July, 2011

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Project Daytona - Iterative MapReduce on Windows Azure

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    Microsoft has developed an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure, code-named "Daytona." Project Daytona is designed to support a wide class of data analytics and machine learning algorithms. It can scale out to hundreds of server cores for analysis of distributed data.

    Project Daytona was developed as part of the eXtreme Computing Group’s Cloud Research Engagement Initiative and made its debut at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit

    Project Daytona MapReduce Runtime for Windows Azure can be download, along with sample codes and instructional materials that researchers can use to set up their own large-scale, cloud data-analysis service on Windows Azure.

    Key Properties

    Project Daytona features the following key properties.

    1. Designed for the cloud, specifically for Windows Azure.

    2. Designed for cloud storage services.

    3. Horizontally scalable and elastic.

    4. Optimized for data analytics.

    So what can you use Daytona for?

    There are a number of use cases for Project Daytona,

    1. Data analysis

    2. Machine learning

    3. Financial analysis

    4. Text processing

    5. Indexing, and search.

    Almost any application that involves data manipulation and analysis can take advantage of Project Daytona to scale out processing on Windows Azure.

    Data analytics as a service

    Using Windows Azure, which is accessible to a host of clients NOT just windows clients!

    Project Daytona is about turning utility cloud computing into a service model for data analytics. In our view, what is key is that this service is not limited to a single data collection or set of analytics, but the ability to upload data and select from an extensible library of models for data analysis. Powered by Project Daytona, the service will automatically scale out the data and analytics model across a pool of Windows Azure VMs without the overhead that is usually associated with typical business intelligence (BI) and data analysis projects.

    Example of Application

    Excel DataScope. From the familiar interface of Microsoft Excel, Excel DataScope enables researchers to accelerate data-driven decision making.

    Project Daytona DataScope analytics service offers a library of data analytics and machine learning models, such as:-

    1.  Clustering

    2. Outlier detection

    3. Classification

    4. Machine learning

    5. Information visualization

    Users can upload data in their Excel spreadsheet to the DataScope service or select a data set already in the cloud, and then select an analysis model from our Excel DataScope research ribbon to run against the selected data.

    Project Daytona will scale out the model processing by using possibly hundreds of CPU cores to perform the analysis. The results can be returned to the Excel client or remain in the cloud for further processing and/or visualization. The algorithms and analysis techniques are applicable to any type of data, ranging from web analytics to survey, environmental, or social data.

    · See Overview for information about what is included in the release package.

    What’s Next for Project Daytona?

    Project Daytona is part of an active research and development project in the eXtreme Computing Group of Microsoft Research.The current release of Project Daytona is a research technology preview (RTP). Microsoft Research are still tuning the performance of Project Daytona and adding new functionality.

    For more information on project Daytona please see http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/azure/daytona.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Interoperability bridges and Labs Center improving interoperability between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies

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    Interoperability

    For all of you whom are interested in open source take a look at The Interoperability bridges and Labs Center, the site is dedicated to technical collaborative work to improve interoperability between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.

    On the web site, you will find a live directory of freely downloadable technical resources and related content such as demos, technical guidance and articles.

    The Center is run by the Microsoft Interoperability Strategy Group working with the Open Source
    community.

    Topic Areas

    Microsoft Platform & Java
    Cloud Interoperability
    HTML5 Labs
    Windows Azure for PHP
    Windows Phone Interoperability

    Apache Project

    Apache POI OpenXML Java API
    Apache Stonehenge

    Windows Azure AppFabric Projects

    AppFabric SDK for Java
    AppFabric SDK for PHP
    AppFabric SDK for Ruby
    Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP
    Windows Azure SDK for PHP
    Windows Azure Companion
    Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java
    Windows Azure SDK for Java
    Windows Azure SDK for PHP
    Windows Azure Storage for WordPress
    Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse

    Bing Projects

    Bing 404 for WordPress
    Bing 404 Web Page Error Toolkit for PHP
    Bing Maps Module for Drupal
    Bing Search Library for PHP

    Eclipse Projects

    Eclipse Tools for Silverlight
    Enhancements of Eclipse on Windows 7
    Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java
    Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse

    Information Cards Projects

    Information Cards for C
    Information Cards for Java
    Information Cards for PHP
    Information Cards for Ruby

