Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
What is Microsoft Cloud Services, well Microsoft’s cloud is now comprised of a globally distributed datacentre infrastructure supporting hundreds of online services and millions of transactions on a daily basis.
Microsoft Cloud services include Windows Azure, Live@edu, SkyDrive, Office 365, Bing, MSN, Windows Live, Hotmail and Xbox Live and have more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses in over 70 countries who actively use these services.
The Microsoft Data centre strategy has continually evolved, from the initial Microsoft datacentre which was built in 1989 starting with the Generation 1 to todays Generation 4 series datacentres all of which have ISO and PCI certifications, SAS70 Type II attestations, and FISMA certification and accreditation.
PUEs in the Generation 4 centres has been driven even lower as we are also using free air cooling for our N+1 modular designs. These fully modular facilities have reduced Microsoft's ability to provide services by 50% and deliver outstanding PUEs, low water utilization and low total cost of ownership.
For more details of Microsoft datacentre strategy and facilities see the following video tour and read further details at the Microsoft Datacentre blog.
For all of you whom are interested in open source take a look at The Interoperability bridges and Labs Center, the site is dedicated to technical collaborative work to improve interoperability between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.
On the web site, you will find a live directory of freely downloadable technical resources and related content such as demos, technical guidance and articles. The Center is run by the Microsoft Interoperability Strategy Group working with the Open Source community.
Microsoft Platform & Java Cloud Interoperability HTML5 Labs Windows Azure for PHP Windows Phone Interoperability
Apache POI OpenXML Java API Apache Stonehenge
AppFabric SDK for Java AppFabric SDK for PHP AppFabric SDK for Ruby Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP Windows Azure SDK for PHP Windows Azure Companion Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java Windows Azure SDK for Java Windows Azure SDK for PHP Windows Azure Storage for WordPress Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse
Bing 404 for WordPress Bing 404 Web Page Error Toolkit for PHP Bing Maps Module for Drupal Bing Search Library for PHP
Eclipse Tools for Silverlight Enhancements of Eclipse on Windows 7 Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse
Information Cards for C Information Cards for Java Information Cards for PHP Information Cards for Ruby
Lab: Development Environment and Software Configuration Management (SCM) Interoperability Lab: Directory Management Interoperability Lab: Document & Records Management Across Portals Lab: Federated Identity Lab: Interoperability with Open XML Lab: Multi-platform System Management Lab: Portal Aggregation and Integration Lab: Remote Desktop Interoperability Lab: Systems Management
OData Client for Objective C (iPhone-Mac) OData Module for Drupal OData SDK for PHP Restlet Extension for OData
Office Binary to Open XML Translator OpenXML Document Viewer/HTML Translator OpenXML/ODF Translator OpenXML/UOF Translator
Samples for PHP with Silverlight Samples for PHP with Webslices & Accelerators SQL CRUD Application Wizard for PHP SQL Server Reporting Services SDK for PHP Toolkit for PHP with Virtual Earth (Bing Maps) Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP Windows Azure SDK for PHP
Silverlight Pivot viewer Module for Drupal
Windows Live ID Module for Drupal
WSRP Producer for Microsoft SharePoint Server Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin Download HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome
If your new to cloud computing and want to have some guidance on using Windows Azure take a look at the Getting Started Tutorials.
Tutorials and Guidance
The Azure getting started tutorial resources have been developed to help you get up-and-running quickly. In addition the new tutorials section on the Windows Azure product website contains all the content, tutorials and guidance of all aspects of the Windows Azure platform.
Some of the new getting started tutorial include:
The resource bring together, Windows Azure tutorials from across several Microsoft sites and groups them by task and experience level to make it easy for you to get started with cloud services.
How to move an existing application to Windows Azure - Migrate Services and Data Tutorials
Adding authentication to an existing Windows Azure application, - Control Access Tutorials.
For feedback on these resources please contact: email@example.com.
The Windows Azure Marketplace is a global online market for customers and partners to share, buy, and sell finished SaaS applications and premium datasets.
The marketplace offer a interesting resource for academic worldwide. The marketplace simply provides you access to Windows Azure based applications & datasets, the Windows Azure Marketplace is a one-stop location supported by Microsoft to help you succeed.
