• 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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    jQuery Mobile Open Source Framework Support for Windows Phone



    jQuery Mobile version 1.0 was announced this week. Microsoft is  pleased to use this exciting occasion to reinforce our commitment to supporting popular open source mobile frameworks.  As many of you aware aware Microsoft recently supported PhoneGap by adding support for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), and now we are moving up the stack to improve support of jQuery Mobile on Windows Phone 7.5.

    jQuery Mobile framework is a Javascript HTML5-based user interface system for mobile device platforms, built on the jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. The Jquery RC3 blog published earlier this week outlines, Windows Phone performance has improved quite dramatically as shown by the two showcase apps:

    • 226% improvement in rendering the form gallery, bringing it down from 5 to 2.2 seconds
    • 20x improvement in rendering the complex 400 item listview, from 60 seconds to 3 seconds

    The jQuery team has additional performance optimization tips for Windows Phone in the change log that saves additional performance time in certain scenarios.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface Is Available to Pre-order Starting Today


    Many UK Universities are already using Microsoft Surface to conduct some amazing teaching learning and research.


    Samsung and Microsoft announced today that a new, more versatile Microsoft Surface device is now available for pre-order, the near final stop on its journey from lab to marketplace. You can now visit the Samsung website to find a local reseller and place an order for the Samsung SUR40. Shipments are expected to start early next year.

    The Samsung SUR40 was just named a 2011 “Best of What’s New” award winner by Popular Science magazine and is featured in a special awards issue currently on newsstands. Corinne Iozzio, senior associate editor at Popular Science, said the magazine’s editors were impressed with the update to the original Surface, a 2008 “Best of What’s New” winner. 

    The new device is also popular with academics, researchers and developers, a number of UK Universities are already using the Surface 2.0 software developer kit (SDK) which was released at MIX11 in April. The SDK features an input simulator that enables developers to write Surface applications on any Windows 7 PC.The SDK allows developers to write a single application that can adapt to all sorts of types of hardware. This makes for a great investment: they can target Microsoft Surface hardware as well as any Windows 7 touch-enabled PC. This is a flexible platform so developers can create the best user interface for the person actually using the computer.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark Apphub Registration



    DreamSpark has partnered with Windows Phone 7 and the App Hub! Now, you get the same tools professional developers and designers have, and you can sell your mobile applications and make money! Along with all the free applications, we're waiving the $99 registration fee and giving you the first 100 application submissions for free!!

    App Hub is the place to distribute and merchandise your applications for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

    To get registered:

    • Go to the App Hub Registration page.
    • When prompted make sure you register as a Student.
    • Complete the App Hub registration process.
    • Use the tools you downloaded to create applications and share your creativity with the world.

    Problem or issues registering?

    Are you having trouble with App Hub registration to submit Windows Phone Apps? Did you get this error?

    We’re sorry, an error has occurred.

    We have detected an error while processing the page you were looking for. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again.


    The following guidance has been issued on this issue.

    Please visit www.xbox.com
    Click My Accounts
    Click Update Billing Account Information
    Re-Enter password.

    Verify that the information in the site matches what you have enter in App Hub, Also verify your account information at http://accounts.live.com.

    If the error persists, try clearing your Cache and using another browser.

    If you have verified all your information and still receive the error, please provide screen shots of your account information so that we can better assess the issue and it email it to App Hub Support <apphub@microsoft.com>

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Computing Curricula Resources



    Microsoft Faculty Connection Cloud Computing with Windows Azure platform curricula resources.

    If your interested in developing curricula resources on cloud computing you need to check out these great resources

    Suggested Resources on Cloud Computing with Windows Azure platform

    Overview of Cloud Computing and the Windows Azure Platform: an Academic Perspective

    Windows Azure Platform Virtual Labs

    If your interested in Windows Azure please use the following 90 day trail offer

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build Windows 8 Applications With Windows Azure



    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8.