    Labs Projects

    Lab: Development Environment and Software Configuration Management (SCM) Interoperability
    Lab: Directory Management Interoperability
    Lab: Document & Records Management Across Portals
    Lab: Federated Identity
    Lab: Interoperability with Open XML
    Lab: Multi-platform System Management
    Lab: Portal Aggregation and Integration
    Lab: Remote Desktop Interoperability
    Lab: Systems Management

    OData Projects

    OData Client for Objective C (iPhone-Mac)
    OData Module for Drupal
    OData SDK for PHP
    Restlet Extension for OData

    Open XML Projects

    Office Binary to Open XML Translator
    OpenXML Document Viewer/HTML Translator
    OpenXML/ODF Translator
    OpenXML/UOF Translator

    PHP Projects

    Samples for PHP with Silverlight
    Samples for PHP with Webslices & Accelerators
    SQL CRUD Application Wizard for PHP
    SQL Server Reporting Services SDK for PHP
    Toolkit for PHP with Virtual Earth (Bing Maps)
    Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP
    Windows Azure SDK for PHP

    Silverlight Projects

    Silverlight Pivot viewer Module for Drupal

    Durpal Projects

    Windows Live ID Module for Drupal

    Browser Projects

    WSRP Producer for Microsoft SharePoint Server
    Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin Download
    HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in
    Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2011 World Wide Finals

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    The 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals took place yesterday from 16:00-19:00 EST (NYC Local Time) 8pm to 11pm GMT you can watch a video recording of the stream here.

    The “World Festival Awards Ceremony” will be held at the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in downtown New York City!  The event capped a six-day celebration of technology that featured more than 400 students from 70 countries.

    Microsoft had a dedicated Social Media Team at the Microsoft Imagine Cup,  made up of Microsoft Student Partners, the team of 25 were tweeting, blogging and streaming as much as possible about every aspect of the finals. To see all 25 Microsoft Student Partners on the Social Media Team tweeting, check out our Twitter List!

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    For more information on the Imagine Cup see the dedicated Official Imagine Cup Facebook Page which has been made available for things Imagine Cup!

    So what is the Imagine Cup?

    The Imagine Cup 2011 consisted of Student projects that tackle global problems such as improving road and fire safety, eradicating poverty, and creating a more sustainable environment.

    The Imagine Cup is a awesome event and I have to state I was tremendously inspired, enthused and excited by the events of yesterday. Over 350,000 students globally took part in the competition over the past months, leading to the Worldwide Finals in New York City July 8-13. The UK managed to secure two places to the World Finals represented by two teams Project Ove, from the University of Manchester, competing in the Software Design Competition and Cycling into Trees, from the University of York, competing in the Embedded Development Competition. Project Ove were unfortunate to be knocked out in the first round in New York however Kevin Pfister team Cycling into Trees made it to the Final Six and the grand final see more details below!

    Pfister

    Ireland’s Team Hermes won the competition’s premier Software Design category and $25,000 (U.S.) with their project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.

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    "Thank you Imagine Cup for the opportunity to develop a solution to address this global, serious problem of road traffic accidents,” said team member Aine Conaghan as they collected the Imagine Cup trophy. “Initially we were inspired due to the fact of this problem in Ireland. The more research we carried out, we realized ‘yeah, we're going to make an impact globally.’”

    The members of Team Hermes said traffic accidents are a huge problem in Sligo, the North Western Irish city where they go to University. "Initially we wanted to do something to improve road safety," said team member Calum Cawley. "So many people are dying we had to do something about it."

    Women in Technology

    It was encouraging to see so many female contestants at the Imagine Cup World Final, the more women we see enter science, technology, engineering and math fields will help fill the shortage of viable candidates in the tech sector, encouraging more females into the sector will bring a new wave of ideas and perspectives. Over Sixty women participated in the Imagine Cup Finals, double last’s year numbers. Those female students can help inspire more women to take an interest in tech and enter future competitions. 

    Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the U.S. Marketing and Operations group at Microsoft, hopes the Imagine Cup continues to get more women to attend. On Sunday Watson led a panel discussion where she invited women competitors to talk about the issues and challenges surrounding getting more women into STEM fields and to inspire them to be role models for others. “(We need) to bring the voice and stories of the women competitors to others," she said. "The more women you can get here, the more you can create a community of people who can support each other.”

