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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TechEd Europe Summer 2012



    The next Tech·Ed Europe will be held the week of June 25, 2012 at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in the historical and picturesque city of Amsterdam.

    Confirmed pricing for academic rates is a follows which are a significant saving over the early bird and standard rates.

    Delegate - Academic Faculty and Student Fee


    Delegate - Early Bird Registration Fee (ends 31 March 2012)


    Delegate - Standard Registration Fee




    PreCon Only


    For more information and updates please register here

    Registrations will open early Jan 2012 so ensure you check the site to guarantee your place.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    2011 Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop HPC, Windows Azure and Techila moving your workload to the cloud



    The forthcoming 2011 Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop will be held on 29 and 30 November 2011 at a new venue - the Adelphi Hotel Liverpool.

    This Workshop is now established as a leading national event dedicated to distributed high performance scientific computing. The principle objective is to encourage close contact between the research communities from the Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Materials Programmes of EPSRC and the major vendors of workstations, software and peripherals.

    I will be attending the Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop (MEW22) in Liverpool next week with Techila and the Microsoft Azure team. We will be presenting a radical proposal to the high-performance computing users in the workshop. Do you know if you or some of your colleagues are planning to attend the workshop? If you will be in Liverpool, we would like to show how you can do MATLAB in the Cloud without any limitations to the performance.

    So what is Techila?

    So if your are looking for ways to increase the performance of your existing applications. The Techila middleware is the missing link between applications and the computing capacity. It enables applications to scale and to utilize all available computing capacity efficiently.

    A research presentation, which might be of interest to you is by Dr.Lindroos in Northeastern/ TUT. Dr Lindroos uses FORTRAN code wrapped in MATLAB to model superconducting materials. Before Techila, he was able to use low-accuracy models which took 3,5 hours to compute. The inaccuracy of the results lead him also to some incorrect results. With Techila and Windows Azure, he is now able to get 256 times better results in shorter time.  Another nice example of cases, where Techila has enabled unforeseen research is the cancer research case, Techila with the power of Windows Azure enabled scaling an existing MATLAB application to utilize the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. With this speed, the researcher was able to complete his 15-year data analysis project in 4,5 days. A case study about this project available on the Techila site at:

    We would love to hear more about your projects and the applications, which you would like to speed up. We are working with a number of Universities and researchers, and are always interested in learning new and to hear about innovative new research projects.

    The following article explains how Techila is helping ISVs to utilize cloud capacity easily and securely in their applications. Fennia Life is the first Life Insurance company in the world doing their business-critical simulations on Windows Azure.

    So if your attending the Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop in Liverpool on November 29-30 it would be great to start and demonstrate Live in the workshop sessions how the Windows Azure with Techila solution can assist.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Students Help Microsoft understand and support your use of DreamSpark





    We need to know that you value DreamSpark  help us, help the next generation of students

    We are inviting students to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting your skills development, learning outcomes and career potential. We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your coursework and test results. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.


    We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous. Just to give you a little more of an incentive to help us gather this data we are offering one lucky student an Xbox360. Just click here

    The student questionnaire is at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup Earth - Microsoft and NASA student competition $36,000 prize fund



    Who can enter?

    Students ages 6-18 worldwide are invited to explore this exciting and vital area of scientific research in Imagine Cup Earth, a new coding competition for students. Whether you have never coded before and would like to learn, or if you’re already studying coding and want to take on a new challenge, all skill levels are welcome to dream big, build creatively, and boldly bring your ideas to life.

    What's the competition?

    Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are co-presenting this contest for students around the world. Together, we have created Imagine Cup Earth to inspire the next generation of thinkers, dreamers and future programmers to learn the basics of coding and explore the latest science about our precious home.

    What's the prize?

    During our 2015-16 Imagine Cup Earth season, a total of 18 winning students will share $36,000 in prizes for their earth-science coding projects. Students who choose our Beginner category can create games, apps and simulations using Microsoft’s free learn-to-code tools, including Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop and Project Spark. More advanced students can create web apps using HTML5/CSS/Javascript, Python, or other web languages of their choice.

    How to enter?

    Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about the requirements and read the official rules. Because school schedules vary from country to country around the world, Microsoft Imagine is providing three contest rounds each with their own deadlines and prizes. Students are welcome to compete in any or all of these as is most convenient for them – each round stands alone. All deadlines are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

    First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015

    Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016

    Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016

    Each round will have six prizes:

    Beginner Category

    Intermediate Category

    For the best earth-science themed game, app or simulation using Kodu  Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop or Project Spark.

    For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual  NASA data and imagery.

    1st Prize: $3,000

    1st Prize: $3,000

    2nd Prize: $2,000

    2nd Prize: $2,000

    3rd Prize: $1,000

    3rd Prize: $1,000

    Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory look forward to seeing what our global community of students creates.

    .Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Educators TouchDevelop Hackathon 28th and 29th of Jan 2013




    Microsoft Partners in Learning have brought together some of the most inspirational teachers for a dedicated TouchDevelop hackathon.

