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Students Envision the Future at Russian Summer School

August 17, 2011 | By Microsoft blog editor

As the saying goes, “Seeing is believing.” But with computers, that’s only half the story. Cameras are becoming an ever-present part of our world. They are built into cell phones and laptops, and dot the landscape in storefronts and on street corners. Their pervasive images present us with a wealth of information. So how do we extract information from these images and use it?

Students attend the third annual Microsoft Research Summer School.

One hundred excited students from across Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)  converged at Moscow State University for the 3rd Annual Microsoft Research Summer School.

That question set the scene for 100 excited students from across Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a quarter of whom were women, who converged on Moscow State University (MSU) for the third annual Microsoft Research Summer School. This year’s session focused on the intricacies of computer vision, with activities led by Microsoft Research experts and leading European academics.

The summer session began with a special welcome from Nikolay Pryanishnikov, president of Microsoft Russia. “Supporting young talent is traditionally one of our key strategic priorities,” Pryanishnikov told the students. “We are confident that, with the help of events like this Microsoft Research Summer School, our young specialists will be able to realize their ideas, reach new peaks, and increase the innovation potential of the Russian economy.”

The students were busy throughout the week; each day was packed with intensive academic talks, demonstrations, and hands-on laboratory sessions that were designed to educate attendees about fundamental and state-of-the-art techniques in computer vision. Andrew Fitzgibbon, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, gave a detailed description of how decades of computer vision research, along with ground-breaking ideas from Microsoft Research, came together to make Kinect technology a reality. The summer session also featured industry talks: Aram Pakhchanian of ABBYY, a Moscow-based company that specializes in optical character recognition, and Michael Nikonov of iPi Soft, a company that specializes in motion capture technology, talked about how to create a startup company in computer vision.

An enthusiastic student questions Andrew Blake, Managing Director of Microsoft Research CambridgeAndrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, was delighted to lecture and talk to the enthusiastic students. “It was clearly a splendidly vibrant event, with tremendous enthusiasm from the students,” he said. “This really is a landmark event for Microsoft in Russia. It marks a milestone in the maturity of the developing links between Microsoft Research, Microsoft Research Connections, and Moscow State University.”

Anton Konushin, head of the Vision Group at MSU, hopes that others can benefit from the Summer School. “Our school was truly a most selective one, with only one out of five students was accepted to the school. But with video lectures available online soon, we hope that this 400 students who hadn’t made it to the event, can also become familiar with materials. We plan to make the influence of the school to Russian computer vision community a long-lasting one.”

At the end of the week, students departed the summer school filled with enthusiasm and a deeper insight into how computer vision can change our world.

Fabrizio Gagliardi, Director, Microsoft Research Connections EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa)

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