    Role models can make a huge difference in getting more women interested in technology careers, which can be intimidating, so well done to team Hermes! it shows that the Imagine Cup is a great platform for female students, noting that even the Imagine Cup name is approachable: "We want people to dream.”

    Imagine Cup 2011 Award Highlights and Winners

    Team Hermes – Winners Software Design 2011

    Ireland’s Team Hermes won this year’s Software Design competition with a project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.
    Ireland’s Team Hermes won this year’s Software Design competition with a project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.

    The team developed a smart device that can plug into any car made after 2000, Conaghan said. It uploads driving information to the cloud and gives the driver a report on their behavior. "Research has shown that educating the drivers reduces fatalities on the roads," she said.

    The team used a number of Microsoft technologies to create their project including Silverlight, Azure, and SQL Server. "It's all compatible," said James McNamara, also a team member. "It's a great system to work in."

    Looking ahead, Team Hermes wants to get their project out into the world to make an impact on roads worldwide. "We want to develop a sustainable project that not only saves lives but generates enough income to bring the product forward and establish a mass user group and a mass community, because the more users we have the more lives we can save," McNamara said.

    NTHUCS - Winners Embedded Development 2011

    Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS sets up their display booth at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals. The team won the Embedded Development contest with project RIGHT!! This Way, which computes the safest fire escape routes in real time as detected by a wireless sensor network.
    Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS sets up their display booth at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals. Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS won the Embedded Development contest and $25,000 with their project RIGHT!! This Way, which computes the safest fire escape routes in real time as detected by a wireless sensor network, while the three winners from the Game Design category all focused on some aspect of environmental sustainability.

    Signum Games - Winners Games Design Windows/Xbox 2011


    Brazil’s Team Signum Games demos their winning Game Design – Windows/Xbox entry Brazil’s Team Signum Games demos their winning Game Design Windows/Xbox entry "UCan," a strategy game that invites players to solve urban problems involving health, education and the environment. One member of Brazil’s Signum Games team that won the Windows/Xbox category of Game Design shouted at the crowd, “If we can, you can!” Team Signum’s Fernanda Fonteles said she was amazed her team came out on top. “It's unbelievable," she said. "We saw the other projects – they are very strong.” The team’s game was inspired by volunteers who helped clean up their home city of Curitiba, Brazil. "It's very important to bring the top prize to our university," Fonteles said.

    Geeklogic - Winners Games Design Mobile 2011

    Team Geeklogic from France won the Game Design – Mobile contest with
    Team Geeklogic from France won the Game Design – Mobile contest with "Brainergy," a Windows Phone 7 puzzle game in which the player has to solve different challenges based on renewable energy.I had the pleasure of meeting the team earlier in the Month at the FDG2011 conference and the game was superb so well done! As France’s Geekologic collected its award in the Game Design – Mobile category, a team member thanked the crowd and urged them
    “to continue this work and we will really make this world a better place.”

    Cellardoor - Winners Games Design  Web 2011


    Members of Poland’s Team Cellardoor demo

    In the Games Design web category, Winners were Poland’s Team Cellardoor demo "The Book of Elm". The game,  won the Game Design – Web category, it illustrates the importance of taking care of the environment in everyday life through the interactive story of Elm, a creature on a quest to fix the mistakes done by people around the world.

    HOMERUN - Winners Windows Phone 2011


    In the Windows Phone 7 category, Korea’s Team HOMERUN took first place with Peekaboo, an application designed to help family members communicate with each other through a treasure-hunt game.
    In the Windows Phone 7 category, Korea’s Team HOMERUN took first place with Peekaboo, an application designed to help family members communicate with each other through a treasure-hunt game.

    Other winners

    Alaniarides - Winners Interoperability Challenge 2011

    Greece’s Team Alaniarides won the Interoperability Challenge with their Touring Machine, which offers adults and children a new kind of cultural experience

    M.N.A – Winners Digital Media 2011

    Romania’s Team M.N.A. won the Digital Media category.

    Jean-Sébastien Duchene Winner IT Challenge 2011

    France’s Jean-Sébastien Duchene won the IT Challenge.

    BizSpark_Overview_Logo       StudentsToBusiness_Overview_Logo

    During the ceremony, Microsoft also unveiled plans to launch a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program to help recipients realize their vision of solving the world’s toughest problems  and announced that Imagine Cup finalists will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support via the Microsoft BizSpark programme. Microsoft will announce details about the grant program and application process later this summer.and BizSpark membership packages.