    The educators who are all part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network recently took part in 3 Virtual Universities course based around the TouchDevelop platform and had to submit a mock-up of a TouchDevelop App.

    21 outstanding Educators will now participate in the Partners in Learning Appathon taking place in London on January 28th and 29th, 2013.

    The Apps are based on TouchDevelop so will support Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone. After an extensive review process, we selected 21 educators to Microsoft London Office on January 28th and 29th, 2013 (as part of the  BETT Show). The purpose of the Appathon is for the academics to build their app further with the help of experts who will be there to support the group. The selection was based on the innovation of the idea and the feasibility of the idea coming to life.

    One of the academics attending is David Renton, David recently produced a guest blog see

    Following the 24 hours, each educator will be expected to present their app on January 29th. I am thrilled to be part of the final Judging/evaluation committee and via a voting process we will select the winner.

    A huge congratulation to all the UK Academics who are taking part in the Partners in Learning network and we appreciate the time you took to participate in the Virtual Universities, complete homework and submit mock ups. We admire your initiative, drive and are excited to be a part of your journey in creating an environment of innovation in education using information and communications technology.

    Can’t wait to see the lucky 21 in London at the finals!

    Interested in learning more about TouchDevelop 

    You can play directly with TouchDevelop on your Windows Phone FREE APP or more appealing to schools you simply go to and run the IDE in the browser you can also build Windows 8 Store app from TouchDevelop on any platform.

    We have a some really inspirational educators in the UK using TouchDevelop in the curricula and for after school clubs. With the release of a browser version of TouchDevelop we have lots of interest from schools as they can effectively use any device with a web browser. So Windows Surface, iPads and Andriod devices are all fully supported.

    Microsoft has also produced and released a full FREE curricula for teaching TouchDevelop which is available at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build Conference



    The last week has been pretty amazing, the BUILD conference had lots of great sessions explaining how to get productive with Microsoft’s new development tools, services and technologies.

    The following are some of the highlights of the Build sessions which were attend by over  4000 developers. The complete list of sessions and videos are available at which can you can view at your leisure. 

    BUILD Keynote with Steven Sinofsky

    The Overview of Windows 8 and Metro

    Day 1 Keynote with Steven Sinofsky

    8 Traits of Great Metro Style Apps with Jensen Harris

    If you want to learn more about Windows 8 Metro UI additionally if you want more designer-oriented information, check out Designing Metro style: principles and personalities.


    Platform for Metro-Style Apps with Ales Holecek and John Sheehan

    A great overview of the platform, Windows RT and Windows 8 itself. If you want to know more about the API.

    Platform for Metro-Style Apps with Ales Holecek and John Sheehan

    Tools for Building Metro-Style apps with Chris Sells and Kieran Mockford

    This is the second part of the Platform talk

    Tools for Building Metro-Style apps with Chris Sells and Kieran Mockford

    Lap around the Windows Runtime with Martyn Lovell

    This gives you a deeper look at WinRT

    Lap around the Windows Runtime with Martyn Lovell

    Metro-style apps using XAML: what you need to know with Joe Stegman

    Get the XAML info right from the lead of Windows 8 XAML team

    Metro-style apps using XAML: what you need to know with Joe Stegman

    Metro-style apps using XAML: Make your app shine with Marco Matos

    This is the talk that explains how to deeply integrate your XAML application with Windows 8.

    Metro-style apps using XAML: Make your app shine with Marco Matos

    Make great touch apps using XAML with Alnur Ismail

    Learn all about touch and gestures obviously very important to Windows 8 Metro applications.


    Stand out with styling and animation in your XAML app with John Papa

    Here's where you'll learn about styles, animations and more

    Stand out with styling and animation in your XAML app with John Papa

    Reach all your customers' devices with one beautiful XAML user interface with Tim Heuer

    Learn how to adapt to different screen sizes, resolutions and more

    Reach all your customers' devices with one beautiful XAML user interface with Tim Heuer

    A deep dive into Visual Studio 11 Express for designing Metro apps using XAML with Joanna Mason and Unni Ravindranathan

    Want to learn about the tooling and the features of Visual Studio 11

    A deep dive into Visual Studio 11 Express for designing Metro apps using XAML with Joanna Mason and Unni Ravindranathan

    Future directions for C# and Visual Basic with Anders Hejlsberg

    Learn more about async and the future of Visual Studio with Project Roslyn copy and paste code transformation

    Future directions for C# and Visual Basic with Anders Hejlsberg

    More Videos to Watch

    Check out the full set via

    Or simply use the list below to go to content based on topic areas

    More Windows 8 XAML

    .NET and C#/Visual Basic
    Windows 8 and WinRT General
    Games and DirectX

    So overall an amazing conference, content and announcements. Please visit the following online resources to view the 200 + hours of content at your own leisure

    For further references and to download a developer preview of Windows 8 visit and keep an eye on the Building Windows 8 Blog at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Looking at something new for over summer? Windows 8


    With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Developer Tools being widely available for the past few weeks and with previews of great, immersive Metro style apps like Cut the Rope, The Telegraph, Flixster, Evernote and a tonne more already in the Windows Store we���ve received quite a number of questions about when UK developers can start building Windows 8 apps and get them into the Store.

