• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Call for Content: Partner Support for ChronoZoom



    Call for Content: Partner Support for ChronoZoom

    ChronoZoom serves as a "master timeline" tying together all kinds of specialized timelines and electronic resources, and aspires to bridge the gap between the humanities and the sciences and to unify all knowledge of the past. We are seeking humanities scholars and scientists from fields like geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, astronomy, and cosmology to work with us to develop the broadest possible view of the past by providing content to help us build the timelines for the Cosmos, Earth, Life, Pre-Human, and Human histories. If you can support ChronoZoom, please submit relevant content, including videos, images, text, PowerPoint slides, documents, chart data, table data, and Excel data. All content must be available under a Creative Commons license.

    Download ChronoZoom

  • 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? http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/11/20/matlab-and-r-on-windows-azure-via-techila.aspx

    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

    Interested in running a Tomcat/Java Worker Role in Windows Azure? Step by Step guide here:



    The Windows Azure Tomcat Solution is designed in a way that you can update your Tomcat project outside VS2010 project.

    The VS2010 application will be deployed once however whenever you would need to update, Tomcat, Java Run time or your own Tomcat based solution, you can update without updating your Windows Azure application.

    This project is based on Startup task in which Tomcat, Java and your project is downloaded from Azure Storage and then installed in Azure VM.

    Full source code is available for startup task and solution via : http://tomcatazure.codeplex.com/

    For a more details and complete setup guides look here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Free eBook & Demos



    Resource for Teaching and Learning Windows Phone Development

    Windows Phone Programming in C# (Windows Phone Version 7.5)

    The main text is provided as a Word document and PDF file. This contains the entire text, broken into chapters.


    The Demos folder contains a folder for each of the chapters that have demonstration programs.

    Teaching Content

    For each of the chapters there is a folder with the presentations and lab content for that chapter. Each presentation has a corresponding folder containing the demonstrations for that chapter. The demonstration slides contain step by step instructions in the slide notes. Not all the demonstrations have sample projects associated with them, for these demonstrations the program will be created during the presentation. The first 9 chapters also have a lab document which contains a set of lab exercises for that chapter. Some of the lab documents also have answer documents.

    The following chapters are covered in this material:

    Windows Phone

    The Windows Phone Platform
    The Windows Phone Ecosystem
    Windows Phone Program Execution
    Windows Phone Application Development

    Introduction to Silverlight

    Program Design with Silverlight
    Understanding XAML
    Creating a Silverlight Application

    Visual Studio Solution Management

    Getting Started with Projects and Solutions
    Debugging Programs
    Performance Tuning

    Constructing a Program with Silverlight

    Improving the User Experience
    Data Manipulation and Display
    Managing Application Page Layout
    Displaying Lists of Data
    Pages and Navigation
    Using ViewModel Classes

    Isolated Storage on Windows Phone

    Storing Data on Windows Phone

    Using Databases on Windows Phone

    An Overview of Database Storage
    Creating Data Relationships with LINQ

    Networking with Windows Phone

    Networking Overview
    Creating a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Connection
    Creating a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Connection
    Connecting to a Data Source
    Using LINQ to Read from an XML Stream
    Using Network Services

    XNA on Windows Phone

    XNA in Context
    Making an XNA Program
    Player Interaction in Games
    Adding Sound to a Game
    Playing Sound in a Silverlight Program
    Managing Screen Dimensions and Orientation
    Combining XNA and Silverlight

    Creating Windows Phone Applications

    The Windows Phone Icons and Splash Screens
    Fast Application Switching
    Launchers and Choosers
    Background Processing

    Windows Phone Marketplace

    Preparing an Application for Sale
    Distributing Windows Phone Applications and Games
    Making your Application Stand Out
    What to do Next

    Download this resource here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows announcements and information



    Since the launch of the dedicated Kinect for Windows site a few weeks ago the Kinect for Windows team have been busy with a awareness campaign for the coming year they have created a dedicated blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kinectforwindows/ 

    Twitter @KinectWindows http://twitter.com/#!/KinectWindows and Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/KinectForWindows

    Some of the latest blogs state that a new version of the Kinect device is to launched which includes optimized certain hardware components and firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios and offer greater flexibility and usage within teaching and research.