    “The innovators, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who compete in the Imagine Cup have developed an inspiring spectrum of projects, raising the bar higher and higher each year,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “We are in awe of the students’ solutions for addressing social and real-world challenges, and want to help them take their projects to the next level with the financial, technical and business support they need to change the world.”

    At the awards ceremony, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and activist and actress Eva Longoria also expressed their awe of the students’ tech skills and passion to change the world.

    When the finals kicked off last Friday, economist Jeffrey Sachs gave the students a homework assignment: saving the world. “You don't just leave here with the Imagine Cup and think your work is done – you have a lot of work ahead,” he said.

    Many of the participants hope to meet that challenge by forming their own companies. Dennis Anderson, a professor of management and information technology at St. Francis College in New York and longtime advisor to the Imagine Cup, said ‘the event serves as a launching pad for many students.(The Imagine Cup) opens up career pathways for many of the finalists,’ said Anderson, who also served as one of the judges in this year’s Software Design category. "This is definitely more than a competition. They are working very hard to start new businesses.”

    ‘Students aren’t merely seeing dollar signs with plans to form their own companies,’ said Mark Hindsbo, vice president of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism Group in the U.S. "I haven't heard one of the teams say they want to make money," he said. "They want to make a difference in the world."

    The New Zealand know a thing or two about success after the Imagine Cup. Two members from OneBuzz participated in last year’s competition, where they finished third in the Software Design category. Their project, called OneBeep, transmits educational data over radio waves to impoverished communities.

    Vinny Lohan said that after last year’s Imagine Cup, he and his OneBeep teammates formed their own company to license the technology. Since then they’ve attracted the attention of Icehouse, one of the top 10 incubation firms in the world, which is providing the young company with funding and support. Today they are conducting field tests in South America, and Lohan, the company’s CEO, said they’re six months from global deployment.  He credited the Imagine Cup and Microsoft’s BizSpark program with getting their company off the ground. "(The Imagine Cup) is the beginning, not the end of the journey," he said. "The Imagine Cup turns students into entrepreneurs."

    In New York City, it appeared many students were already on their way. Our very own Kevin Pfister, a one-man team called Cycling Into Trees who represented the U.K. in the Embedded Development category is now well on this journey.

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    Kevin’s Child Sleep Safe project uses a mixture of embedded hardware, software and home automation systems to reduce crib death numbers by monitoring babies while sleeping. “It represents the next generation of baby monitoring,” he said.

    Kevin has already built a working prototype of Child Sleep Safe and presented it to Mothercare, the U.K.’s largest specialist retailer for parents. “They gave us a good response,” Pfister said. “I’m going to move ahead with it.”

    The Peoples Choice Awards

    Eva Longoria told the students ‘she was honoured to support and shine a light on the finalists’ work, which she had a chance to review earlier in the day. She called out specific teams like Thailand’s NewKrean, who responded to a devastating flood in their country with a project that will help rescue workers find victims after a disaster. Before leaving the stage, Eva Longoria told the students ‘they were the next generation of leaders who were going to give us all a better future'.’

    She then announced the winner of the People’s Choice Award, Bangladesh’s Team Rapture, whose project, ThirdEye, is a smartphone device for the visually impaired.

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    Earlier, Bloomberg encouraged the students to work together as they tackle the world’s toughest problems, just like the diverse residents of New York City do. It will take collaboration to eliminate poverty and illness, combat global warming, and preserve the environment, he said. He then held up his friends Bill and Melinda Gates as two people who were truly changing the world and challenged the finalists to follow in their footsteps. He closed with an invitation for all the students to make New York City their future home.

    So will you be the next Imagine Cup HERO!

    The number of students competing or the number of countries represented, the Imagine Cup 2011 was the biggest event yet. However we need your help as parents, teachers, academics and faculties to help lead students to go into science, technology engineering fields (known as STEM), where there is projected to be a major shortfall of job candidates in the coming years.so let's go from 350,000 competitors to 35 million people.

    So if your a UK School teacher, FE or HE academic, I cannot think of a  better way to inspire students so think about the Imagine Cup for future challenges or curricula competitions! We simply need to inspire more students to enter technical fields as STEM is critical in driving the worlds economy.