    The Windows Store is not yet open for general app submission. However…

    If you are interested in getting your personal, institutional, department or society app into the Store or even developing a windows 8 game before or soon after general availability then your local UK MSDN team can help in getting a registration code that is needed for submission to the Store.

    For those people with application plans;

    1. You apply to join our UK Windows 8 for Application Developer LinkedIn Group
    2. We will reply asking you for some details of what it is you are building and then admit you into the group.
    3. You build a great app following the guidance that we have online and which meets the Store certification requirements.
    4. We will use the LinkedIn Group to invite you to an Application Excellence Lab at Microsoft in Reading where you’ll work with an engineer to ensure certification requirements are being met and that the app is providing a great experience to the user.
    5. You leave the lab with a registration code that lets you begin the app submission process at the Windows Store.

    In addition to that process, we’d encourage everyone interested in learning more about Windows 8 and Metro development to come attend  one of our the UK Techdays events or camps  where you can talk through this process in person and also apply to join our LinkedIn Group which we’ll use to share the details of the app excellence labs.

    Note that the availability of labs is limited and invitations will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis but this will in no way limit your ability to submit an application via the regular submission process once the Store is open for general availability.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Three Thing Game Saturday 27th October


    ThreeThingGame LogoT

    Three Thing Game has now started 40 teams with 160 students in attendance across two computer labs at the University of Hull

    here is a quick update of the day so far..

    WP_000621 WP_000620

    Saturday 27th October  

    1.00 pm XNA Rob Miles XNA session


    Here is selection of Demos from Rob's presentation:

    You can find all the demos here.

    Here are links to the some of the code we developed in the session, plus a bonus “coloured cloud” version.

    You can find a video of the presentation here, from Mix 11 in Las Vega where is was first presented. You can get a free XNA book from here.

    2:00 pm Mono Game Development on Windows 8 Presented in Lecture Theatre A by the MonoGame team and Microsoft. 


    Here is a copy of the presentation and I will make available Dean Windows 8 Store App demo of the 3D XNA tank via an Appx Package later today. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Xbox Kinect


    So what are you doing or planning on doing with Microsoft Kinect? 

    Are you interested in the official Kinect SDK when it becomes available?

    How about using the Kinect to fly a drone?

    Want to know more about this project watch the following

    Natural Kinect-Based Interface for Quadrotor Control (Parrot AR. Drone)

     So please let us know how your using or planning on using Kinect?


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Well what are you doing this weekend? I may be breaking a record..



    Windows 8 Game Apps - World Record attempt for the Largest GameJam in a single location

    Friday, Sept 14th to Sunday, Sept 16th

    University of Bedfordshire, Luton

    For the past few weeks we have been working closely with a specialised gaming institution called Train2Game to ensure that their students are firstly aware and secondly up to speed on developing beautiful stunning and awesome games on Windows 8.

    So this weekend Microsoft will be supporting Train2Game. Guinness World Record Attempt GameJam.

    Yes… we have taken over the University of Bedfordshire in Luton for the weekend. The University IT Team have successfully upgraded to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 via DreamSpark premium.

    The IT team have built a custom image and have successfully deployed this to the current PC estate for use throughout the event.


    All the PC’s located in the computer labs and study spaces are now Windows 8 and the event images compromises of Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Ultimate RTM and various design and graphics packages and tools necessary to build amazing games.

    The event will  start on Friday and last for the next 48 hours we have over 330 game development students, these students will work in teams developing Windows 8 Game Apps using only C++ and DirectX.  A unknown theme will be announced at the keynote by Scott Henson of MS Studios and officials from Guinness World Records will be present throughout the event adjudicating the proceedings.  The existing World Record is held by Singapore at 301 game developers so we will all hopefully be successful record breakers on Sunday.

    In preparing for the Game Jam the 330+ students have, for the past six weeks, been developing Windows 8 games to practise their skills.  These 330+ students can also now take advantage of these skills and build and deploy games for FREE to the Windows Store using their DreamSpark subscriptions which provide them free developer accounts for the Windows Store and Windows Phone MarketPlace.

    The experience and our involvement will help encourage them continue developing games in C++ and DirectX for Windows 8 and  Windows Phone 8.  Give the students some real practical example of working within teams and provide them with evidence and portfolios of real apps, with user ratings and feedbacks which they can then use to demonstrate skills to potential employers.

    We are also working with Train2Game in building a Windows 8/Phone 8 Game Development module for their 9,000 students to take as an option on their Degree/Masters courses.

    Happy coding! Oh yes, I will be playing some of the games developed on Sunday. So expect more details after I have recovered from sleep deprivation.

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