rashid, Nathan Myhrvold and a series of others to talk about the impact of MSR via pre-recorded video. Gareth then handed the stage over to lab director Andrew Blake, who spoke in more detail about the history of MSR, particular achievements of the Cambridge lab and set the tone for an event that celebrated how proud and excited we all are to be part of Microsoft Research. Showcasing the breadth of basic research from the lab, the audience heard from panellists about the future of software verification, speakers on subjects including programming life, why we build data centers like we do, the future of looking back, model-based machine learning for e-health records, medical imaging in the hospital and finally NUI panellists discussing and demoing the future of digital interaction. All this was sandwiched around an open demo-fest for visitors to wander freely, meet with researchers and experience some of our latest projects for themselves.
From feedback received, it seems that attendees thoroughly enjoyed the event. To quote one academic “Naturally, I had high expectations for the day. Microsoft exceeded them. I was particularly impressed to see the continued emphasis on fundamental and theoretical work- this is a great tribute to Microsoft's focus on contributing to the state-of-the-art."
We have seen a number of media articles from those that attended. The first main piece being a glowing report on KinectFusion, which was demoed during the NUI panel session: Kinect Project Merges Real and Virtual Worlds (MIT, Technology Review) and another being a three page article in c't magazin (with a prime score of 200).
Check out the Microsoft Research Anniversary web site and blog for more about what went on during the worldwide celebration.