Microsoft Research Podcast

Microsoft Research Podcast

An ongoing series of conversations bringing you right up to the cutting edge of Microsoft Research.

Programming biology with Dr. Andrew Phillips

Episode 67, March 13, 2019 – Today, Dr. Phillips talks about the challenges and rewards inherent in reverse engineering biological systems to see how they perform information processing. He also explains what we can learn from stressed out bacteria, and tells us about Station B, a new end-to-end platform his team is working on that aims to reduce the trial and error nature of lab experiments and help scientists turn biological cells into super-factories that…

March 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Josh Benaloh

Securing the vote with Dr. Josh Benaloh

Episode 65, February 27, 2019 – Dr. Josh Benaloh gives us a brief but fascinating history of elections, explains how the trade-offs among privacy, security and verifiability make the relatively easy math of elections such a hard problem for the internet, and tells the story of how the University of Michigan fight song forced the cancellation of an internet voting pilot.

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Talking with machines with Dr. Layla El Asri

Episode 64, February 20, 2019 – Dr. Layla El Asri talks about the particular challenges she and other scientists face in building sophisticated dialogue systems that lay the foundation for talking machines. She also explains how reinforcement learning, in the form of a text game generator called TextWorld, is helping us get there, and relates a fascinating story from more than fifty years ago that reveals some of the safeguards necessary to ensure that when…

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Researcher Manik Varma

Competing in the X Games of machine learning with Dr. Manik Varma

Episode 63, February 13, 2019 – Dr. Varma tells us all about extreme classification (including where in the world you might actually run into 10 or 100 million options), reveals how his Parabel and Slice algorithms are making high quality recommendations in milliseconds, and proves, with both his life and his work, that being blind need not be a barrier to extreme accomplishment.

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

haiyan zhang standing in front of a wall

Putting the “human” in human computer interaction with Haiyan Zhang

Episode 62, February 6, 2019 – Haiyan talks about her unique “brain hack” approach to the human-centered design process, and discusses a wide range of projects, from the connected play experience of Zanzibar, to Fizzyo, which turns laborious breathing exercises for children with cystic fibrosis into a video game, to Project Emma, an application of haptic vibration technology that, somewhat curiously, offsets the effects of tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Rico Malvar, Chief Scientist and Distinguished Engineer standing in front of bushes

Enable(ing) people to do more with Dr. Rico Malvar

Episode 61, January 30, 2019 – Dr. Rico Malvar recalls his early years at a fledgling Microsoft Research, talks about the exciting work he oversees now, explains why designing with the user is as important as designing for the user, and tells us how a challenge from an ex-football player with ALS led to a prize winning hackathon project and produced the core technology that allows you to type on a keyboard without your hands…

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Cecily Morrison

Empowering people with AI with Dr. Cecily Morrison

Episode 60, January 23, 2019 – Dr. Morrison gives us an overview of what she calls the “pillars” of inclusive design, shares how her research is positively impacting people with health issues and disabilities, and tells us how having a child born with blindness put her in touch with a community of people she would otherwise never have met, and on the path to developing Project Torino, an inclusive physical programming language for children with…

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Paul Bennett

Building contextually intelligent assistants with Dr. Paul Bennett

Episode 59, January 16, 2019 – Dr. Bennett brings us up to speed on the science of contextually intelligent assistants, explains how what we think our machines can do actually shapes what we expect them to do, and shares how current research in machine learning and data science is helping machines reason on our behalf in the quest to help us find the right information effortlessly.

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Jonathan Protzenko standing outside

Scaling the Everest of software security with Dr. Jonathan Protzenko

Episode 58, January 9, 2019 – Dr. Protzenko talks about what’s wrong with software (and why it’s vitally important to get it right), explains why there are so many programming languages (and tells us about a few he’s been working on), and finally, acts as our digital Sherpa for Project Everest, an assault on software integrity and confidentiality that aims to build and deploy a verified HTTPS stack.

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Product Strategist Amos Miller

Soundscaping the world with Amos Miller

Episode 54, December 12, 2018 – Amos Miller is a product strategist on the Microsoft Research NeXT Enable team, and he’s played a pivotal role in bringing some of MSR’s most innovative research to users with disabilities. He also happens to be blind, so he can appreciate, perhaps in ways others can’t, the value of the technologies he works on, like Soundscape, an app which enhances mobility independence through audio and sound.

December 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Chasing convex bodies and other random topics with Dr. Sébastien Bubeck

Episode 53, December 5, 2018 – Dr. Sébastien Bubeck explains the difficulty of the multi-armed bandit problem in the context of a parameter- and data-rich online world. He also discusses a host of topics from randomness and convex optimization to metrical task systems and log n competitiveness to the surprising connection between Gaussian kernels and what he calls some of the most beautiful objects in mathematics.

December 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

chris bishop

Machine learning and the learning machine with Dr. Christopher Bishop

Episode 52, November 28, 2018 – Dr. Christopher Bishop talks about the past, present and future of AI research, explains the No Free Lunch Theorem, talks about the modern view of machine learning (or how he learned to stop worrying and love uncertainty), and tells how the real excitement in the next few years will be the growth in our ability to create new technologies not by programming machines but by teaching them to learn.

November 2018

Microsoft Research Blog