• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Academic Search


    The Academic Search beta is a free search engine, developed by Microsoft Research, that helps users quickly find information about academic researchers and their activities. It is also a test-bed for our object-level vertical search research.

    With Academic Search, you can easily find top researchers and their papers, conferences, and journals. You can also find relationships between researchers who co-authored papers. Academic Search will be changing its name with the upcoming release of new and improved features. In the meantime, try Academic Search and explore more than 15 million publications.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Biology Foundation 2.0 Beta 1 Release and Coding Contest




    The Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) team is looking for the best bioinformatics and genomics application built on MBF 2.0 beta 1. Biologists have a chance to enter to win an Xbox 360 4 GB console with Kinect by registering their MBF 2.0 beta 1 based application by July 15, 2011

    MBF 2.0 beta 1, a language-neutral bioinformatics toolkit built as an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework, helps researchers and scientists work together and explore new discoveries. This beta release provides significant updates, such as:

    • Increased capacity for de novo assembly of larger and more complex species than V1
    • New comparative assembly functions for characteristic genetic diversity within or between species
    • Core object model improvements for a smaller memory footprint and increased parallel processing
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Special Event UK Academia RE: the Kinect Windows SDK beta



    The Microsoft academic team are delighted to confirm the focus of our “Special Applied Research on Windows” Academic event on the 21st June is the Kinect for Windows SDK Beta 

    The Kinect for Windows SDK beta is a programming toolkit for application developers. It enables the academic and enthusiast communities’ easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running the Windows 7 operating system.

    The Kinect for Windows SDK beta, includes drivers, rich APIs for raw sensor streams and natural user interfaces, installation documents, and resource materials. It provides Kinect capabilities to developers who build applications with C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

    This is a UK Academic Event only! Please ensure you register with a valid .ac.uk email address to ensure your place is confirmed!

    The event will take place at the Microsoft UK Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG.

    21 June 2011 Kinect for Windows SDK Agenda

    · 09:30 Arrivals – Registration

    · 10:00 Welcome – introductions, Geoff Hughes, Developer Platform Evangelism

    · 10:10 Highlights from Kinect SDK launch

    · 10:30 The Science of Kinect, Andrew Fitzgibbon, PhD, Microsoft Research Cambridge

    · 11:15 BREAK

    · 11:40 Collaborating with Microsoft Research, Kenji Takeda , PhD, Microsoft Research

    · 11:50 Overview of Kinect SDK, Dave Brown, PhD, Microsoft Technology Centre

    · 12:30 Q&A / Next Steps

    · 12:45 Networking and Lunch

    · 13:30 Close

    If appropriate, we ask each academic visitor to bring a graduate student to the event who works on applied research topics.

    To apply for a place

    Register via the web here: URL: Invite Code: F58492

    This is a UK Academic Event only! Please ensure you register with a valid .ac.uk email address to ensure your place is confirmed!


    Resources: Kinect For Windows SDK beta

     Download the SDK Beta, Check out the Kinect Quick Starts and view the Kinect Project Gallery on Coding 4 Fun



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows SDK – It’s Here!

    Anticipation for the Kinect or Windows software development kit beta has been high from the UK Academic community.

    The SDK now available for free from Microsoft Research. The SDK includes not only drivers but also APIs, device interfaces, installer documents and resource materials. It’s another exciting milestone for a technology that has captured the imagination of millions, and has become the fastest selling computer electronics device of all time.

    With the release of the SDK today, we’re looking forward to another wave of creativity from academic researchers community in the UK.

    As part of the Channel9 Launch event, Microsoft has been holding a Code Camp where a select group of software developers were challenged to test the limits of their imaginations and show what they could do with audio technology, skeletal tracking system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor. Channel 9 is broadcasting live today, highlighting some of these amazing applications as well as providing in depth sessions on how to program on Windows using the SDK.

    The beta SDK is only the beginning! Microsoft’s vision of the natural user interface is that interactions between people and computers will ultimately become invisible, computers will understand gestures, voice commands and respond to facial expressions.

    As Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, said – “As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale, the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing.” There is more to come, including a commercial SDK that is geared toward enabling independent software vendors (ISV’s) and businesses to develop commercial applications.

    We look forward to seeing what’s next with Kinect and getting your feedback and input so if your a UK academic we would love to hear from you.

    Those interested in the SDK will find community resources, general information and download links at http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Special Live Event on Channel 9 16/06/2011


    UK Academic community, This evening Microsoft is announcing something very special. which I know a lot of you will like.

    Check out the live stream from MSDN Channel9 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Power of HTML5



    Disney's New Tron: Legacy Site Comes to Life Using IE9 with HTML5

    After my recent visits to numerous Universities across the UK, I am aware a number of you have been teaching HTML5 for a number of years as part of your curricula. Therefore I thought you may be interested in the following examples of HTML5.

    Check out what Disney Publishing was able to produce using Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration and HTML5.

    The website takes Tron fans through an original, interactive adventure, raising the bar for what an interactive, graphic novel can be. IE9 features such as hardware-accelerated HTML5 canvas, audio tags, and fast JavaScript engine were critical in bringing the site they imagined to life.

    There are also numerous other show case sites from BMW, SKY, Wired, Top Gear and many more… the sites are specifically designed and developed for IE9 and HTML5 visit the beauty of the web showcase site to see the power of IE9 and HTML5.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    High Performance Computing Training Resources for academia



    For those interested in High Performance Computing using Windows HPC Server 2008R2 and Windows Azure please see the following training materials available at download.microsoft.com

    A number of academic worldwide including participants from TCCAP, collaborators from MSR Cloud futures conference, and Azure, HPC TSPs are already using the samples and utilities we exclusively provide as an important part of their Azure solutions. 