    Windows Azure platform provides you on-demand compute, storage, database and content network delivery capabilities to host, scale and manage your Windows 8 applications through Microsoft data centers. Windows Azure enables you to focus on delivering value to customers – and not on managing technology infrastructure.

    The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 is designed to make it easier for developers to create Windows Metro Style applications that harness the power of Windows Azure platform.

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark and Apphub Creation step by step guide



    So if your a Student or Academic and you want to get a free Dreamspark account and upload some phone apps via App Hub waiving the $99 fee. follow the following step by step by step process.

    1) Go to https://www.dreamspark.com/verify/default.aspx and sign in with a LiveID (you can create a LiveID using your .ac.uk email address or a personal email address if preferred) or if your a school or college administrator with a .org.uk email you can register your school.


    2) Select your country and status

    1) UK
    2) Verify as a Student
    3) Get verified through my school
    4) Click Continue


    4) Select correct School, college or University.


    5) Type in your information, and be sure to use your .ac.uk email address.


    6) Check your .ac.uk email for verification:


    7) Follow instructions to activate by clicking on the link and typing in the code sent to your email address.


    8) After this is done, go to https://users.create.msdn.com/Register/ and choose account type, “Student”. This will waive the $99 fee.


    9) Go through the entire App Hub account creation process. follow the step by step guide here

    10) It will lead to another email to confirm your App Hub account.


    11) To register your phone handsets

    1. Turn on your phone and if necessary unlock the phone screen.

    2. On your phone, ensure that the date and time are correct.

    3. Using the USB cable that came with your phone, connect your phone to your computer. On your computer, the Zune software starts automatically. If Zune does not start, then start it manually.

    4. On your computer, click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

    5. Click Windows Phone Developer Registration.The application starts, as shown in the following image. Verify that the Status message displays Phone ready. Please enter your Windows Live ID and password and click "Register" to begin.


      If your phone is already registered, the Status message will indicate this and you will see an Unregister button.

    6. Enter the Windows Live ID and password that correspond to your App Hub membership.

    7. Click Register.

    After your phone is successfully registered, the Status message will display Your phone has successfully been registered. You can now deploy applications to the Windows Phone. If you ever need to, you can also unregister the device by clicking Unregister in the tool.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Python Tools for Visual Studio 1.1 Alpha now with support for Kinect



    We’re pleased to announce the release of Python Tools for Visual Studio 1.1 Alpha. Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) is an open-source plug-in for Visual Studio which supports programming with the Python programming language.

    Python Tools for Visual Studio – an open source (Apache) & free plug-in that turns VS into a world-class Python development environment.

    Python Tools for Visual Studio - has a cool feature for students/academics: PyKinect, which enables writing Kinect games using Python!

    Project Link:  http://pytools.codeplex.com

    C9 video: http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Charles/Announcing-Python-Tools-for-Visual-Studio-11-Alpha

    What’s new?

    1. Over 100 bug fixes and new small features: http://pytools.codeplex.com/releases/view/69667

    2. Pyvot – A Python to/from Excel connector:  http://pytools.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Pyvot

    3. PyKinect – Write Kinect games using Python! : http://pytools.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=PyKinect

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Teaching UI and UX want some reference style guides–Metro



    From a design point of view a nice thing about Windows Phone is that it brings with it a whole set of design guidelines which are referred to as “Metro”.

    Microsoft has developed a sets of guides to  how controls are supposed to look and establishes a set of criteria that your applications should meet if they are to be “good looking applications.”

    For further details see the Metro style document, you can find the style guide here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh202915.aspx

    This is well worth a look if you want to publish your programs in the Marketplace, where your potential customers will have certain expectations of how things should look and work.

    Additionally the following interviews are a GREAT virtual guest lecture for teaching UI and UX course attendees on concept and theories of design.

    On type


    On way-finding graphics


    On mobile audio


    On light & space in architecture


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