Top university students from mainland China and Taiwan gathered in Beijing for the 14th annual Microsoft Student Summer Camp.
From August 18 to 21, 2014, some 180 students descended on Microsoft’s Beijing West Campus for the fourteenth Microsoft Student Summer Camp. The students, representing more than 30 top universities in mainland China and Taiwan, were the latest group to benefit from this annual event, which has attracted more than 2,200 students since its inception. The theme of this year’s camp, Urban Dreamer, inspired the students to conceive of ambitious solutions that use the latest Microsoft technologies.
The camp commenced with a motivational session that focused on the many research possibilities for today’s computer scientists. Feng Zhao, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, highlighted Microsoft Research’s talent and programs, and then researchers from Microsoft Research Asia introduced their latest projects, many accompanied by compelling demos.
A student discusses a technical issue with Hong Tan, senior researcher, and Tim Pan, director, Microsoft Research Asia.
Program managers and engineers from Bing, Microsoft Azure, Kinect for Windows, and Windows Online Store were also present, interacting with the students and introducing them to cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence agents XiaoIce and Cortana, as well as Microsoft Azure, Kinect for Windows v2, and Surface Pro 3—tools that can help students who are pursuing technological innovations.
Students receive hands-on training in using the newest Surface Pro features.
The students then took part in a series of dialogs, panels, and roundtables, during which they discussed their personal goals and career aspirations. These forums gave students who are members of the Microsoft Technology Club an opportunity to talk with their managers about case studies and projects.
Research program managers discuss focus topics with the students.
Then it was time to focus on the camp’s theme: Urban Dreamer. Given a set of urban challenges to solve, the students were divided into 10 groups to brainstorm ideas on urban computing and develop solutions that use Microsoft technology. Team Various Solutions took honors for creating the best solution. Their proposed app uses Windows Phone technology to record electric usage throughout a community, ranking customers according to their average consumption. The app also lets collaborating partners offer discounts to energy conscious households. Thanks to this incentive mechanism, the app can help promote energy conservation.
The camp culminated with a stage presentation and demo show that allowed selected students to display their work to Microsoft employees, interns, and other students. All that remained after that was the farewell party, complete with a rousing group sing-along. Then we said our good-byes, but it was not a sad occasion, as we are confident that these talented students will benefit from this close interaction with leading researchers and exposure to the latest technologies.
Organizers and students sing together at the summer camp farewell party.
We’re inspired by the students’ enthusiasm to create a better future, evident in such comments as this, from Weizheng Xu of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, “The camp helped me see the world-changing power of technology and science. I hope one day that I can make outrageous ideas come true, and that together with my fellow dreamers, we can change the world!” That’s our wish, too, for all the students who made this year’s Student Summer Camp the best ever.
—Guobin Wu, Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Asia