• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    On premise HPC Cluster with the power of the cloud


    Did you know that the minimum requirement for Windows Azure Burst configuration is one on-premise (local) machine with Windows HPC Server installed. This extremely low barrier to entry allows anyone to create a mini-super computer on Azure with powerful HPC scheduling mechanism.


    So if you have CPU intensive jobs that require 100s of Cores the options are now unlimited as you could have 99 on Azure and one HPC on-premise cluster or vice versa.

    As the Diagram above illustrates HPC can be provided from on-premise resources, dedicated HPC Clusters and Window 7 workstations running Microsoft Cluster Of Workstation services.

    One of my colleagues Wen-ming has  just uploaded five easy-to-learn samples with lab instructions to the Faculty Connection resources. Wen-ming has has also produced the following white paper aimed at academic and researchers Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

    More real-world demos will be available soon, molecular dynamics, DNA sequencingWeather Simulation, Parallel Visualization, Seismic Simulation in Silverlight + World Wide Telescope version.  These new demos will also demonstrate the integration of our developer technologies including Phone 7, Silverlight, Windows Azure Marketplace, .NET parallel extension, with HPC Azure.

    Download Page for Samples and White Paper

    Wen-ming blog:  Details of the samples

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta


    Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta

    The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

    This OCR service is the next step in the evolution of
    Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones.

    With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone's camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and in return receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus.

    Download the SDK and start building Windows Phone 7 apps today. For more details, read the Aloha: Text from the Cloud blog.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Microsoft Kinect Devices and the opportunity of the Kinect SDK Beta



    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

    Coming later this spring, the Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts with easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Windows 7.

    So if your an interested academic who would like to do more with Microsoft Kinect please Subscribe to the RSS feed to get release announcements, updates, and more.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Functional programming Try F# in a web browser



    Try F# Browser
    The Microsoft Research Connections (MRC) Computer Science team have announced the release of TryF#, a new tool that enables the Microsoft .NET language F# to be used in an interactive browser-based environment.

    TryF# makes F# accessible to users with Windows and Macs, and will soon work across all operating systems, including Linux. Computer scientists, programmers, and developers can access the online training tool.

    Also, join the TryF# community through Facebook and Twitter.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft announces Windows Azure Toolkits for Mobile Devices including iPhone and Android


    Today, Microsoft announced Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows Phone, iOS and a preview of tools for Android.

    Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms.

    Today announcement and the release of the API is a key goal to allowing developers to quickly develop and build apps that work with unique devices across a dozen platforms.

    The toolkits leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud resources to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices. As a common back-end, developers can use cloud services to share common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage and even higher-level services like leaderboards.

    Developers can maximize the performance of each mobile device by writing client code that exploits each platform. As more and more mobile applications rely on back-end services, the Microsoft Azure cloud can become increasingly useful and strategic for developers.

    A huge opportunity of the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices to create applications on the major mobile platforms, specifically:

    Windows Azure Toolkit for iPhone (v1.0). Developers can download the package and quickly get started writing iPhone apps on the Windows Azure platform without having to have intimate knowledge of Microsoft tools, such as Visual Studio. Compiled iPhone code libraries to interact with Windows Azure, a sample iOS application, documentation, and a “Cloud Ready” Windows Azure deployment package are included.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:



    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone (v1.2). Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:  

    Windows Phone 7:


    Windows Azure Toolkit for Android (Prototype Preview). With the forthcoming release this summer, developers will be able to extend the functionality now available for iOS and Windows Phone to the Android platform with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android.


    To simplify the process of setting up services in Windows Azure, we are also releasing a “Cloud Ready” package for the toolkit. This package is designed to allow someone to quickly get started using Windows Azure without having to open and modify the services.

    Screencasts are available for developers seeking additional information: Getting Started with the iOS Toolkit and Deploying the Cloud Ready Package for Devices.  Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Wade Wegner’s blog contains a more detailed technical review of the iOS toolkit.

    By providing toolkits for Windows Phone 7, iOS, and Android, we are making it faster and easier for developers to use Windows Azure to provide services across device platforms

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Students can win prizes and awareness through Windows Phone 7 app development


    I am really excited how students are getting on with the development of application for Windows Phone 7. I was in a meeting today and a Student from Hull University was mentioned Harry Over’s. Harry has currently developed four apps which have been successfully developed and published via the Microsoft Marketplace.

    This evening I have been playing with his version of Destruction Golf BETA which been riding high in the Windows Phone Marketplace for a while now, with over 30,000 downloads for what is an on-going development.

    This really made me think, how many students are actually building apps themselves?