    So I hope to see your entries for next year competition which will take place in Sydney, Australia. If you would like more details or information relating to the UK entry requirements simply get in touch!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Datacentre’s

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    What is Microsoft Cloud Services, well Microsoft’s cloud is now comprised of a globally distributed datacentre infrastructure supporting hundreds of online services and millions of transactions on a daily basis.

    Microsoft Cloud services include Windows Azure, Live@edu, SkyDrive, Office 365, Bing, MSN, Windows Live, Hotmail and Xbox Live and have more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses in over 70 countries who actively use these services.

    The Microsoft Data centre strategy has continually evolved, from the initial Microsoft datacentre which was built in 1989 starting with the Generation 1 to todays Generation 4 series datacentres all of which have ISO and PCI certifications, SAS70 Type II attestations, and FISMA certification and accreditation.

    PUEs in the Generation 4 centres has been driven even lower as we are also using free air cooling for our N+1 modular designs. These fully modular facilities have reduced Microsoft's ability to provide services by 50% and deliver outstanding PUEs, low water utilization and low total cost of ownership.

    For more details of Microsoft datacentre strategy and facilities see the following video tour and read further details at the Microsoft Datacentre blog.

     

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 Update

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    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is available for download

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is now available for download. This service pack updates the HPC Pack 2008 R2 products listed in the 'System Requirements' section. It provides improved reliability as well as an enhanced feature set including:

    • Enhanced Windows Azure integration - you can now add Azure VM Roles to your cluster, you can Remote Desktop to your Azure nodes, and you can run MPI jobs on Azure nodes.
    • Use a new 'resource pool' job scheduling policy that ensures resources are available to multiple groups of users.
    • Access job scheduling services through a REST interface or through an IIS-hosted web portal.
    • Assigning different submission and activation filters to jobs based on job templates.
    • Over-subscribe or under-subscribe the number of cores on cluster nodes.

    Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 

    In the "Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2" section you will three files:

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64.zip (123.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64 :
    Download this .zip file to obtain the updater for use on your head nodes, compute nodes, broker nodes, and x64-based clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the Web Components (REST and Web Portal), Azure VM, and KSP ('soft card') installers necessary to use those features.

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86.zip (121.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86 :
    This .zip file contains the updated for use on 32-bit clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the KSP ('soft card') installer for 32-bit clients.

    SP2 Media Integration Package.zip (570.0 MB)

    SP2 Media Integration Package:
    For customers who will be doing multiple new cluster installations (setting up brand new head nodes, not just updating existing clusters) you can use this package to update your original ('RTM') installation media to have SP2 integrated from the beginning. (Instead of installing from your RTM DVD, then applying SP1, then applying SP2.) Please refer to the instructions on the HPC team blog for more information.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to know more about building solutions on Azure

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    If your new to cloud computing and want to have some guidance on using Windows Azure take a look at the Getting Started Tutorials.

    Tutorials and Guidance

    The Azure getting started tutorial resources have been developed to help you get up-and-running quickly. In addition the new tutorials section on the Windows Azure product website contains all the content, tutorials and guidance of all aspects of the Windows Azure platform.

    Some of the new getting started tutorial include:

    The resource bring together, Windows Azure tutorials from across several Microsoft sites and groups them by task and experience level to make it easy for you to get started with cloud services.

    Additional Resources

    How to move an existing application to Windows Azure -  Migrate Services and Data Tutorials

    Adding authentication to an existing Windows Azure application, -  Control Access Tutorials.

    For feedback on these resources please contact: azuresitefeedback@microsoft.com.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Introduction to the Windows Azure Marketplace

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    AzureMarket

    Marketplace

    The Windows Azure Marketplace is a global online market for customers and partners to share, buy, and sell finished SaaS applications and premium datasets.

    The marketplace offer a interesting resource for academic worldwide. The marketplace simply provides you access to Windows Azure based applications & datasets, the Windows Azure Marketplace is a one-stop location supported by Microsoft to help you succeed.

    So what is available on the Marketplace

    Data

    The data section of Windows Azure Marketplace includes data, imagery, and real-time web services from leading commercial data providers and authoritative public data sources. Customers will have access to datasets such as demographic, environmental, financial, retail, weather and sports. The data section also includes visualizations and analytics to enable insight on top of data.

