2011 Engineering Excellence Award Winners

Our Engineering Excellence Award winners exemplify excellence by instituting best practices, developing quality tools, and driving the adoption of standards that improve engineering efficiency.

(L to R): Alexandre Ferreira, Jose Baldner


A Trace Analysis, Visualization, and Automation Platform

WindowsXRay is an extensible data visualization, analysis, and automation platform designed to aid engineers—through interactive visual data representation—in mining, analyzing, drawing causality correlations, validating, and detecting complex patterns over large sets of performance trace data aggregated from mixed sources. WindowsXRay employs advanced filtering, selection, and rich data visualization and manipulation techniques that make possible easy correlation and interpretation of large sets of trace data. Through its rich and interactive UI, engineers have the ability to correlate events from miscellaneous sources, including traces collected from different systems, hardware platforms, or devices. The trace visualization engine efficiently renders interactive visual representations of complex models and provides engineers with the ability to correlate trace information derived from the plug-ins in a synchronized timeline. The ability to select, filter, highlight, export, and auto-analyze data greatly facilitates the process of understanding component behavior and the detection of complex patterns.

(L to R): Mike Cook, Victor Boctor, Clark Roberts


CodeFlow exemplifies the efforts across Microsoft to continually innovate within the engineering system to support sound engineering practices with the highest efficiency. Specifically, the CodeFlow tool provides the Microsoft engineering community with a tool that facilitates and streamlines the code review process, which is critical to the delivery of high-quality software for a growing number teams in Microsoft. As of mid-fiscal year 2011 (FY11), CodeFlow has 11,459 unique users, and new teams are adopting it on a weekly basis. The adoption of CodeFlow has gone viral due to its design, which allows grass roots adoption and delivery as a service. With this model, infrastructure teams noticed how CodeFlow was successful and widely adopted in their teams, and they came to the CodeFlow team for formal adoption and integration work. As an additional acknowledgement of the value and quality of CodeFlow, it is being incorporated into the next generation of Microsoft developer products to enhance the experience for all developers in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Back (L to R): Kiran Doreswamy, Om Sharma, Jon Class. Front (L to R): John Lin, Mike Rowand, Akan Usoro

Dependency Based Builds

Exceptional developers have a deep understanding of their dependencies and use this information to “only build what they think will change.” Dependency Based Builds (DBB) enable every developer to reliably and optimally build what is needed. The Windows 8 DBB tracer passively observes file accesses from within the build.exe invocation. Each build process’s file IO is analyzed to ensure that its dependencies have been captured. Armed with this accurate and complete map of build dependencies, the team has implemented solutions that have improved the efficiency and productivity of a large fraction of Microsoft engineers.

Benefits include elimination of transient timing breaks, performance improvements through better scheduling of build tasks, more reliable partial builds, fast and robust incremental builds, simplification of source kit creation, and enabling the VS-IDE for Windows developers. DBB has been adopted by the Windows, Windows Live, and Exchange teams and has enabled significant improvements to both official builds and developer builds.


2011 Trustworthy Computing Award Winners

Our Trustworthy Computing Award winners have made a significant contribution to a TwC pillar, related technology innovation, increased customer and business value, or enhanced trust in Microsoft as a whole.

Back (L to R): Aaron Kornblum, Grace Molnar, Jason Ronald. Front (L to R): Michelle Bruno, Lyn Watts

Launching Kinect for Xbox 360: Privacy, Online Safety & Accessibility

All-Up Trustworthy Computing Award Winner

The launch of the Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor featured the application of core TwC principles across Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), including a Privacy-by-Design approach that ensured privacy was built into Kinect for Xbox 360 from the design stage, delivering unprecedented transparency and control and a powerful story articulately communicated to customers, partners, and government elites worldwide. A new Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack and robust Content Ratings Engagement and Compliance Program delivered richer controls to parents to help manage their family’s entertainment experiences both on the Xbox 360 console and with Xbox LIVE online services. Additionally, the new Kinect Accessibility virtual team (v-team) helped the product team focus on the needs of individuals who experience the world in different ways because of disabilities, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of both the product and associated services.

Back (L to R): Dean Hachamovitch, Andrew Zeigler, Zach Murphy. Front (L to R): Nirankush Panchbhai, Sebastien Zimmermann

Internet Explorer Tracking Protection

Trustworthy Computing Privacy Award Winner

Tracking Protection is the first feature in a major web browser that can effectively give users a choice about whether their web browsing is tracked from website to website. This is a compelling privacy protection that is only available on Windows. By adding a Tracking Protection List (TPL), consumers can filter tracking content in webpages and protect their privacy as they browse around the web. At the core of the feature is an open platform that allows anyone, including privacy advocates, advertisers, publishers, regulators, government agencies, and enthusiasts, to author TPLs. TPLs are a not just a Microsoft solution but also a potential industry-wide solution. By leading the web tracking privacy conversation in terms of actual technology and by working with standards bodies and regulators, Microsoft is enhancing the level of trust with many customers and with the public in general.

Back (L to R): Gerrit Swaneveld, Dennis Evseev, Jarred Bonaparte. Front (L to R): Firoz Dalal, Yongjun Wu

Hardware Codec Test Kits

Trustworthy Computing Reliability Award Winner

While engaged in the planning and development of Windows 7, Microsoft made the decision to allow independent hardware vendors (IHVs) to ship hardware-accelerated decoders and encoders (codecs) to aid in transcoding media files. The Media Platform Team developed a Hardware Codec Test Kit, suitable for shipping to IHVs, giving both Microsoft and IHVs the confidence that their components would meet Microsoft standards for reliability at launch and would provide Microsoft customers with a high-quality, end-user experience. Your team’s investment to improve the reliability of Microsoft products—and that of third-party products—is in direct support of Trustworthy Computing’s Reliability pillar.

(L to R): Lawrence Landauer, David Heise, Modesto Estrada

Gatekeeping for a secure future

Trustworthy Computing Security Award Winner

“Gatekeeping for a Secure Future” won by virtue of its impact in protecting a wide range of Microsoft customers and, as a direct result, its contribution to the trustworthiness of Microsoft products. Whatever advances Microsoft makes in terms of securing the platform, socially engineered attacks—often in the form of Office documents as email attachments or downloads—will always remain a threat. Office File Validation (“Gatekeeper”), due to its ease of use and its widespread availability—the feature’s value was felt to be so great that it was backported to Office 2003 and 2007—has had a very significant positive impact on Microsoft customers.

(L to R): Allen Wilson, Arnie Lund

Standardizing and Modeling Accessibility across Microsoft IT Solutions and Practice

Trustworthy Computing Business Practices Award Winner

For the first time, a Microsoft IT (MSIT) standard designed to ensure that every Microsoft IT application is accessible was created and is being implemented. It defines new roles and responsibilities, specifies process and deliverable changes, and builds accessibility into how MSIT does business. It was created by a cross-disciplinary and cross-organizational working group representing a wide range of stakeholders and interests and puts into place a practical road map for satisfying Microsoft TwC accessibility requirements and policies. A model of the costs and benefits was created to drive policy decisions on how best to manage the implementation and to increase the impact. A conservative estimate is that in five years the standard will be saving roughly 500,000 hours per year for Microsoft employees and roughly 2 million hours per year for external customers and Microsoft partners, and those benefits will grow year over year.