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.

Less pain, more gain: A simple method for VAE training with less of that KL-vanishing agony

There is a growing interest in exploring the use of variational auto-encoders (VAE), a deep latent variable model, for text generation. Compared to the standard RNN-based language model that generates sentences one word at a time without the explicit guidance of a global sentence representation, VAE is designed to learn a probabilistic representation of global language features such as topic, sentiment or language style, and makes the text generation more controllable. For example, VAE can…

April 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Holograms, spatial anchors and the future of computer vision with Dr. Marc Pollefeys

On today’s podcast, Dr. Pollefeys brings us up to speed on the latest in computer vision research, including his innovative work with Azure Spatial Anchors, tells us how devices like Kinect and HoloLens may have cut their teeth in gaming, but turned out to be game changers for both research and industrial applications, and explains how, while it’s still early days now, in the future, you’re much more likely to put your computer on your…

April 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Rapidly enabling autonomy at scale with simulation

Autonomous Systems have attracted a lot of attention as they promise to improve efficiency, reduce cost and most importantly take on tasks that are too dangerous for humans. However, building a real-world autonomous system that would operate safely at scale is a very difficult task. For example, the first self-sufficient autonomous cars were demonstrated by Carnegie Mellon University’s Navigation Laboratory in the 1980s and while there has been great progress, achieving safe and reliable autonomy…

April 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Advancing Human-Centered AI

We’re excited about the formal launch of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) on Monday, March 18th. We resonate with Fei-Fei Li, John Etchemendy, and other leaders at Stanford on the promise of taking an interdisciplinary approach to AI, on a pathway guided by insights about human intelligence, and one that carefully considers the goals and needs of people and society. Microsoft Research is enthusiastic about partnering with Stanford University on a shared…

March 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Winners announced in multi-agent reinforcement learning challenge

In Learning to Play: The Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning in MalmÖ (MARLÖ) Competition, we invited programmers into this digital world to help tackle multi-agent reinforcement learning. This challenge, the second competition using the Project Malmo platform, tasked participants with designing learning agents capable of collaborating with or competing against other agents to complete tasks across three different games within Minecraft.

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Give your dissertation a boost with a grant from Microsoft Research

Need funding to clear a hurdle in the final stages of your dissertation research? Microsoft Research is offering grants of up to US $25,000 to help a select group of doctoral students cross the finish line and enter the workforce. The Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant is for PhD students at U.S. and Canadian universities from underrepresented groups in computing, including women, African-Americans/Blacks, Latinos, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders and/or people with disabilities. The program…

February 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

The women who inspire women to pursue careers in STEM

Halfway through college, I had an identity crisis. Spring was in the air in Hanover, New Hampshire, and my classmates were gearing up for Dartmouth’s famed Sophomore Summer term. Most of them would spend much of this term tubing down the Connecticut River, or hiking, or cycling to Dartmouth’s organic farm. But not me. Something was missing from my intellectual life. I was an English major and loved what I was learning, but felt I…

February 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Improving AI Systems with Human Feedback and no Heartburn

Humans play an indispensable role in many modern AI-enabled services – not just as consumers of the service, but as the actual intelligence behind the artificial intelligence. From news portals to e-commerce websites, it is people’s ratings, clicks, and other interactions which provide a teaching signal used by the underlying intelligent systems to learn. While these human-in-the-loop systems improve through user interaction over time, they must also provide enough short-term benefit to people to be…

February 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Computer science researchers discuss the future of AI at Academic Research Summit in India

Leading computer science researchers from India and around the world gather this week in Hyderabad at the Academic Research Summit 2018 to discuss their vision for the future of artificial intelligence and how India-based computer science researchers can help turn that vision into reality. The Academic Research Summit provides the Indian research community with a common platform to come together and foster collaboration on cutting-edge research. Microsoft Research and the Association for Computing Machinery are…

January 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Life at the Intersection of AI and Society with Dr. Ece Kamar

Episode 9, January 24, 2018 – As the reality of artificial intelligence continues to capture our imagination, and critical AI systems enter our world at a rapid pace, Dr. Ece Kamar, a senior researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research, is working to help us understand AI’s far-reaching implications, both as we use it, and as we build it.

January 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Class of 2018-19 PhD fellows to push frontiers of AI

Class of 2018-19 PhD fellows to push frontiers of AI By Sandy Blyth A graduate student working on technology that leverages human brain signals to accelerate robot learning and another student who is developing models of human conversations that capture what is explicitly communicated and implicitly conveyed are among the diverse group of ten fellows accepted to the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program for the 2018-2019 academic year, Microsoft’s research organization announced on Tuesday. “These…

January 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Pix before and after panoramic photo of Miners Landing

New Microsoft Pix features let you take bigger, wider pictures and turns your videos into comics

Microsoft has released two new features with today’s update to Microsoft Pix for iOS, an app powered by a suite of intelligent algorithms developed by Microsoft researchers to take the guesswork out of getting beautiful photos and videos. The first of these features, Photosynth, helps create photos that take in more of the perspective or scene you are standing in front of, whether it is wide, tall, or both. It does this by allowing you…

December 2017

Microsoft Research Blog