    Were aware that Windows Phone 7 development isn't a common place within the curriculum at present. As a result we have added a host of Windows Phone 7 development academic resources and curricula resources developed by Rob Miles to Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources. This content is simply to help assist UK academics whom wish to adopt the platform within teaching and learning.

    Another really important lesson is ensure you tell your students not to wait until all their game levels are complete before putting the game out into the MarketPlace. It is very easy to release upgrades to an existing program and quite a few developers are producing “episodic” content where they are releasing new versions at regular intervals.

    So if your an academic teaching Windows Phone 7 Development we would love to hear from you and if your academic simply with interested students please let them know about the following competition from Microsoft UK Students.

    The UK Student Windows Phone 7 app development competition is now into its third round. The competition is so easy to enter and it can get your student and your institution instant recognition within the UK Windows Phone 7 Developer community.

    All your students need to do is develop an app, publish it into Windows MarketPlace, email a screenshot of your Windows Phone 7 application together with its name, your publisher name and email address to ukstucom@microsoft.com and you are done. Remeber all students get a FREE marketplace account and Windows Phone 7 Development kit from http://www.DreamSpark.com 

    Round winners get a web cam and a Windows Phone 7 T-Shirt and runners up get a T-Shirt. The overall winner will receive an an HTC 7 Trophy. See the full Terms and Conditions below for further details and you can see Jamie’s Round 1 winning entry below


    Jamie’s entry was My Study Life which is quite self explanatory so if you have a Windows Phone 7 you can download it from MarketPlace. Search by publisher name virblue.

    Additionally Microsoft UK Windows Phone 7 Team are running the incentives programme, and students can use the same app!

    The competition is exclusively for UK Windows Phone developers. The purpose of this programme is simple, get rewarded by building an original and unique Windows Phone 7 application. There is a massive line up of prizes developers can redeem including Xbox360 consoles, LG 22” LCD TVs, Samsung Home Theatre Packages. In addition, by simply earning one point in the rewards programme, developers are automatically entered in the draw for an awesome weekly prize draw including Alienware, Acer & Dell laptops. For more information and conditions then click here.

    For more guidance to help you get started you may want to check out these key resources

    Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools

    Understanding the Windows Phone 7 Development Tools

    Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements

    Terms and conditions below.

    1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to UK students who are 16 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).

    2. TO ENTER: To enter, you have to have published a Windows Phone 7 application into Windows MarketPlace. Email a screenshot of your Windows Phone 7 application together with its name, your publisher name and email address to ukstucom@microsoft.com. All entries submitted during the 2 weeks of each round of the competition and by midnight on the closing date of each round will be entered into a random draw, overseen by three Microsoft employees. At the end of all 6 rounds the individual round winners will be entered into a separate prize draw. Any number of entries per person is allowed BUT only one entry per application published in MarketPlace will be accepted. Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.

    3. TIMING: The competition timings are as follows (all timing are BST)

    Round 1 Saturday 00:01am April 2nd 2011 until midnight on Friday April 15th 2011

    Round 2 Saturday 00:01am April 16th 2011 until midnight on Friday April 29th 2011

    Round 3 Saturday 00:01am April 30th 2011 until midnight on Friday May 13th 2011

    Round 4 Saturday 00:01am May 14th 2011 until midnight on Friday May 27th 2011

    Round 5 Saturday 00:01am May 28th 2011 until midnight on Friday June 10th 2011

    Round 6 Saturday 00:01am June 11th 2011 until midnight on Friday June 24th 2011

    The closing date of the entire competition is midnight BST June 24th 2011. Completed entries will be entered into the prize draw for the applicable round based on when the email arrives in the Microsoft inbox.

    4. USE OF DATA: Personal data which you provide when you enter this competition will not be used for future Microsoft UK marketing activity.

    5. SELECTION OF WINNER: Three Microsoft employees will perform the random draw and the winner will be notified by email on during the week after each round closes. The winners agree to have their publisher names and application names published via the Microsoft UK Students Facebook page, Microsoft UK Students blog and Microsoft UK Students Twitter.

    6. PRIZE: The winning entrant for each round will receive one Web cam and a Windows Phone 7 t-shirt and one runner up will receive a Windows Phone 7 t-shirt. At the end of all 6 rounds the 6 first prize winners of each round will be entered into a separate prize draw to win a Windows Phone 7 HTC Trophy Device. Prize is as stated and non-transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prizes will be dispatched within two weeks of the competition’s closing date for each round. Prize may be considered a taxable benefit and the winner will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.

    7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their surname being made publicly available. The winner’s name and application name will be available for a period of 3 weeks after the closing date by emailing ukstucom@microsoft.com

    8. OTHER: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice.

    9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Tech.Days 2011


    Microsoft Tech.Days Events Schedule  - Get the latest product information awareness and training for FREE or vist http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/techdays-live.aspx :

    Thursday, 12 May 2011

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (3)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (4)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

    Deploying and managing a modern desktop

    Desktop technology has marched on: user needs and expectations are changing; the Internet is a different place to 10 years ago and we haven't even mentioned virtualisation!