The data section of Windows Azure Marketplace includes data, imagery, and real-time web services from leading commercial data providers and authoritative public data sources. Customers will have access to datasets such as demographic, environmental, financial, retail, weather and sports. The data section also includes visualizations and analytics to enable insight on top of data.
The application section of the Windows Azure Marketplace contains valuable finished applications to help you, all built on the Windows Azure Platform. From billing engines to content managements systems to HPC solutions and everything in between, the applications in the Windows Azure Marketplace can help accelerate your success with the platform.
Interested in publishing your application? Click here to learn more here
Microsoft Openness goal is to promote greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for customers and developers throughout the industry by making our products more open and by sharing even more information about our technologies.
Microsoft has changed as a company and is becoming more open in the way that we work with and collaborate with others in the industry, in how we listen to customers, and in our approach our the cloud services, tools and support.
For example did you know Microsoft is one of the biggest contributes to the Linux 3.0 project? LWN.net published an article listing the different contributors to the changes in the source code of Linux kernel 3.0. According to the article, Microsoft has contributed 361 changes/patches to the Linux kernel 3.0, which makes it Microsoft the seventh largest contributor to the kernel and fifth largest corporate contributor.
Watch this video where James Utzschneider, General Manager of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Microsoft explains how Microsoft is becoming more open.
At Microsoft, we’re building bridges across platforms, applications and data to create a more interoperable IT ecosystem. On this site, you’ll find stories of governments, companies, universities and individuals who have found success mixing Microsoft technologies with other technologies – including open source – to make efficient, forward-thinking solutions. And we’d love to hear from you, too.
Share your story or simply give some feedback via the Openness site http://www.voiceofopenness.com/
Openness Blog - http://blogs.technet.com/b/openness/
Openness Case Studies and Stories - http://www.voiceofopenness.com/
Openness Site - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/openness/default.aspx
Openness on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/openatmicrosoft
Microsoft & SUSE Linux Support https://expandedsupport.com
Just over a month we released the Azure toolkit for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has now released the Azure tookit for iOS, and Android is next in line.
The toolkit contains a “compiled Objective-C library for working with services running in Windows Azure (e.g. push notification, authN/authZ, and storage),” along with Objective-C source code and Xcode project files. It also includes a sample iOS application and its source code, designed to show developers how Azure can be used inside of the platform.
The toolkit has been posted to github and can be found at the following three links:
Details on how to get started can be found here.
Microsoft are pleased to announce the release of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games
This toolkit is a preview but will allow you and your students to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure.
The toolkit includes the following assets
3. Developer tools
The toolkit also includes specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and so forth. In addition to releasing the toolkit, we have also teamed with industry innovator Grant Skinner and his team to create a game called Tankster.
Tankster is built with HTML5 and comes complete with reusable service-side code and documentation. It also supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.
For more information please visit the following
Windows Azure Team Blog: Build Your Next Game with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games
WA.com: Social Gaming on Windows Azure
Channel 9: Social Gaming on Windows Azure
CodePlex: Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Gaming
Microsoft has developed an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure, code-named "Daytona." Project Daytona is designed to support a wide class of data analytics and machine learning algorithms. It can scale out to hundreds of server cores for analysis of distributed data.
Project Daytona was developed as part of the eXtreme Computing Group’s Cloud Research Engagement Initiative and made its debut at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit.
Project Daytona MapReduce Runtime for Windows Azure can be download, along with sample codes and instructional materials that researchers can use to set up their own large-scale, cloud data-analysis service on Windows Azure.
Project Daytona features the following key properties.
1. Designed for the cloud, specifically for Windows Azure.
2. Designed for cloud storage services.
3. Horizontally scalable and elastic.
4. Optimized for data analytics.
So what can you use Daytona for?
There are a number of use cases for Project Daytona,
1. Data analysis
2. Machine learning
3. Financial analysis
4. Text processing
5. Indexing, and search.
Almost any application that involves data manipulation and analysis can take advantage of Project Daytona to scale out processing on Windows Azure.
Data analytics as a service
Using Windows Azure, which is accessible to a host of clients NOT just windows clients!
