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. ACM announces creation of Chuck Thacker Breakthrough in Computing Award

    ACM – the Association for Computing Machinery – has created a new major award to honor 2009 A.M. Turing Laureate Charles P. “Chuck” Thacker. The award honors Thacker’s pioneering contributions to computing, considered by the community to have propelled the world in the early 1970s from a visionary idea to the reality of modern personal computing, providing people with an early glimpse of how computing would deeply influence us all. The award also celebrates Thacker’s…

    July 18th, 2018

  2. Building a global AI supercomputer – The 2018 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit

    We live in the age of the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud. Data is collected at the edge using billions of small devices. The data is pre-processed at the edge and shipped in a filtered and aggregated form to the cloud. In the cloud, the data is analyzed and used to train models which are in turn deployed at both the edge and in the cloud to make decisions. This way, computing and AI are…

    July 18th, 2018

  3. Machine Learning for fair decisions

    Over the past decade, machine learning systems have begun to play a key role in many high-stakes decisions: Who is interviewed for a job? Who is approved for a bank loan? Who receives parole? Who is admitted to a school? Human decision makers are susceptible to many forms of prejudice and bias, such as those rooted in gender and racial stereotypes. One might hope that machines would be able to make decisions more fairly than…

    July 17th, 2018

  4. New perspectives on contextual bandit

    What is the common denominator between the following situations: a doctor choosing among different drugs for a sequence of patients; a website selecting ads for its visitors based on the information it has about them; and a travel agency making recommendations to its customers for their next vacation? All can be viewed as instances of an abstract mathematical problem known as contextual multi-armed bandit. In the last decade, this problem has been a focus of…

    July 13th, 2018

  5. TextWorld: A learning environment for training reinforcement learning agents, inspired by text-based games

    Today, fresh out of the Microsoft Research Montreal lab, comes an open-source project called TextWorld. TextWorld is an extensible Python framework for generating text-based games. Reinforcement learning researchers can use TextWorld to train and test AI agents in skills such as language understanding, affordance extraction, memory and planning, exploration and more. Researchers can study these in the context of generalization and transfer learning. TextWorld further runs existing text-based games, like the legendary Zork, for evaluating…

    July 12th, 2018

  6. Helping proteomics scientists share peptide data: Azure does the heavy lifting

    Scientific research breakthroughs are often achieved when many different scientists, in different labs and organizations, work together on a single task. That happened at the turn of the 21st century with the Human Genome Project, where human DNA was mapped for future reference and is now key to many breakthroughs in medicine. This is happening again, with a similarly visionary effort: the Human Proteome Project (HUPO), which is cataloging all 20,000 human proteins, such as…

    July 11th, 2018

  7. The story of an Office AI feature: How AI can promote efficient meeting preparation

    Adam Troy had an idea. He was spending so much time searching through old emails and attachments to prepare for meetings: Could AI help him be better prepared for meetings? Could machine learning automatically identify the most relevant emails and documents he needed for his meetings? Troy, who works on a team that incubates projects that infuse AI into Office, built an early prototype application to see. At the same time, Paul Bennett’s Information and…

    July 10th, 2018

  8. In between the lines: Broadening access to web search by understanding the needs of people with dyslexia

    People with dyslexia perceive the world in different ways when it comes to the arrangement of letters and words on paper – or, these days, on web pages. Indeed, so much of modern life and accessibility to the information that enables us to participate in it depends on our ability to perceive and process online written content – such as search results and the web pages they represent – that people who don’t have dyslexia…

    July 9th, 2018

  9. Adversarial and reinforcement learning-based approaches to information retrieval

    Traditionally, machine learning based approaches to information retrieval have taken the form of supervised learning-to-rank models. Recent advances in other machine learning approaches—such as adversarial learning and reinforcement learning—should find interesting new applications in future retrieval systems. At Microsoft AI & Research, we have been exploring some of these methods in the context of web search. We will share some of our recent work in this area at SIGIR 2018. This post briefly describes what…

    July 9th, 2018

  10. Democratizing APIs with Natural Language Interfaces

    Benefiting from a confluence of factors, such as service-oriented architecture, cloud computing, and Internet-of-Things (IoT), application program interfaces – APIs – are playing an increasingly important role in both the virtual and the physical world. For example, web services, such as those featuring weather, sports, and finance, hosted in the cloud provide data and services to end users via web APIs and IoT devices expose their functionalities via APIs to other devices on the network.…

    July 2nd, 2018

  11. Examining the social impacts of artificial intelligence with Dr. Fernando Diaz

    Episode 30, June 27, 2018 - Dr. Diaz shares his insights on the kinds of questions we need to be asking about artificial intelligence and its impact on society. He also talks about how algorithms can affect your taste in music, and why now, more than ever, computer science education needs to teach ethics along with algorithms.

    June 27th, 2018

  12. Probabilistic predicates to accelerate inference queries

    Imagine having to narrow down a video of passing vehicles captured on a traffic camera to red SUVs that are exceeding the speed limit. Such queries over images, videos and text are an increasingly common use-case for data analytics platforms. A query to identify in-a-hurry red SUVs has to execute several machine learning modules on the video, for example, to detect parts of a video frame that contain vehicles, to classify the vehicles by type…

    June 25th, 2018