April, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

April, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Python Tools for Visual Studio 2010


    An integrated environment for developing Python in VS2010

    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)

    Keeping up to date

    Web Site http://pytools.codeplex.com/
    Twitter @pt4vs http://twitter.com/pt4vs
    Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pt4vs or "Python Tools for Visual Studio"
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Student Tech Clubs



    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.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    FREE Microsoft Certification for Students via http://www.dreamspark.com ends 30th June 2011


    Students - Time is running out!


    To ensure you  have enough time to prepare for your academic exams and gain Microsoft professional certification.

    Take advantage of the free certification offer ASAP and sit your professional certification exams now!

    Simply go to http://www.dreamspark.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Imagine Cup UK Final 2011 The winners are..




    The Imagine Cup is an annual competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft, which brings together young technologists worldwide to help solve IMG_0222some 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”

    IMG_0207Started 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.

    IMG_0223The 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.

    So what is the Imagine Cup

    Microsoft UK is proud to announce the 2011 UK Winner


    The Embedded Development competition allows students to go beyond the desktop to build a complete hardware and software solution that addresses global societal problems.

    Microsoft UK is proud to announce the UK 2011 Winner is


    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 UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research the power of Parallel Programming, Dyrad and Windows Azure


    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.


    Dryad: A General-Purpose Execution Platform


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark FREE Microsoft Certification for Students



    What is Microsoft Certification and what is it's value?




  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Imagine Cup Winners





    UK Final takes place at Microsoft HQ, announcing who will represent the UK at the worldwide final

    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



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Azure and Windows Phone 7 in Education

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Ground breaking work at Southampton University. Working with BizSpark partner Segoz, this group of innovators developed the ASTRA weather balloon to carry a Windows Phone 7 into the stratosphere - as high as Concorde. On returning to earth, data captured by the phone was fed into a Windows Azure based application.


    Not just for fun, but to help Southampton University’s scientists understand how the upper atmosphere affects the Earth’s climate. 

    Now that’s Cloud Computing!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Photosynth App for Mobile Devices


    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:

    Key Features:

    • See your panorama take shape as you capture them with Interactive Capture
    • Look and capture in all directions with Full-Sphere Panoramas
    • See the final panorama right away with fast On-Device Processing
    • Sharp, high-resolution results with the Advanced Image Stitching Engine
    • Panoramas are always available to view and share from the On-Device Library
    • Zoom, pan, stretch, and view in landscape or portrait with our Immersive Viewer
    • Save your panoramas and view them online at Photosynth.net

    Sharing Options:

    • Share to Bing Maps to see your panoramas throughout Bing on business detail pages and right on the map itself
    • Share to Facebook with images or interactive panoramas
    • Images are also available to any app from the Camera Roll

    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    University of York Student Kevin Pfister. Two times winner of Microsoft Imagine Cup UK Final 2010 & 2011




    Microsoft UK would like to offer huge congratulations and recognition to Kevin Pfister. Kevin is now a two times Winner of the Imagine Cup UK Embedded Design Competition.

    Kevin whom recently completed his MSc at the University of York was successful in winning the UK Final in 2010. Kevin then had the privilege of representing the UK at the World Wide Final in Embedded Development at the Imagine Cup in Poland. Kevin effort in the Imagine Cup 2010 gained him a place within the final six constants which is awesome achievement.

    Watch Kevin in action at the 2010 World Wide Imagine Cup Final with his project SENSES

    We wish Kevin the best of luck in the 2011 Final.

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