Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Python Tools for Visual Studio is a free & open source plug-in for Visual Studio 2010 from Microsoft's Technical Computing Group. PTVS enables developers to use all the major productivity features of Visual Studio to build Python code using either CPython or IronPython and adds new features such as using High Performance Computing clusters to scale your code. Together with one of the standard distros, you can turn Visual Studio into a powerful Technical Computing IDE...
Advanced editing, Intellisense, browsing, “Find all refs”, REPL, …
Supports CPython and IronPython
Local & Cluster/remote debugging
Profiling with multiple views
Interactive parallel computing via integrated IPython REPL
Support for HPC clusters and MPI, including debugging support
NumPy & SciPy for .Net
Support for Cloud Computing (soon)
Support for Dryad (large scale, data-intensive parallel programming) (soon)
Free & Open Source (Apache 2.0)
There are many ways to learn technology around the world. We realize that sometimes the way students can master professional tools is on their own time with your friends.
Microsoft goal is to support them with the access to tools, training and a platform to connect.
Student Tech Clubs are communities of students, problem solvers, challenge seekers, people who love to discover everything they can do with the latest technology.
The program is there to help student to start and run a Student Tech Club at your University or to help support existing student computer societies.
Tools like surveys, member administration, newsletters, invitations to events, event calendar, support materials created by Microsoft Product Groups, access to speakers and resources are some of the features that you can take advantage today using this.
So if you or your institution are interested in promoting the opportunity of Microsoft Student Tech Clubs on your campus please see the following presentation which contains all the information and advice.
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The Imagine Cup is an annual competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft, which brings together young technologists worldwide to help solve some of the world's toughest challenges.
The Imagine Cup comprises of five major technology competitions, including Software Design, and four challenges. All Imagine Cup competitors create projects that address the Imagine Cup theme: “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems”
Started in 2003, it has steadily grown in size, where in 2010 more than 325,000 competitors representing 100 countries and regions registered for the Imagine Cup with 400 finalists coming to the Worldwide finals in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011 the worldwide finals will be in New York, USA. Only the Software Design and Embedded Development competitions are judged with the UK, with finals taking place in countries around the world to decide who goes on to the worldwide final.
The Software Design competition challenges students to use technology to solve what they consider to be the toughest problems facing the world today. Using Microsoft tools and technology, competitors create software applications. Students develop, test, and build their ideas into applications that can change the world.
The Embedded Development competition allows students to go beyond the desktop to build a complete hardware and software solution that addresses global societal problems.
For both Software Design and Embedded Development, the main prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Final, to be held in New York City from July 3rd to July 18th 2011.
If that wasn’t enough, first place winners each received a HP Mini Netbook, a Windows Phone 7 device, a certificate and an Xbox 360 game.
Microsoft Research are doing some interesting things with parallel programming and service called Dyrad: A general purpose distributed execution platform.
What were excited about in the academic arena is the use of Windows Azure and Dryad as the combination of both these resources offer the novice parallel programmer access to a massive amount of compute power.
The combination of the the two services will leverage a huge amounts of processing power, the services can easily scale to thousands of computers running thousand instances for an hour on Windows Azure. This would be very interesting and were really excited to see that can be achieved.
Microsoft Research There is a talk here from 2007 which explains the ideas behind Dryad. So if you’ve involved in parallel programming, think about the opportunity of the cloud and Windows Azure and visit the MS Research site for more information on Dyrad.
They even have an specific academic download of something called DryadLINQ.
Microsoft are happy to announce the release of the new Photosynth app for mobile panorama creation and sharing.
The Photosynth app is a significant step forward in mobile imaging technology.
The Photosynth app allows you to capture 360° panoramas in all directions (up, down, left, and right) and create spectacular images that our competition simply cannot achieve. With the latest in computer vision techniques, developed in concert with Microsoft Research, Photosynth focuses on making creation easy and fun with a wealth of sharing options.
The Photosynth Apps has a number of sharing models including the ability to share images directly to Facebook. Additionally the App has deep ties into Photosynth.net for sharing interactive panorama experiences.
What is really exciting for HE is the Photosynth App has the opportunity for users to now “Publish to Bing Maps”, making their panoramas eligible to show up on both the map (with the Photosynth map app) and directly on an associated University Intranet and Web pages.
Here’s an introductory video that covers the app:
Our initial release is for the iOS platform, but we are also working with the Windows Phone teams to bring this technology next to our own platform.