    Building and deploying applications onto the Windows Azure Platform for cloud computing

    This day is about getting you up to speed on why you should be looking at the Windows Azure Platform, what tools and services it offers and how you can start to explore it to create new solutions, migrate elements of existing solutions or integrate with existing systems.

    The Web

    If you're doing 'web' from HTML to MVC, then this is the place you'll want to be at Tech.Days.

    Tuesday, 24 May 2011

    Transform your Datacentre with Hyper-V and System Center

    Server virtualization is the starting point for building a private cloud. The automation and management of virtual machines allows for the delivery of a range of services - find out how you can use this to drive down costs and increase innovation in your organisation using Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V and System Center. 

    Building and deploying applications onto the Windows Azure Platform for cloud computing (Repeat)

    This day is about getting you up to speed on why you should be looking at the Windows Azure Platform, what tools and services it offers and how you can start to explore it to create new solutions, migrate elements of existing solutions or integrate with existing systems. 

    Windows Phone - 1. State of the Nation

    Build better Windows Phone applications and get them to market as quickly as possible. 

    Wednesday, 25 May 2011

    The public cloud for IT Professionals

    Cloud technology, and the solutions and platforms it enables, are driving a revolution in business and IT, delivering flexibility, cost reduction and higher levels of availability. Find out how you can implement Office 365, Windows Intune and Windows Azure in order to make this revolution happen in your organisation.

    Windows Phone - 2. What lies ahead

    What lies ahead for Windows Phone and Windows Phone developers? Find out what's in store in this fast-changing environment in a day packed with insight and inspiration. We’re very happy to announce that Brandon Watson, Head of Developer Ecosystem for Windows Phone 7 will be keynoting. Come along to get the freshest details on the Mango update as well as deep dives into developing with the Mango SDK.

    Building rich client applications

    Heading towards its 5th release, Silverlight has 65% adoption and key capabilities for business, media applications and casual gaming. During this day, we’ll touch on where Silverlight fits into Microsoft’s client strategy and what’s coming with the next release, and then we’ll quickly zoom in to focus on the patterns, frameworks and tools that you should know in order to build great Silverlight applications today. You can expect lots of code, lots of demos and lots of XAML.

    Thursday, 26 May 2011

    Microsoft Solutions for Your Mission Critical Enterprise

    Take a closer look at the latest Microsoft Application Platform capabilities. This evening session will cover SQL Server 2008 R2 as a mission critical platform, customer perspectives on Business Intelligence, BizTalk 2010, and a look at the next release of SQL, codename Denali.

    Developing with Bing…Extending Your Search Solutions

    Bing is now being incorporated into a diverse range of consumer and business applications. Join us at this afternoon and evening event to find out more, from Microsoft and external partner presenters talking on topics such as the Bing design philosophy, the Bing API and Bing Mobile Map Control. The session will finish with a Bing pub quiz with great prizes, drinks, and a chance to network!

    Connected Development

    Unable to attend Tech.Days 2011 in London? This key event is focused on IT decision makers and heads of development. We are pulling together the highlights of content from both Tech.Days and TechEd (North America). Whether you are developing for Client, Phone, Web or Cloud, this will be a great day of speakers and content to ensure your development is streamlined .

    Friday, 27 May 2011

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (5)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (6)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Is project based team work becoming a logistical nightmare?


    I have had a number of interesting  discussions and questions this week regarding the facilitation of project based team working. From my recent Institution visits a number of institutions are now using tools such as Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project server within the teaching curriculum. They are predominantly using these applications to allow students to manage and monitor the status/progress of work on both individual and team based projects. Microsoft Project is a excellent tool however it doesn't plan development lifecycles or team activity or monitor output of individuals or as a team so I would like to suggest the use of  Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010.


    Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Services  is the collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution. Team Foundation Server 2010 automates the software delivery process and gives the students the tools they need to manage software development projects throughout the IT life cycle.

    What more important is that is FREE if your a MSDNAA subscriber

    For a comprehensive list of software available to your department and each student studying within it under MSDNAA see:-

    Team Foundation Server 2010 enables everyone on the team to collaborate more effectively, be more agile and deliver better quality software while building and sharing institutional knowledge and allowing you the academic to see the status and progress and activity/commitment of each of the team members. This is facilitated by the use of project artifacts and data from work item tracking, source control, builds, and testing tools which are stored in a data warehouse and powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending, full traceability and real-time visibility into quality and progress against business intent.