Project Daytona is about turning utility cloud computing into a service model for data analytics. In our view, what is key is that this service is not limited to a single data collection or set of analytics, but the ability to upload data and select from an extensible library of models for data analysis. Powered by Project Daytona, the service will automatically scale out the data and analytics model across a pool of Windows Azure VMs without the overhead that is usually associated with typical business intelligence (BI) and data analysis projects.
Example of Application
Excel DataScope. From the familiar interface of Microsoft Excel, Excel DataScope enables researchers to accelerate data-driven decision making.
Project Daytona DataScope analytics service offers a library of data analytics and machine learning models, such as:-
2. Outlier detection
4. Machine learning
5. Information visualization
Users can upload data in their Excel spreadsheet to the DataScope service or select a data set already in the cloud, and then select an analysis model from our Excel DataScope research ribbon to run against the selected data.
Project Daytona will scale out the model processing by using possibly hundreds of CPU cores to perform the analysis. The results can be returned to the Excel client or remain in the cloud for further processing and/or visualization. The algorithms and analysis techniques are applicable to any type of data, ranging from web analytics to survey, environmental, or social data.
· See Overview for information about what is included in the release package.
What’s Next for Project Daytona?
Project Daytona is part of an active research and development project in the eXtreme Computing Group of Microsoft Research.The current release of Project Daytona is a research technology preview (RTP). Microsoft Research are still tuning the performance of Project Daytona and adding new functionality.
For more information on project Daytona please see http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/azure/daytona.aspx
WATCH THE MICROSOFT RESEARCH FACULTY SUMMIT 2011 KEYNOTES ONLINE JULY 18 – 20 2011
The world of computing is ever changing, and nowhere more so than in the combination of software and consumer devices. We have entered the age of natural user interfaces, and this fact requires innovation in areas of computer vision, translation, audio sensing, and machine learning.
Security, privacy, and the effect of the data deluge in the systems we build have taken on global significance in our socially networked world. The twelfth Microsoft Research Faculty Summit provides a forum for lively debate of the development, application, and funding of these technologies in the environmental, medical, and educational spheres over a long period of time.
The keynotes and Design Expo from the Summit can be viewed in real time here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/events/fs2011/streaming_video.aspx
The 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals took place yesterday from 16:00-19:00 EST (NYC Local Time) 8pm to 11pm GMT you can watch a video recording of the stream here.
The “World Festival Awards Ceremony” will be held at the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in downtown New York City! The event capped a six-day celebration of technology that featured more than 400 students from 70 countries.
Microsoft had a dedicated Social Media Team at the Microsoft Imagine Cup, made up of Microsoft Student Partners, the team of 25 were tweeting, blogging and streaming as much as possible about every aspect of the finals. To see all 25 Microsoft Student Partners on the Social Media Team tweeting, check out our Twitter List!
For more information on the Imagine Cup see the dedicated Official Imagine Cup Facebook Page which has been made available for things Imagine Cup!
So what is the Imagine Cup?
The Imagine Cup 2011 consisted of Student projects that tackle global problems such as improving road and fire safety, eradicating poverty, and creating a more sustainable environment.
The Imagine Cup is a awesome event and I have to state I was tremendously inspired, enthused and excited by the events of yesterday. Over 350,000 students globally took part in the competition over the past months, leading to the Worldwide Finals in New York City July 8-13. The UK managed to secure two places to the World Finals represented by two teams Project Ove, from the University of Manchester, competing in the Software Design Competition and Cycling into Trees, from the University of York, competing in the Embedded Development Competition. Project Ove were unfortunate to be knocked out in the first round in New York however Kevin Pfister team Cycling into Trees made it to the Final Six and the grand final see more details below!
Ireland’s Team Hermes won the competition’s premier Software Design category and $25,000 (U.S.) with their project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.
"Thank you Imagine Cup for the opportunity to develop a solution to address this global, serious problem of road traffic accidents,” said team member Aine Conaghan as they collected the Imagine Cup trophy. “Initially we were inspired due to the fact of this problem in Ireland. The more research we carried out, we realized ‘yeah, we're going to make an impact globally.’”
The members of Team Hermes said traffic accidents are a huge problem in Sligo, the North Western Irish city where they go to University. "Initially we wanted to do something to improve road safety," said team member Calum Cawley. "So many people are dying we had to do something about it."