We encourage everyone to give the app a try (or at least check out the above video) and browse a few example panoramas:
· Museum of Flight
· Japanese Gardens
· International Space Station
· Volunteer Park Conservatory
UK WINNERS ANNOUNCED IMAGINE CUP UK
On Wednesday 20th April, the UK hosted its local Imagine Cup finals at Microsoft Campus in Reading. UK finalists from both the Software Design and Embedded Development categories of the Imagine Cup competition came along and showcased their entries to a panel of industry leading judges who, after much deliberation, picked a winner and runners up for each category. Winners not only travel to the worldwide final in July, but received a Windows Phone 7 device and a HP netbook to help them on their way!
Software Design Winner
Winning the Software Design category in the UK was ‘Project OVE’ from the University of Manchester. Project OVE is a solution that aims to bring together world problems and people that volunteer to solve them in a fresh and innovative way, using the latest Microsoft platforms and an interesting twist on peer-to-peer networking.
Project OVE (Open Volunteering Exchange) is a distributed platform to enable volunteering organisations to exchange volunteers. It was created by a team of students from The University of Manchester.
The aim of Project OVE is to enable people to quickly organise events requiring a group of volunteers with diverse skills. When this can be achieved it could be used to realise some of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
'We entered the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition as we thought that this year’s theme (i.e. the solving of the United Nations Development Goals) presented an interesting project relevant to the challenges of the world today, and as we are all in the School of Computer Science it would also provide us with experience in real-world applications. One of the benefits of our project's unique design is its reliability, which is particularly important when volunteers need to be rapidly mobilised in times of emergency. We are using a peer to peer (P2P) based system: if the network is affected adversely, peers who are still online can still communicate with each other, allowing volunteers’ information to continue to be exchanged. By taking part in the Imagine Cup we have been given the opportunity and support from Microsoft and the University respectively to transform this original idea into reality.' Team Project Ove
Project OVE is made up of Sam van Lieshout, Damo Walsh and JP Lacerda. Due to unfortunate personal circumstances, only Sam van Lieshout was able to attend the UK final – and given the fact that they won in spite of being undermanned, huge credit goes to Sam for his outstanding presentation on the day.
Pic. Microsoft's Emanuele Ognissanti, Sam van Lieshout and Microsoft's Ben Nunney
Embedded Development Winner
No stranger to the Imagine Cup, this year’s Embedded Development winner in the UK was ‘Cycling Into Trees’ from the University of York. The team’s project is ‘Child Sleep Safe’ which, using a mixture of embedded hardware, software, and home automation systems, aims to reduce cot death numbers by monitoring a baby whilst sleeping.
In the team’s words: “Every year thousands of babies die during the night as their temperatures are not correctly monitored and maintained. We live in a world where technology can do amazing things – it’s about time we used it to address this life-changing issue.”
Cycling Into Trees is made up of Kevin Pfister – a one-man team who has previously been a UK and worldwide finalist. This year marks the last year that Kevin will be able to compete.
Pic. Microsoft's Ben Nunney, Kevin Pfister and Microsoft's Emanuele Ognissanti,
See you all in New York City!
Ben Nunney Microsoft UK
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The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has now over 15,000 applications.
Total Apps In Marketplace
Apps By Category
Free vs Paid
Total Apps By Price
Huge thanks to Sreenu Bojja http://www.wp7appexlorer.com for the graphs.
This is amazing news as a little over six weeks ago, we were celebrating 10,000 apps in the Marketplace. Just think about that: 5,000 new apps in six weeks.
Windows Phone 7 was growing pretty rapidly before, but MIX '11 definitely had to be a strong influence on developers and the opportunity of Windows Phone 7 application development.
Additionally Student resources such as DreamSpark now provide students with a FREE AppHub accounts and the ability to upload 100 Free apps and a unlimited number of chargeable apps. The number of app created by Students have really increased the adoption of Windows Phone 7 development.
With the release of Mango the Windows Phone 7 apps will be getting a huge overhaul, with help from the new Mango toolkit as the next update provides tighter integration between the OS and apps than ever.
Additionally for academic’s wanting to teach Windows Phone 7 within their curriculum, Microsoft has released a number of curricula resources which are available to freely download from the Microsoft Faculty Connection. There are additionally lots of Free advice, guidance and best practice available from Microsoft AppHub Site.
So it's the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon!