Microsoft’s External Research Symposium: Where Diversity Accelerates Discovery
At the heart of all great research there are two key components: learning and collaboration. Last month, at Microsoft’s External Research Symposium, there was an abundance of each. In addition to being an incredibly interesting two days, the symposium plays a significant role in our mission to harness the power of science and technology to improve lives around the world.
Over the course of the two-day event, more than 130 research professionals from around the world gathered with members of the Microsoft Research team to share the latest discoveries and challenges from projects focused on an impressive range of topics. There were more than 30 presentations of projects that delve deeply into astronomy, computational biology, forest fire management, genetics, robotics and much more.
For those of us at Microsoft Research, this gathering provided an opportunity to hear directly from researchers involved in projects we are supporting with financial and/or technical assistance. This year, a few of the topics included, diversity in computing, using computational biology to better understand ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as the recently launched Chemistry Add-in for Word (Chem4Word), which has surpassed 100,000 downloads in just a short period of time. During the two days we spent together we learned not only about the progress of projects, but also about opportunities for further collaboration, which often arise beyond the original scope of a project.
For those who presented their projects at the symposium, the benefits are equally compelling. Researchers who attend the symposium often discover, by sharing ideas and information with other researchers, how some of the same technologies already in use can be leveraged in different ways, often across disciplines. Diversity accelerates discovery, and at Microsoft’s External Research Symposium it’s not unusual to witness astronomers learning from biologists, oceanographers from chemists, and vice versa on how to use technological tools to extend the boundaries of their research.
With the success of the ER Symposium freshly on our minds, we at Microsoft Research are looking forward to continuing the worldwide collaboration effort next week, May 12 – 14, when Microsoft Research hosts the sixth annual Latin American Faculty Summit in Guarujá, Brazil, themed “Computing: Making the Difference.” Among many others, the summit will feature research collaborators who shared their findings at last month’s symposium. Claudia M. Bauzer of the University of Campinas will continue to share findings from the multidisciplinary research project called e-farms, which bridges computer science and agriculture. In addition to getting a sneak peak at this innovative project, nearly all the presentations given at the symposium are posted, including: David Heckerman’s pivotal HIV vaccine research, Joe Townsend’s energetic talk on the Chemistry Add-in for Word and Professor Jeremy Baumberg’s intriguing presentation on “MetaSurfacing with the Surface”.
I invite you to learn more about the research shared at the symposium, which is being guided by some of the finest scientists working today. And please watch this blog next week for more information from the summit in Brazil.
External Research Team