Women in Technology
It was encouraging to see so many female contestants at the Imagine Cup World Final, the more women we see enter science, technology, engineering and math fields will help fill the shortage of viable candidates in the tech sector, encouraging more females into the sector will bring a new wave of ideas and perspectives. Over Sixty women participated in the Imagine Cup Finals, double last’s year numbers. Those female students can help inspire more women to take an interest in tech and enter future competitions.
Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the U.S. Marketing and Operations group at Microsoft, hopes the Imagine Cup continues to get more women to attend. On Sunday Watson led a panel discussion where she invited women competitors to talk about the issues and challenges surrounding getting more women into STEM fields and to inspire them to be role models for others. “(We need) to bring the voice and stories of the women competitors to others," she said. "The more women you can get here, the more you can create a community of people who can support each other.”
Role models can make a huge difference in getting more women interested in technology careers, which can be intimidating, so well done to team Hermes! it shows that the Imagine Cup is a great platform for female students, noting that even the Imagine Cup name is approachable: "We want people to dream.”
Imagine Cup 2011 Award Highlights and Winners
Team Hermes – Winners Software Design 2011
Ireland’s Team Hermes won this year’s Software Design competition with a project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.
The team developed a smart device that can plug into any car made after 2000, Conaghan said. It uploads driving information to the cloud and gives the driver a report on their behavior. "Research has shown that educating the drivers reduces fatalities on the roads," she said.
The team used a number of Microsoft technologies to create their project including Silverlight, Azure, and SQL Server. "It's all compatible," said James McNamara, also a team member. "It's a great system to work in."
Looking ahead, Team Hermes wants to get their project out into the world to make an impact on roads worldwide. "We want to develop a sustainable project that not only saves lives but generates enough income to bring the product forward and establish a mass user group and a mass community, because the more users we have the more lives we can save," McNamara said.
NTHUCS - Winners Embedded Development 2011 Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS sets up their display booth at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals. Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS won the Embedded Development contest and $25,000 with their project RIGHT!! This Way, which computes the safest fire escape routes in real time as detected by a wireless sensor network, while the three winners from the Game Design category all focused on some aspect of environmental sustainability. Signum Games - Winners Games Design Windows/Xbox 2011
Brazil’s Team Signum Games demos their winning Game Design Windows/Xbox entry "UCan," a strategy game that invites players to solve urban problems involving health, education and the environment. One member of Brazil’s Signum Games team that won the Windows/Xbox category of Game Design shouted at the crowd, “If we can, you can!” Team Signum’s Fernanda Fonteles said she was amazed her team came out on top. “It's unbelievable," she said. "We saw the other projects – they are very strong.” The team’s game was inspired by volunteers who helped clean up their home city of Curitiba, Brazil. "It's very important to bring the top prize to our university," Fonteles said.
Geeklogic - Winners Games Design Mobile 2011
Team Geeklogic from France won the Game Design – Mobile contest with "Brainergy," a Windows Phone 7 puzzle game in which the player has to solve different challenges based on renewable energy.I had the pleasure of meeting the team earlier in the Month at the FDG2011 conference and the game was superb so well done! As France’s Geekologic collected its award in the Game Design – Mobile category, a team member thanked the crowd and urged them “to continue this work and we will really make this world a better place.”
Cellardoor - Winners Games Design Web 2011
In the Games Design web category, Winners were Poland’s Team Cellardoor demo "The Book of Elm". The game, won the Game Design – Web category, it illustrates the importance of taking care of the environment in everyday life through the interactive story of Elm, a creature on a quest to fix the mistakes done by people around the world.
HOMERUN - Winners Windows Phone 2011
Alaniarides - Winners Interoperability Challenge 2011
Greece’s Team Alaniarides won the Interoperability Challenge with their Touring Machine, which offers adults and children a new kind of cultural experience
M.N.A – Winners Digital Media 2011
Romania’s Team M.N.A. won the Digital Media category.
Jean-Sébastien Duchene Winner IT Challenge 2011
France’s Jean-Sébastien Duchene won the IT Challenge.
During the ceremony, Microsoft also unveiled plans to launch a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program to help recipients realize their vision of solving the world’s toughest problems and announced that Imagine Cup finalists will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support via the Microsoft BizSpark programme. Microsoft will announce details about the grant program and application process later this summer.and BizSpark membership packages.