    Creativity Unleashed

    Designed from the ground up as a collaboration platform to automate the software development process. Let Team Foundation Server 2010 manage your software development process and facilitate collaboration so that your teams are freed up from mundane non-coding tasks and empowered to unleash their creativity.

    Simplicity Through Integration

    Tools, processes and project artifacts come together to simplify the collaboration of people across various functional disciplines, helping them work better together and be more productive.

    Quality Code Ensured

    Monitor quality and progress in real time. Ensure that defects and regressions are discovered at the earliest possible moment with powerful features like build automation and gated check-ins.


    The collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution.

    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 provides workflow automation and integrated processes, tools and project artifacts to simplify the collaboration of people across functional disciplines. The central repository enables rich collaboration in the context of the tasks the team is working on.

    Top Ten Reasons why to use Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

    1. Streamline The Flow of Data Across your student projects.
    Project artifacts are stored in a central repository that facilitates in-context collaboration to reduce waste in hand-over time between tasks and streamlines the development process. Team members can instead focus on delivering value over transitioning information between roles. In addition, seamless support for Eclipse extends these collaboration benefits to heterogenous environments.
    4. Reduce Risk with Real-time Visibility
    Powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending and real-time visibility into overall project health. Real-time metrics give you early warnings of potential problems so you can be proactive and make data-driven decisions and course corrections.
    7. End-to-end Traceability
    Define, query and report on custom relationships between requirements, work items and test cases. Full traceability lets you track progress and quality back to business goals and customer requirements.

    2. Lightweight Agile Planning Tools
    The new Microsoft® Excel Agile Planning Workbook makes it easy for teams to adopt agile software development methodologies like SCRUM. Use it to create and manage user stories and product backlog, estimate the team's velocity, and break the project down into iterations. The Iteration Backlog enables you to plan iterations and track progress.

    5. Project and Portfolio Management
    Integration with Microsoft Project and Office Project Server enables business stake holders and project managers to gain insight into the health of inflight projects, understand how they support the business needs and help identify ways to improve existing processes.
    8. Simplified Installation for Smaller Teams

    Smaller teams and individual developers can choose the new Basic Install option to leverage the power of Team Foundation Server 2010 without the footprint of the full installation.

    3. Understand Parallel Development
    Reduce the complexity in branching and merging with powerful new visualization tools. Understand the scope, organization and maintenance of your source code and easily identify, track and manage changes across branches.
    6. Prevent Broken Builds
    The new gated check-in feature helps teams working in the same branch to prevent costly and time consuming build breaks by testing code in isolation before it goes into the full repository.
    9. Flexible Build Automation

    Windows Workflow-based builds with powerful features like build queuing and build agent pooling enable teams to easily customize, manage and scale out their build environments.

    10. Enterprise Scalability and experience

    64-bit server support and new project collection isolation features let large teams scale Team Foundation Server 2010 installations to meet their demands giving students experience of real world applications, tools and services.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) programme



    If you have students, whom are passionate about technology, ready to share their knowledge and who want to develop skills outside their academic curricula field then we want to hear from you.

    What is the MSP Programme?

    The Microsoft Student Partner Programme recognises top young minds from around the UK who are passionate about technology. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop real-world skills to help them succeed in their future career, to help others learn about the technology of today and tomorrow, and to connect with other like-minded students, all whilst having a ton of fun along the way.

    The programme is our way of encouraging students who are interested in building a closer relationship with Microsoft, and those who are simply hooked on technology, to develop their skills further. This year's programme will officially run from June 2011 to May 2012.

    What is an MSP?

    The Microsoft Student Partner programme consists of the brightest and most innovative student developers and technology enthusiasts from universities around the world.

    The ‘ideal candidate’ for an MSP would be a passionate and enthusiast individual who wants to learn about new tools and technologies. They would need to have a whole range of skills including excellent time management, organisation and communication skills to ensure that you could host a successful campus launch event.

    An MSP should be comfortable and confident presenting in front of large audiences of both students and faculty members. You may even be asked to present in front of your fellow MSPs at an event. General business and sales skills come in very handy in order to allow you to articulate your ideas effectively when presenting.

    MSPs are sociable, friendly and approachable individuals who like to meet new people. You will require the ability work as a team as well as use your own initiative. In summary, MSPs are innovative and creative students who are extremely passionate about technology.

    You can download the MSP application form and more information about the programme at Microsoft Student Partners

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What is DreamSpark?



    DreamSpark is Microsoft’s way of giving free software to students. Students can simply log on and enjoy the free Microsoft products available to download.

    Products available on DreamSpark include Expression Studio 4, Virtual PC, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2 and more.

    Why DreamSpark?

    Simply visit www.dreamspark.com , follow the 3 simple steps and download the free products of your choice today!

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