    The online version allows you to access the content quickly, and more conveniently.  This training kit is intended for use by people who are familiar with Windows HPC Server 2008R2, and wish to learn how to use the Azure burst scenario, which is described in the article Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

    Link to all MSDN Training courses online:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/trainingcourses

    Link to HPC with Azure burst Training course: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/HPCAzureBurstTrainingCourse

    Status Update on Sp2 training content: We are almost ready with 3-4 exciting new samples that is coming at the beginning of July that covers MPI on azure, invoking Scheduler REST interface on Phone 7 (Mango) and BLAST DNA sequencing with REST enabled web interface. 

    Preview video of MPI on azure, invoking Scheduler REST interface on Phone 7 (Mango)


    Parametric Sweep

    Parametric sweep provides a straightforward development path for solving delightfully parallel problems on a cluster (sometimes referred to as "embarrassingly parallel" problems, which have no data interdependencies or shared state precluding linear scaling through parallelization). For example, prime numbers calculation for a large range of numbers. Parametric sweep applications run multiple instances of the same program on different sets of input data, stored in a series of indexed storage items, such as files on disk or rows in a database table. Each instance of a parametric sweep application runs as a separate task, and many such tasks can execute concurrently, depending on the amount of available cluster resources.


    Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural style designed for building distributed systems. The SOA actors are services: independent software packages that expose their functionality by receiving data (requests) and returning data (responses). SOA is designed to support the distribution of an application across computers and networks, which makes it a natural candidate for scaling on a cluster. The SOA support provided by Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 is based on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), a .NET framework for building distributed applications. Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 improves SOA support by hosting WCF services inside Windows Azure nodes, in addition to on-premises nodes.

    Excel Offloading

    The execution of compute intensive Microsoft Excel workbooks with independent calculations can be sometimes scaled using a cluster. The Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 integration with Windows Azure supports User Defined Functions (UDFs) offloading. Excel workbook calculations that are based on UDFs defined in an XLL file can be installed on the cluster’s nodes (on-premises and/or Windows Azure nodes). With the XLL installed on the cluster, the user can perform the UDF calls remotely on the cluster instead of locally on the machine where the Excel workbook is open.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Student Imagine Cup idea becomes a referenced Health Application


    Amazing story of the power of the Imagine Cup. This months Microsoft Health Tech Today 


    We are excited to announce this week’s episode of Health Tech Today, features a country winner of the 2011 Imagine Cup Windows Phone 7 competition with Lifelens from a team of students from UCLA, University of California, Davis, Harvard and the University of Central Florida.

    Lifelens was designed in less than six months, this app came out of as the U.S.A winning entry to Imagine Cup 2011  Windows Phone 7 Application competition. Lifelens is a revolutionary new mobile app to detect malarial parasites.

    This demonstrates the power and exposure of the Imagine Cup and how the Imagine Cup is an exciting opportunity for the academic community, with the power and exposure of showcasing a student application on the frontier of mobile medicine.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Office Trainers join round table discussion with Microsoft Learning



    On Monday 13th June 2011, I attended a number of meetings at the University of York, UK, the University had a specific event entitle Office 2010 and Beyond! after the event the University of York IT Academy team hosted a round table event with 17 Microsoft Certified Trainers ‘MCTs’ who specialise in training Microsoft Office technologies. 


    The trainers, many of whom had travelled from all over the UK, joined Andrew Bettany, from the University of York IT Academy and member of the Microsoft Learning Advisory Council, and Wendy Johnson, Senior Product Manager, Office Certification at Microsoft Learning (Redmond, WA) and myself from Microsoft UK.

    The discussion was organised to follow an IT Industry event at the University’s new Ron Cooke Hub building. During the afternoon we showcased what is new and "cool" in the Office/SharePoint arena - each presenter had just 30 minutes each to impress the audience of nearly 100 attendees. 



    Following the public event, 17 MCTs held an informal roundtable discussion with Wendy which provoked lively discussion and provided a range of suggestions and feedback regarding Microsoft Office Specialist certification, training and the value of being an "IW" (information worker) MCT. 

    Andrew Bettany, who organised the event, said "It has been a fantastic day.  Particularly great to see so many MCTs attend the event, readily engaging with each other, sharing ideas, best practice and exploring ways to develop and improve the program and community.  There was a real eagerness to repeat this type of event again."

    The discussions were extremely interesting.  It was clear that the academic sector has seen large growth, year on year, for "MOS" (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification. Collectively the group estimated that the audience had taught 250,000+ learners during their careers.  There were some fascinating insights from MCTs on how they value the status of being an MCT whilst at the same time most preferred to describe themselves as "Certified Office Experts”.

    The Microsoft IT Academy Programme offers educational establishments extensive benefits and the opportunity to deliver Microsoft’s popular I.T. Training and Qualifications to their Students, Staff and wider community.

    Click here to find out which Microsoft qualifications you could deliver.

    Members benefits include:

    • FREE Microsoft eLearning (over 250 courses)
    • FREE Microsoft Software Licenses
    • Massive discounts on Microsoft Certifications and Courseware
    • FREE MSDNAA & TechNet Plus Subscription
    • FREE Microsoft Certified Trainer Membership
    • And much, much more.....
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Do you want your University to become a Microsoft BizSpark Network Partner



    Microsoft BizSpark: Helping startups succeed with all the right resources

    Microsoft® BizSpark™ is a global program that helps software start-ups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business.

    BizSpark Network Partner Programme Guide, which explains how 3rdparty organisations like Universities can participate.

    All we need to proceed is for the university to assign a programme owner. There is a straightforward agreement, which you may need to pass by your legal department, but just to give you some assurance, this has not caused any issue for the more than 2,000 organisations around the world that have already signed up as Network Partners.

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