    Applications

    The application section of the Windows Azure Marketplace contains valuable finished applications to help you, all built on the Windows Azure Platform. From billing engines to content managements systems to HPC solutions and everything in between, the applications in the Windows Azure Marketplace can help accelerate your success with the platform.

    Interested in publishing your application? Click here to learn more here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research Faculty Summit LIVE KEYNOTE Presentations

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    WATCH THE MICROSOFT RESEARCH FACULTY SUMMIT 2011 KEYNOTES ONLINE JULY 18 – 20 2011

    The world of computing is ever changing, and nowhere more so than in the combination of software and consumer devices. We have entered the age of natural user interfaces, and this fact requires innovation in areas of computer vision, translation, audio sensing, and machine learning.

    Security, privacy, and the effect of the data deluge in the systems we build have taken on global significance in our socially networked world. The twelfth Microsoft Research Faculty Summit provides a forum for lively debate of the development, application, and funding of these technologies in the environmental, medical, and educational spheres over a long period of time.

    The keynotes and Design Expo from the Summit can be viewed in real time here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/events/fs2011/streaming_video.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship 2012

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    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship 2012

    The website is now live for the next PhD Scholarship Programme applications call

    http://research.microsoft.com/PhDScholarship/

    Application deadline: 16 September 2011, 17:00 GMT

    Please let your academic contacts know about it!

    The programme is open to all universities or national research institutions in any country in Europe, the Middle East or Africa.

    As previous years, applications must be made by PhD supervisors not by students. Supervisors will be informed of our decision in January 2012 and will then have up to one year to find the best student for the proposed project. Students will typically start their PhD in October 2012.

    The page also contains a link to a number of currently open PhD positions sponsored by Microsoft Research at a number of Universities:

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/collaboration/global/open-phd-positions.aspx

    If you have questions or feedback, please contact us.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Foundation of Digital Games Conference

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    Last week I attended the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games which was hosted in the beautiful city of Bordeaux. FDG is a focal point for academic efforts in all areas of research and education involving games, game technologies, gameplay and game design.

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    The goal of the conference is the advancement of the study of digital games, including new game technologies, capabilities, designs, applications, educational uses, and modes of play.

    FDG 2011 was an interesting event and well attended by academics, commercial gaming vendors along with a number of staff from Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelists teams from the US and a group from Microsoft Game Studios.

    As part of the event the entire US and UK team developed, created and presented the final keynote presentation entitled ‘Kinect in the Classroom’.

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    The presentation featured a history and the evolution of gaming consoles, controller and then closed with details on the Kinect device hardware configuration and a drill down on the newly released Kinect SDK. The presentation also included information on Microsoft Game Studio’s Edison Project which includes Kinect Fun Labs and the Kinect Share community which were launched recently on to the Xbox community.

    edison

    Integrating Imagine Cup into current and proposed Curricula

    Andrew Parsons, Microsoft US ADE team and Captain of the Imagine Cup Game Design Competition chaired an interesting panel session on the value of leveraging Imagine Cup within the academic curriculum.

    The panel included Tara Walker Microsoft US ADE, Professor Frank Lee from Drexel University, Ian Parberry from the University of Texas and Frederic Pedro, a former Imagine Cup game competitor and now CEO of his own game company, Pohlm Studio and mentor of this years French Imagine Cup winning team.

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    Each of the panel members recounted their success in integrating Imagine Cup into the academic curriculum. If your interested in learning more about the imagine cup please visit http://www.imaginecup.com

    Andrew presented a showcase of this years entries and the video of entries including the following video on the order of this years competitors For information on this years Imagine Cup Game Design entries see the entry video below and visit Andrews blog for the latest information on the Games Design Competition and an analysis of this years competitors.

    So if your interested in entering next years Imagine Cup and making students aware of the competition then these are the key dates for the Games Design competition are as follows more information will be posted on http://www.imaginecup.com

    ROUND

    START DATE

    END DATE

    Round 1 – Storyboard/Summary Submission

    July 13, 2011

    February 14, 2012

    Round 2 - Game Submission

    February 16, 2012

    March 13, 2012

    Round 3 - Worldwide Finals Qualifying

    April 3, 2012

    May 1, 2012

    Round 4 - Worldwide Finals

    July 2012

    July  2012

     

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