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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.

  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Academics invited to create new Microsoft HoloLens experiences


    We are pleased to announce the Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research request for proposals (RFP), which will enable the academic community to join us in advancing the creation of new holographic computing experiences. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic RFP will award US$100,000 and two HoloLens development kits to academic institutions. Learn more about the RFP.

    How would you use Microsoft HoloLens?

    It has been exciting to see the public response to HoloLens—the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer, powered by Windows 10. There’s been palpable excitement at the prospect of mixing holograms with the real world to unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work and play.

    Case Western Reserve University is exploring how HoloLens can transform learning across countless subjects, including those as complex as the human body.

    This emerging technology teems with opportunity, so we’ve issued this RFP to inspire the academic community to investigate the potential roles and applications for holographic computing in society. Additionally, we want to stimulate and advance academic research in mixed reality and encourage exploration of new possibilities in holographic computing. We expect that researchers will envision novel ways of using HoloLens—from interactively teaching students, to creating mixed-realty art installations, to manipulating holographic data to reveal new relationships…to who knows what.

    HoloLens is already making an impact across a variety of industries—from academia to architecture and construction. As a result, we invite proposals from any field. We welcome research that uses HoloLens to help solve difficult problems and contribute new insights in any domain—data visualization; pedagogy in STEM, medical and design education; communication and distributed collaboration; interactive art and experimental media; and psychology-related applications, including human-computer interactions.

    Join us on July 8 at 8:30 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time for our Faculty Summit keynote live webcast, when we will demonstrate more ways that HoloLens is helping people create, learn, communicate, collaborate, work and play. Request for proposal details are available at Please note that the application deadline is September 5, 2015.

    Jeannette Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research

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  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Microsoft open sources WorldWide Telescope


    We are incredibly pleased to announce that the WorldWide Telescope is now open source under the MIT license and has become an independent project as part of the .NET Foundation.

    WorldWide Telescope began in 2007 as a Microsoft Research project, with early partners including astronomers and educators from Caltech, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Chicago and several NASA facilities. Over the past eight years, millions of people have downloaded and used WorldWide Telescope, coming to rely on its unified astronomical image and data environment for exploratory research, teaching and public outreach.

    WorldWide Telescope was designed with rich interactivity in mind. Guided Tours, which are especially popular among educators and astronomy enthusiasts, offer scripted paths through the 3D environment, enabling users to view and create media-rich interactive stories about anything from star formation to the discovery of the large-scale structure of the universe.

    Microsoft open sources WorldWide Telescope

    This year, we decided to make the WorldWide Telescope available under an open source license to allow any individual or organization to adapt and extend the functionality to meet any research or educational need.

    We believe that extensions and improvements to the software will continuously enhance formal and informal learning and astronomical research. Making the code available will also help ensure that the data, protocols and techniques used are also available for others to inspect, use, adapt and improve upon in their own applications. Ultimately, open sourcing WorldWide Telescope will also allow the wider community to guide and participate future in future development efforts such that it evolves to meet the needs of future users.

    “As a long-term collaborator, user and proponent of WorldWide Telescope, releasing it as open source is a natural and significant next step for the project. Educators, students and researchers now have the ability to directly influence and contribute to the future development and potential of this unique tool.”

    Alyssa Goodman, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    WorldWide Telescope is written in .NET and the code is available now at This release brings a deep and complex open source .NET project to the astronomical community, while representing a substantial extension of the projects within the .NET Foundation.

    Many, many people dedicated themselves to making this release happen—too many to list here, but to all those who helped, we thank you!

    We encourage you to follow future conversations and developments regarding WorldWide Telescope on Twitter and Facebook.

    Jonathan Fay, Principal Software Development Engineer, Microsoft Research
    Michael Zyskowski, Engineer Manager, Microsoft Research
    Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft Research

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  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    Explore advances in artificial intelligence—and much more


    Tune in to the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit

    On July 8–9, more than 350 academic researchers and educators will join Microsoft researchers and engineers for the sixteenth annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, Washington. The annual Faculty Summit is one of those rare events that brings together a cross-disciplinary collection of academic and industry talent, focused on both advancing the state of the art in computer science and using computing to solve real-world problems. And while attendance at the in-person event is by invitation only, anyone with an Internet connection can catch key portions of the summit at the online event page.   

    Our live coverage will include the opening day keynote address by Jeannette Wing, corporate VP at Microsoft Research, who was recently honored by the Association for Computing Machinery for transforming the way the world views computing with her seminal views on computational thinking. She will focus on future trends in computing and give us a keen understanding of the innovation that starts with basic scientific research.

    High on this year’s list of topics is artificial intelligence. Not too long ago, AI was the stuff of science fiction. Today, it’s moving from the research lab to everyday reality. Also on day one of the summit, online viewers will be treated to a panel discussion on “Progress in AI: Myths, Realities, and Aspirations,” moderated by Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research and featuring panelists Chris Bishop of Microsoft Research, Oren Etzioni of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Fei-Fei Li of Stanford University, Michael Littman of Brown University and Josh Tenenbaum of MIT.

    On day two, our webcast will feature Monica Lam, professor of Computer Science at Stanford University on A Revolution Against Big-Brother Social Networks,” which focuses on an open social movement led by Omlet, an open messaging service and distributed computing platform that spun out of four years of research at Stanford. We will also bring you the event’s closing keynote from Peter Lee, corporate VP at Microsoft Research.

    We hope as you watch these online webcasts that you will not only gain insights into the technological impact, but the scientific and societal implications of all these trends in computing.

    So fire up your web browser and tune in to the 2015 Faculty Summit.

    —Harold Javid, Director and General Chair of Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2015

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