Microsoft Research Blog

The Microsoft Research blog provides in-depth views and perspectives from our researchers, scientists and engineers, plus information about noteworthy events and conferences, scholarships, and fellowships designed for academic and scientific communities.

Most recent

  1. First TextWorld Problems, the competition: Using text-based games to advance capabilities of AI agents

    Public competitions often help to advance the state of the art in challenging research problems. They frame a question, provide relevant data, and define evaluation metrics so that researchers across the world can work toward a shared goal—and ultimately learn from each other’s advances. The TextWorld team at Microsoft Research Montreal proposed “First TextWorld Problems” (FTWP), a machine learning competition that ran from January 2019 to July 2019, to encourage research on machines that interact…

    August 21st, 2019

  2. Machine reading comprehension with Dr. T.J. Hazen

    Episode 86, August 21, 2019- The ability to read and understand unstructured text, and then answer questions about it, is a common skill among literate humans. But for machines? Not so much. At least not yet! And not if Dr. T.J. Hazen, Senior Principal Research Manager in the Engineering and Applied Research group at MSR Montreal, has a say. He’s spent much of his career working on machine speech and language understanding, and particularly, of…

    August 21st, 2019

  3. Who’s to blame? Debugging Internet performance for Azure users with BlameIt

    Microsoft Azure cloud hosts a wide variety of services, and Azure has hundreds of network edge locations worldwide across the globe’s six continents to host those services. The Azure locations host many interactive (latency-sensitive) services that cater to consumer and enterprise clients covering a broad set of products around productivity, search, communications, and storage. These Azure edge locations are the first stop in the Microsoft network that customers hit, and with edge locations spread out…

    August 15th, 2019

  4. Live video analytics and research as Test Cricket with Dr. Ganesh Ananthanarayanan

    Episode 85, August 14, 2019 - In an era of unprecedented advances in AI and machine learning, current gen systems and networks are being challenged by an unprecedented level of complexity and cost. Fortunately, Dr. Ganesh Ananthanarayanan, a researcher in the Mobility and Networking group at MSR, is up for a challenge. And, it seems, the more computationally intractable the better! A prolific researcher who’s interested in all aspects of systems and networking, he’s on…

    August 14th, 2019

  5. Project Malmo competition returns with student organizers and a new mission: To democratize reinforcement learning

    When I was asked about my favorite movie in a game with friends after my wedding ceremony, I replied Star Wars. That was about two decades ago, and, yes, it’s still the case. I especially like Return of the Jedi. The third installment in the original trilogy is almost perfect to me. Luke Skywalker returns to fight back against the Empire as a member of the Rebel Alliance with the help of his old friend…

    August 9th, 2019

  6. Optics for the Cloud Research Alliance establishes collaborative research approach to improving cloud technology

    The cloud is an enormous success story. Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud offering, was launched in 2010. It has grown by more than ten times in the past five years and is now operating in 54 regions around the world. Azure Chief Technology Officer, Mark Russinovich, asserts that “the fundamental disruption that the cloud is creating is based on instant access to compute and infinite storage” and thereby sets challenging targets for key cloud infrastructure…

    August 7th, 2019

  7. Beautiful data with Dr. Nathalie Riche

    Episode 84, August 7, 2019 - Dr. Nathalie Riche envisions a future in which all of our data will be accessible, meaningful, compelling and artistic. And as a researcher in human computer interaction and information visualization at Microsoft Research, she’s working on technical tools that will help us wrangle our data, extract knowledge from it, and communicate with it in a memorable, persuasive and aesthetically pleasing way. In other words, she wants our data to…

    August 7th, 2019

  8. New Microsoft fellowship program empowers faculty research through Azure cloud computing

    Microsoft is expanding its support for academic researchers through the new Microsoft Investigator Fellowship. This fellowship is designed to empower researchers of all disciplines who plan to make an impact with research and teaching using the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform. From predicting traffic jams to advancing the Internet of Things, Azure has continued to evolve with the times, and this fellowship aims to keep Azure at the forefront of new ideas in the cloud…

    August 1st, 2019

  9. Analyzing ambiguity and word embeddings by probing semantic classes

    Word embeddings have had a big impact on many applications in natural language processing (NLP) and information retrieval. It is, therefore, crucial to open the blackbox and understand their meaning representation. We propose probing tasks for analyzing the meaning representation in word embeddings. Our tasks are classification based with word embeddings as the only input. We use semantic classes such as “food,” “organization,” and “animal” to define word senses and annotate words with them. By…

    July 26th, 2019

  10. Bringing the power of machine reading comprehension to specialized documents

    With the advent of AI assistants, initially developed for structured databases and manually curated knowledge graphs, answers to the types of basic fact-based questions people encounter during the course of regular conversation became keystrokes or a verbal cue away. What film won the Academy Award for best picture in 1998? (Titanic.) What’s the weather going to be like today? (Likely around 80° and sunny if you’re on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.) What was…

    July 25th, 2019

  11. The KnowRef Coreference Corpus: a resource for training and evaluating common sense in AI

      AI has made major strides in the last decade, from beating the world champion of Go, to learning how to program, to telling fantastical short stories. However, a basic human trait continues to elude machines: common sense. Common sense is a big term with plenty of baggage, but it typically includes shared background knowledge (I know certain facts about the world, like "the sky is blue," and I know that you know them too),…

    July 23rd, 2019

  12. SIGIR 2019 Conference: Research leads to more efficient information access, management, and retrieval

    Microsoft researchers are delving beyond the boundaries of information retrieval to optimize how we access and manage information in different areas. Not only are they advancing the realm most synonymous with information retrieval, search engines, but they are also researching new information access processes, utilizing machine learning in email intent identification and task management applications. In these latter areas, one goal is to directly improve how an individual’s time is spent when interacting with information,…

    July 22nd, 2019