Der deutsche Education Blog

January, 2014

Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

The Microsoft Research Outreach blog shares stories of collaborations with computer scientists at academic and scientific institutions to advance technical innovations in computing, as well as related events, scholarships, and fellowships.

January, 2014

  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Microsoft Research adopts Open Access policy for publications


    In a recent interview with Scientific American, Peter Lee, head of Microsoft Research, discussed three main motivations for basic research at Microsoft. The first relates to an aspiration to advance human knowledge, the second derives from a culture that relies deeply on the ambitions of individual researchers, and the last concerns “promoting open publication of all research results and encouraging deep collaborations with academic researchers.”

    It is in keeping with this third motivation that Microsoft Research recently committed to an Open Access policy for our researchers’ publications.

    As evidenced by a long-running series of blog posts by Tony Hey, vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, Microsoft Research has carefully deliberated our role in the growing movement toward open publications and open data.

    As is widely known, many institutions and individuals in academic and research fields believe there is benefit in creating a scholarly communications ecosystem in which the results of research are more openly available for access and reuse by the widest possible audience.

    While Microsoft Research has published actively in academic journals, conferences, and workshops since its inception in 1992, in adopting this open access policy, we have publicly stated our commitment. The opening paragraph makes this clear:

    Microsoft Research is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible because we recognize the benefits that accrue to scholarly enterprises from such wide dissemination, including more thorough review, consideration and critique, and general increase in scientific, scholarly and critical knowledge.

    As a practical matter, we believe that our open access policy will benefit Microsoft Research and the external research community by empowering our researchers to share their work freely, and it will enable Microsoft Research to build a complete, comprehensive, and accessible repository of our research publications.

    We encourage researchers with whom we collaborate, and to whom we provide support, to embrace open access policies, and we will respect the policies enacted by their institutions. We are undoubtedly in the midst of a transition in academic publishing—a transition affecting publishers, institutions, librarians and curators, government agencies, corporations, and certainly researchers—in their roles both as authors and consumers. We know that there remain nuances to be understood and adjustments to be made, but we are excited and optimistic about the impact that open access will have on scientific discovery.

    We would like to thank the many members of the research community who have pioneered the work on open access, and, in particular, to acknowledge the foundational efforts of Peter Suber. Finally, a profound thank you to Stuart Shieber, who generously shared his counsel, based on his experiences at Harvard University.

    Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft Research Connections, and Alex Wade, Director for Scholarly Communication, Microsoft Research

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  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Young talent gathers at Microsoft Research Asia PhD Forum


    The past decade has witnessed an incredible boom in Chinese academic research—a boom fueled in large measure by talented young researchers. Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of supporting the Joint PhD Program, in which Microsoft Research Asia collaborates with leading Chinese universities to discover and foster outstanding research talent. From 1998 to 2013, more than 150 Chinese students have participated in this program. 

     Some of the young researchers who gathered for the first Microsoft Research Asia PhD Forum
    Some of the young researchers who gathered for the first Microsoft Research Asia PhD Forum

    “How about hosting a forum to get all these young talents together and provide them an opportunity to inspire each other?” I felt quite excited when this idea came up during a Joint PhD Program committee meeting. After a month of preparation, the first Microsoft Research Asia PhD Forum was held on December 12, 2013. It was a rousing success, bringing together not only the program’s PhD students but also more than 60 additional doctoral students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, Beihang University, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    This PhD forum provided a platform for direct communication among top doctoral students. As one participant observed, it gave the young researchers a unique opportunity “to exchange ideas with fellows who have similar research experiences, which is very helpful and distinctive.”

    In addition to this overall sense of camaraderie and mutual inspiration, the forum featured many impressive sessions. Yu Zheng, a lead researcher at Microsoft Research Asia and a renowned expert on the burgeoning field of urban computing, gave an opening keynote that discussed how city problems could be addressed by using big data. This speech, from a researcher who was named one of world’s top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review, was an inspirational event, and many students clearly viewed Dr. Zheng as a role model. Xiaohui Wang, a PhD student from Tsinghua University, told us with enthusiasm, “I was inspired by Yu Zheng’s talk. It was great to learn how top researchers at Microsoft Research Asia have advanced their research progress.”

    Zhen Cui, left, and Dong Chen discussed their work on face recognition during the oral session.
    Zhen Cui, left, and Dong Chen discussed their work on face recognition during the
    oral session.

