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Microsoft Research Connections Blog

The Microsoft Research Connections 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 Connections Blog

    WorldWide Telescope: The Interactive Sky on Your Desktop

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    A free, interactive virtual learning environment, WorldWide Telescope enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope. Through its interactive dashboard, you can browse high-resolution imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes, giving you a visually powerful perspective of the size, scale, and features of the universe. Curtis Wong, principal researcher for Microsoft Research eScience and co-creator of WorldWide Telescope, demonstrated some of the capabilities of this versatile technology at TEDxCaltech on January 14, 2011.

    —Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research eScience

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    New Year, New Name: Introducing Microsoft Research Connections

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    Connect and collaborate with the Microsoft Research Connections teamFebruary is a time when many of us seek ways to improve and change for the better while refining elements that already work. The spirit of evolution doesn't have to stop at the individual level, however. I'm pleased to announce that, starting today, our organization will go by a name that better reflects who we are: Microsoft Research Connections.

    While our name is changing, our commitment to our previously established charter remains strong. Microsoft Research Connections is dedicated to supporting those who dream the impossible—inventing a better world one idea at a time. We build partnerships with the world's leading computer scientists and researchers. In the computer science world, we collaborate with the academic community in critical fields that will shape the future of computing-including parallel programming, software engineering, and natural user interfaces.

    Microsoft Research Connections will continue to:

    • Collaborate with and support the inspiring work of the world's top academic researchers and institutions.
    • Establish partnerships and develop technologies that fuel data-intensive scientific research to help solve some of the most urgent global challenges.
    • Extend the Microsoft platform to the academic community so that the scientific community can use it to build and innovate.
    • Provide fellowships, grants, and awards to help foster the next generation of world-class scientists who are critical to the future of scientific discovery.

    We are committed to doing all this and more in the coming year. But now, our name truly reflects who we are, what we do, and where we are going in the future.

    Tony Hey, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Research Connections Division of Microsoft Research

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    Registration Now Open for Microsoft Biology Foundation Workshop

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    Microsoft Biology FoundationWe recently posted a preview of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) for development evaluation purposes. Now, we're following up with a special, free, one-day MBF workshop on March 11, 2011, in Redmond, Washington, hosted by the Microsoft Biology Initiative. The workshop includes a quick introduction to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, the Microsoft .NET Framework, C#, and the MBF Object Model. Plus, our hands-on lab will give you the opportunity to write a sample application that employs the file parsers, algorithms, and web connectors in MBF.

    We will also cover some MBF training modules throughout the day, including:

    • Module 1: Introduction to Visual Studio 2010 and C#. This comprehensive introduction to the Microsoft Visual Studio programming environment and Microsoft .NET will teach you how to create a project, how to get started with C#, and how to perform runtime debugging. Also, you will get hands-on lab experience by building applications in Visual Studio 2010.
    • Module 2: Introduction to the Microsoft Biology Foundation. This overview will introduce you to the MBF basics through discussions of its scenarios and architectures and includes a starter project. The starter project is a hands-on lab that will help you get the experience you need to work with sequences, parsers, formatters, and the transcription algorithm that is supplied in MBF.
    • Module 3: Working with Sequences. In this module, you'll learn more about the Sequence data type in MBF, including how to load sequences into memory and save them, the different sequence types available, how to use sequence metadata, and how data virtualization support enables support for large data sets in a hands-on lab setting.
    • Module 4: Parsers and Formatters. In Parsers and Formatters, you'll explore MBF's built-in sequence parsers, formatters, alphabets, and encoders. This module will also introduce the method of expanding MBF with custom alphabets, parsers, and formatters. The hands-on lab will walk you through the steps that are required to build a simple custom parser and formatter for a fabricated biology data format.
    • Module 5: Algorithms. In this module, you will examine the algorithms that are defined in MBF for sequence alignment, multi-sequence alignment, sequence fragment assembly, transcription, translation, and pattern matching against sequences; you'll also learn how to create custom algorithms. The hands-on lab will walk you through the steps that are required to build an application to run algorithms against sequences loaded with MBF and will teach you how to perform sequence alignment, assembly, and transformations.
    • Module 6: Web Services. This module will introduce Microsoft .NET web services, the web service architecture in MBF, the built-in web service support in MBF for BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), and ClustalW. You will also learn how to call these services asynchronously and will watch a detailed example of how to build custom service wrappers. In the hands-on lab, you'll build an application that executes the BLAST algorithm by using web services against handlers for BLAST, pass sequences and sequence fragments to BLAST, change the BLAST parameters, and display the results from a BLAST run.

    We hope you will join us for this free one-day event. Whether your goal is to get trained on MBF or simply to evaluate MBF and its Microsoft .NET model, you can expect to get a tremendous return on your time investment.

    For complete details about the day, or to register, please see the MBF Workshop website. We look forward to meeting you on March 11 in Redmond.

    —Beatriz Diaz Acosta, Senior Research Program Manager, Health and Wellbeing, Microsoft Research Connections

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