    The blog states 

    ‘Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for. Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums, and we’re pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch.’Craig Eisler General Manager, Kinect for Windows

    Microsoft also has just launched a new initiative, the Kinect Accelerator incubation project run by Microsoft BizSpark. BizSpark helps software startups through access to Microsoft software development tools, connection to key industry players (including investors) and by providing marketing visibility.

    The Kinect Accelerator will give 10 tech-oriented companies using Kinect (on either Windows or Xbox360) an investment of $20,000 each, plus a number of other great perks. Applications are being accepted now through January 25th, 2012.

    I am pleased to say a number of UK Universities are members of the BizSpark Network Partners Programme helping foster and develop entrepreneurs within the UK. If your interested in learning more about Kinect in education or the BizSpark Network Partner process please get in touch.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup information/awareness sessions in London & Edinburgh



    Last week I had a tour of colleges and Universities in the North East of England in relation to raising awareness and interest into the Imagine Cup 2012 competition. From the positive feedback of this event were holding additional regional sessions and the next planned events are in London and Edinburgh. The purpose of these events are to provide you with more information about what the Imagine Cup is as well as giving you the chance to meet like-minded people.

    If your interested in the Imagine Cup why not come along to a sessions where you’ll learn about the Imagine Cup. The Imagine Cup is a chance for College, University students and academics to get together and use Microsoft technology to develop solutions to world problems.

    This years World Wide Final will be held in Sydney, Australia and with the prize of $25,000 not only will you get this reward but the Imagine Cup is a great chance to showcase your students and your institution. So why not take the opportunity and enter. So please register to attend if you’re interested in entering and finding out what sort of projects you could do or what prizes you could win. you may of already registered and simply want to find some team members, a mentor. If you have already decided to enter please simply register online at http://www.imaginecup.com

    Simply register for free

    Edinburgh 29th November 2011 - http://ukimaginecup.eventbrite.co.uk/

    London 1st December 2011 - http://ukimaginecuplondon.eventbrite.co.uk/

    If you have any suggestions for other locations where we can hold such an event let us know at ukstu@microsoft.com for more information on Microsoft UK Students see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoftukstudents/ or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/microsoftukstudents

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    More info on Phone Developer Rewards



    Welcome to the Windows Phone Developer Reward Programme.

    The programme is simple. Successfully publish an unique and original app in the Windows Phone Marketplace and you will be rewarded with one point.

    You can then decide to redeem the point for a 12 month magazine subscription or Gyro Stealth Flyer Remote Control Helicopter (more options available also).

    You can  earn up to 4 points and redeem a PocketCinema Projector, Xbox360 Console or 22 inch LED TV.

    The only catch is that they must successfully publish their apps in the Windows Phone marketplace between now and the end of January 2012.

    This reward programme is free to register and is open for all (including students and academic using the DreamSpark programme).

    You will just need to have to have a AppHub membership.

    So what are you waiting for go develop an app for the Windows Phone marketplace this Christmas season and get rewarded and free presents!!!

    There is no better time to build and publish your Winodws Phone App! So get started today and register now.

    Frequently Asked Questions - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ukmsdn/archive/2011/11/10/there.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Windows phone Development some great community resources



    I recently came across this site 31 Days of Mango, a series of articles which will focus on development for Windows Phone 7.5. This is a continuation of the original series, 31 Days of Windows Phone, which was published in the fall of 2010.

    I will be publishing a detailed tutorial on Windows Phone development each day this month, specifically focusing on the new additions that were introduced with the Mango update.

    For every one of these articles, you will need to use the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and Visual Studio 2010. You can download both, for free, from the link below:


    Also can  make you aware of the incentives programme. There are great prizes, including Bose earphones, Ferrari drives, BluRay players, Sony camcorders, XBOX consoles, TVs, etc., and I expect lots of students would like these prizes (full list here). In addition to the main incentives programme, we’re also offering hoodies just for students – the closing date for the first draw is this coming Sunday, 27th November.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    MATLAB and R on Windows Azure via Techila


    Techila is a middleware solution for High Performance Computing that enables existing applications to utilize more computing capacity. I believe that the key problem in business and operational computing is the lack of application performance. There are enormous amounts of computing capacity available using Windows Azure cloud service.