    During the oral session, 12 PhD students shared their published research findings. Particularly notable was the dialogue between Dong Chen, a Microsoft Research Asia Joint-PhD student, and Zhen Cui, a PhD candidate from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They focused on face recognition, and both of their papers had been accepted by 2013 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. “Dong’s work on face verification is amazing. I am very happy and honored to attend this forum with such excellent peers, and I’ve benefited greatly from my interactions here with Dong and other students,” said Zhen Cui.

    During the forum, 16 PhD students presented their work with posters and demos. Pictured here are the two students who were awarded the Best Poster Prize.
    During the forum, 16 PhD students presented their work with posters and demos. Pictured here are the two students who were awarded the Best Poster Prize.

    During the panel session, four participants engaged in a spirited talk on how to achieve a better PhD career. They made me think about my own professional life, so interesting and meaningful were their observations. Their discussion on relationships with mentors impressed me the most. “Mentors are quite different from each other. As a PhD student, it is quite important to know your mentor’s style first, and then by working together with him, you will grow and be independent in research work,” said Shiguang Shan, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    A capacity crowd listened raptly during the panel discussion, How to Achieve a Better PhD Career.
    A capacity crowd listened raptly during the panel discussion, How to Achieve a Better
    PhD Career.

    As I reflect on the academic achievements and innovative spirit of these young students, I feel extremely satisfied and honored to have organized this forum. Although it lasted only one day, I believe the forum will be meaningful in the development of these promising young researchers.

    With the rapid development of Chinese research activities, I am convinced that the full potential of young talent is yet to be discovered. I sincerely hope that next year, more students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China will join us, and that the graduates of the Joint PhD Program will continue to make significant contributions to research.

    Guobin Wu, Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections Asia

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  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Latest recipients of Windows Azure for Research Awards announced


    Microsoft Research’s Windows Azure for Research program, which features a continuing series of Windows Azure cloud training events and a program of Windows Azure research grants, has been going strong since its launch in September 2013. As the December 15, 2013, deadline for the second round of grant proposals approached, we braced ourselves for a barrage of creative ideas. We weren’t disappointed, receiving proposals from every continent (well, except Antarctica). The response was particularly strong from such countries as Brazil and China, where our recent training events gave researchers an excellent, hands-on view of the capabilities of Windows Azure.

    Forty-five proposals selected from researchers around the world

    Several strong research themes that had emerged in the first round of proposals continued in the second round. Specifically, the life sciences and the emerging field of urban science were abundantly represented. Both themes can be thought of as big data topics, but they are really part of what we call the fourth paradigm of science, which is about discovering new scientific principles through deep analysis of massive amounts of data.

    Urban science, which can be described as an interdisciplinary mash-up of computer science and social science, is becoming an important tool for city planners. By using the real-time data that a typical modern city generates, they can gain a better understanding how to improve life for the city’s inhabitants. The cloud is ideally suited to collecting, filtering, analyzing, and sharing these data.

    A set of related topics that came on strong in the second-round proposals involved environmental science, ecology, and geosciences. Again, the common theme is using Windows Azure on the Microsoft cloud for data collection, analysis, and dissemination. In addition to such fourth-paradigm ideas, we received a large number of excellent computer science proposals that rely on the scale of the cloud to experiment with new algorithms and database topics.  

    Selecting the winning proposals was extremely difficult, as we can fund only a fraction of the submissions. Nonetheless, we persevered and winnowed the proposals down to the grant recipients listed, by lead author and project title, at the bottom of this blog. The order might appear random, but trust me, there’s a logic to it (hint: take a look at the alphabetical order of the country names). You can review abstracts for these proposals at Windows Azure for Research.

    As a reminder, the next deadline for proposals is February 15, 2014. We encourage potential applicants to attend one of our training events or, if that’s not possible, to study the training material we’ve posted online. You can find a schedule of upcoming training events and the aforementioned training materials at Cloud Research Projects.

    Dennis Gannon, Director of Cloud Research Strategy, Microsoft Research Connections

    Learn more

    Second-round Windows Azure for Research Award recipients:

    • Jian Zhang, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
      Friends Recommendation Based on Graph Correlation
    • Yuedong Yang, Griffith University, Australia
      Cloud-based Platform for Genome-scale Prediction of Protein Functional Complex Structures at Experimental Quality    
    • Altigran Soares da Silva, UFAM, Brazil
      Keyword-based System for Relational Database    
    • Carmem Satie Hara, Federal University of Parana, Brazil
      RING Project    
    • Fernando da Fonseca de Souza, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
      Cloud Databases: A model to guarantee data consistency    
    • Luiz André Portes Paes Leme, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
      Assessing Recommendation Approaches for Dataset Interlinking    
    • Marcelo Valadares Galdos, Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) / Brazilian Center of Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), Brazil   
      Using Azure to run an integration of process-based environmental models and geographic information systems    
    • Marta Mattoso, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      User-Steering Phylogenetic Workflows in the Cloud
    • Milton Cezar Ribeiro, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil
      Integrating phonological, landscape, fauna movement and remote sensing massive data and processing throughout e-Science and Cloud computing
    • Rafael Duarte Coelho dos Santos, INPE - Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, Brazil
      Prototype Deployment of a Data Server for the Brazilian Weather and Climate Virtual Observatory    
    • Ricardo da Silva Torres, Institute of computing, University of Computing, Brazil
      Big Image Data Management on the Cloud for e-Science Applications    
    • Guangjun Zhang, Peking University, China
      Machine learning – parameter estimation for groundwater flow and transport models based on Windows Azure Cloud    
    • Huayi Wu, Wuhan University, China
      Collaborative Geoprocessing on Windows Azure
    • Jitao Sang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
      Cyber-Physical Footprint Association: Cloud Storage and Computing    
    • Junjie Wu, Beihang University, China
      A System for Heterogeneous Social Media Big Data Analytics in Azure Cloud    
    • Lei Zou, Peking University, China
      Graph Data Management in Urban Computing
    • Xinbo Gao, School of Electronic Engineering, China
      Videos analysis and recommendation for online learning    
    • Yan Xu, Beihang University, China
      Large-scale histopathology image analysis for colon cancer in Azure
    • Yuan Juli, Zou Hengming, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
      A Distributed Algorithm for File Distribution and Replication on Cloud Platform
    • Andres M. Pinzon, Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology of Colombia, Colombia
      A cloud-based system for the integration of molecular data and biodiversity information for Colombian species    
    • Frederic Magoules, Ecole Centrale Paris, France
      Advanced Linear Algebra Libraries for the Cloud    
    • Jean-Charles Régin, University Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France
      Using Windows Azure for High Performance Computing    
    • Liliana Pasquale, University of Limerick, Ireland
      Minority Report: Using the Cloud to Enable Proactive Digital Forensic Investigations
    • Tony Tung, Kyoto University, Japan
      Life Maps    
    • Hwasoo Yeo, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea
      Cloud Sensing based Urban Travel Time Prediction with Online Traffic Simulator
    • Hyunju Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Korea
      Text mining for identifying disease-gene-biological relationships    
    • Joon Heo, Yonsei University, Korea
      Does ‘Gangnam Style’ really exist? - Answers from data science perspective    
    • Muhammad Bilal Amin, Kyung Hee University, Korea
      Enabling Data Parallelism for large-scale Biomedical Ontology Matching over Multicore Cloud Instances
    • Grigor Aslanyan, University of Auckland, New Zealand
      Studying Very Early Universe Physics with Cosmic Microwave Background Anomalies
    • Marek Stanislaw Wiewiorka, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland
      Towards an interactive secondary analysis of RNA sequencing data service in Widows Azure cloud with Apache Spark framework
    • Heiko Schuldt, University of Basel, Switzerland
      ADAM+ - A Large-Scale Distributed Image and Video Retrieval System
    • Blesson Varghese, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
      Real-time Catastrophe Risk Management on Windows Azure    
    • Julio Hernandez-Castro, David Barnes, University of Kent, United Kingdom
      ChessWitan: Mining chess data to distinguish human from computer play
    • Nadarajen Veerapen, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
      Automated Bug Fixing
    • Vassilis Glenis, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
      Modelling Flood Risk in Urban Areas    
    • A. Lucas Stephane, Florida Institute of Technology, United States
      Life-Critical Interactive Glass Wall Integration    
    • Alexander Vyushkov, University of Notre Dame, United States
      Modeling Malaria Transmission on Windows Azure    
    • David Hazel, University of Washington, United States
      AMADEUS - Azure Marketplace of Applications for Diverse Environmental Use as a Service
    • Dhruv Batra, Virginia Tech, United States
      CloudCV: Large-Scale Distributed Computer Vision as a Cloud Service    
    • Hanspeter Pfister, Harvard University, United States
    • Kelly Smith, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), United States
      The Unidata Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) as a Cloud Service
    • Richard Dana Loft, National Center for Atmospheric Research, United States
      AzurePlanet: A cloud-based system providing access to weather and climate information
    • Susan Borda, California Digital Library, United States   
    • Tanya Berger-Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States
      Computational Behavioral Ecology on the Cloud    
    • Yuejie Chi, The Ohio State University, United States
      Online Distributed Inference of Large-Scale Data Streams in the Cloud   

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