Microsoft Research Recognizes Computer Science’s Most Promising Professors With New Faculty Fellowships
April 26, 2006
Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Program honors young academics who display extraordinary aptitude for innovative research.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 26, 2006 — Microsoft Research today named the five newest members of its highly prestigious Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Program. Because new faculty members are essential to the future of academic computing, Microsoft Research honors early-career professors who demonstrate the drive and creativity to develop original research while continually advancing the state of the art of computing.

The five winners — two women and three men — were chosen from a pool of more than 100 individuals representing universities in North America. Each fellow will each receive a $200,000 (U.S.) cash award over a two-year period to assist in his or her research. The recipients are also given the opportunity to collaborate with some of the top researchers working in their area of interest at Microsoft Research.

“Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows represent the best new professors in computing disciplines today,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. “The intellectual curiosity and capacity that each fellow has demonstrated is inspirational, and we will watch their careers develop with interest.”

Projects that the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows will pursue include analyzing the basic concepts of perception, searching for connections in text, creating graphics that more accurately model human motion, designing a more elegant human-computer interaction, and finding a way to bring all these aspects together in a more refined framework for both the designer and the operator.

“I was particularly impressed with the strength of all the applicants,” said Jeannette Wing, a member of the application review committee and head of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. “These young faculty show passion for their research, have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and understand how their work contributes not just to science, but to society.”

The following professors are this year’s Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship winners:

  • Regina Barzilay, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Barzilay is up to the challenge. She is focusing her research on computational modeling of linguistic phenomena. She is exploring the ability of a computer to summarize information found in multiple documents that contain related information, such as news articles covering the same event. This will help readers find meaning in the ever-increasing body of information available today.

  • Aaron Hertzmann, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. Hertzmann is working on building simulated models for computer animation. His work shows that realistic physical models can be created from a small number of precise physical measurements. These models can predict human motion in a variety of circumstances, making them invaluable to animators. Similarly, these methods may have an impact on biomechanics research, ultimately aiding physicians and physical therapists in their work.

  • Scott Klemmer, assistant professor of computer science, Stanford University. Klemmer also is interested in how to make the computer environment more significant and accessible by seeking ways to bridge the gulf between the physical and digital worlds. He is focusing on enhancing all aspects of human-computer interaction by creating tools to enable a prototyping culture. As a former graphic design major, Klemmer understands the need to use every available space to create a great design, whether with Post-it Notes, scraps of paper or collages, it all adds up to a way to organize information and create a vision.

  • Eddie Kohler, assistant professor of computer science, University of California, Los Angeles. Kohler hopes to make computer systems easier to program. His vision is based on innovative synthesis of basic systems research and component-based programming language techniques. In application, his work aims to create a more understandable, robust and secure foundation for systems programming. Kohler is also hopeful that his designation as a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellow will help his university to recruit the best and brightest students.

  • Fei-Fei Li, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Fei-Fei is interested in vision: the task of making machines see like humans. Just as the art lover’s brain blends individual points of color in an Impressionist painting to create a whole, Fei-Fei is developing algorithms to enable computers to generate comprehensive digital representations of complex objects and scenes. The desired result is new tools for personal photo organization and image searches, and, eventually, assistance for the visually impaired.

All the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows will focus on finding solutions to challenging research problems that can change the way people interact with and use computing devices. Each professor views computing as a window into the next frontier of discovery — for their vision, hopes and aspirations to serve as a catalyst for other researchers.

Microsoft Research will formally recognize these individuals at the annual Faculty Summit, on July 17, 2006, in Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Awards Program

The External Research & Programs group established the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Program in 2005 to identify and support exceptional first-, second- and third-year professors who are advancing the state of the art of computer science research. Microsoft Research recognizes that until young professors can build a reputation, they typically struggle to secure adequate funding for their research work.

The program accepts just one nominee per university; a rigorous multiround selection process culminates in live interviews before a distinguished panel of reviewers from Microsoft Research and the academic community.

Additional information about the 2006 Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows, the Faculty Summit and the inaugural 2005 fellows is available at http://research.microsoft.com/ur/us/nff/default.aspx.

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences. Microsoft Research employs more than 700 people in five labs located in Redmond, Wash.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. Microsoft Research collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspire technological innovation, and broadly advance the field of computer science. More information can be found at http://www.research.microsoft.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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