    Techila allows applications to utilise all available computing capacity. To try demonstrate this a great example of the benefits of Techila and the Windows Azure with Techila integration is a case study, which Techila did with a leading cancer researcher. The researchers in question had a project, which would have taken 15 years. He had developed his research application in MATLAB. He used the Windows Azure with Techila integration to boost the performance of his application with the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. This allowed him to complete the project in 4,5 days! Being able to do something in 4,5 days, which usually takes 15 years gives a real competitive advantage.

    Techila develop the solution in close co-operation with end-users and system administrators from the very beginning.

    Techila has selected Pharma, Economics/ Financial, and Universities/ Academia as the key markets because of the fact that they are strong on Techila's home market, Finland. But I want to emphasize that unlike many other distributed computing solutions, Techila is a fully horizontal middleware, which can be used in any segment and which can increase the performance of any application: The code can be a MATLAB application, or it can be R (or C/C++, Java, Perl, Python, Fortran,...) They also offer an open API, which can be used to connect any ISV application (3DSMax, SAS, COMSOL, Sungard,...) to the Windows Azure capacity.

    Also please find below a demo of run a 2-day long computation in a couple of minutes using 500 Azure instances using MATLAB:


    Techila with R language can be found here:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Big Data Solution SQL Server, Apache Hadoop and Windows Azure


    Big Data Solution

    Microsoft’s end-to-end roadmap for Big Data embraces Apache Hadoop™ by distributing enterprise class Hadoop based solutions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure. The roadmap includes Microsoft BI tools such as SQL Server Analysis Services, Reporting Services and even PowerPivot and Excel. This enables you to do BI on all your data, including those in Hadoop.

    Key Benefits
    • Broader access of Hadoop to end users, IT professionals and Developers, through easy installation and configuration and simplified programming with JavaScript.
    • Enterprise ready Hadoop distribution with greater security, performance, ease of management and options for Hybrid IT usage.
    • Breakthrough insights through the use of familiar tools such as Excel, PowerPivot, SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services.


    Technical Considerations

    On the more technical front, we have been working on a simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies, including HDFS, Hive, and Pig, which will help broaden the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise.

    The Hadoop based service for Windows Azure will allow any developer or user to submit and run standard Hadoop jobs directly on the Azure cloud with a simple user experience. Therefore it doesn’t matter what platform you are developing your Hadoop jobs on -you will always be able to take a standard Hadoop job and deploy it on our platform, as we strive towards full interoperability with the official Apache Hadoop distribution.

    This is great news as it lowers the barrier for building Hadoop based applications while encouraging rapid prototyping scenarios in the Windows Azure cloud for Big Data.To facilitate all of this, we have also entered into a strategic partnership with Hortonworks that enables us to gain unique experience and expertise to help accelerate the delivery of Microsoft’s Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure.

    For developers, we will enable integration with Microsoft developer tools as well as invest in making Javascript a first class language for Big Data. We will do this by making it possible to write high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript.For end users, the Hadoop-based applications targeting the Windows Server and Windows Azure platforms will easily work with Microsoft’s existing BI tools like PowerPivot and recently announced Power View, enabling self-service analysis on business information that was not previously accessible. To enable this we will be delivering an ODBC Driver and an Add-in for Excel, each of which will interoperate with Apache Hive.

    Finally, in line with our commitment to Interoperability and to facilitate the high performance bi-directional movement of enterprise data between Apache Hadoop and Microsoft SQL Server, we have released two Hadoop-based connectors for SQL Server to manufacturing.

    The SQL Server connector for Apache Hadoop lets customers move large volumes of data between Hadoop and SQL Server 2008 R2, while the SQL Server PDW connector for Apache Hadoop moves data between Hadoop and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW). These new connectors will enable customers to work effectively with both structured and unstructured data.

    For more information see http://www.microsoft.com/bigdata

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