“The innovators, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who compete in the Imagine Cup have developed an inspiring spectrum of projects, raising the bar higher and higher each year,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “We are in awe of the students’ solutions for addressing social and real-world challenges, and want to help them take their projects to the next level with the financial, technical and business support they need to change the world.”
At the awards ceremony, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and activist and actress Eva Longoria also expressed their awe of the students’ tech skills and passion to change the world.
When the finals kicked off last Friday, economist Jeffrey Sachs gave the students a homework assignment: saving the world. “You don't just leave here with the Imagine Cup and think your work is done – you have a lot of work ahead,” he said.
Many of the participants hope to meet that challenge by forming their own companies. Dennis Anderson, a professor of management and information technology at St. Francis College in New York and longtime advisor to the Imagine Cup, said ‘the event serves as a launching pad for many students.(The Imagine Cup) opens up career pathways for many of the finalists,’ said Anderson, who also served as one of the judges in this year’s Software Design category. "This is definitely more than a competition. They are working very hard to start new businesses.”
‘Students aren’t merely seeing dollar signs with plans to form their own companies,’ said Mark Hindsbo, vice president of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism Group in the U.S. "I haven't heard one of the teams say they want to make money," he said. "They want to make a difference in the world."
The New Zealand know a thing or two about success after the Imagine Cup. Two members from OneBuzz participated in last year’s competition, where they finished third in the Software Design category. Their project, called OneBeep, transmits educational data over radio waves to impoverished communities.
Vinny Lohan said that after last year’s Imagine Cup, he and his OneBeep teammates formed their own company to license the technology. Since then they’ve attracted the attention of Icehouse, one of the top 10 incubation firms in the world, which is providing the young company with funding and support. Today they are conducting field tests in South America, and Lohan, the company’s CEO, said they’re six months from global deployment. He credited the Imagine Cup and Microsoft’s BizSpark program with getting their company off the ground. "(The Imagine Cup) is the beginning, not the end of the journey," he said. "The Imagine Cup turns students into entrepreneurs."
In New York City, it appeared many students were already on their way. Our very own Kevin Pfister, a one-man team called Cycling Into Trees who represented the U.K. in the Embedded Development category is now well on this journey.
Kevin’s Child Sleep Safe project uses a mixture of embedded hardware, software and home automation systems to reduce crib death numbers by monitoring babies while sleeping. “It represents the next generation of baby monitoring,” he said.
Kevin has already built a working prototype of Child Sleep Safe and presented it to Mothercare, the U.K.’s largest specialist retailer for parents. “They gave us a good response,” Pfister said. “I’m going to move ahead with it.”
The Peoples Choice Awards
Eva Longoria told the students ‘she was honoured to support and shine a light on the finalists’ work, which she had a chance to review earlier in the day. She called out specific teams like Thailand’s NewKrean, who responded to a devastating flood in their country with a project that will help rescue workers find victims after a disaster. Before leaving the stage, Eva Longoria told the students ‘they were the next generation of leaders who were going to give us all a better future'.’
She then announced the winner of the People’s Choice Award, Bangladesh’s Team Rapture, whose project, ThirdEye, is a smartphone device for the visually impaired.
Earlier, Bloomberg encouraged the students to work together as they tackle the world’s toughest problems, just like the diverse residents of New York City do. It will take collaboration to eliminate poverty and illness, combat global warming, and preserve the environment, he said. He then held up his friends Bill and Melinda Gates as two people who were truly changing the world and challenged the finalists to follow in their footsteps. He closed with an invitation for all the students to make New York City their future home.
So will you be the next Imagine Cup HERO!
The number of students competing or the number of countries represented, the Imagine Cup 2011 was the biggest event yet. However we need your help as parents, teachers, academics and faculties to help lead students to go into science, technology engineering fields (known as STEM), where there is projected to be a major shortfall of job candidates in the coming years.so let's go from 350,000 competitors to 35 million people.
So if your a UK School teacher, FE or HE academic, I cannot think of a better way to inspire students so think about the Imagine Cup for future challenges or curricula competitions! We simply need to inspire more students to enter technical fields as STEM is critical in driving the worlds economy.
So I hope to see your entries for next year competition which will take place in Sydney, Australia. If you would like more details or information relating to the UK entry requirements simply get in touch!