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.

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Cracking code-mixing — an important step in making human-computer interaction more engaging

Communication is a large part of who we are as human beings, and today, technology has allowed us to communicate in new ways and to audiences much larger and wider than ever before. That technology has assumed single-language speech, which — quite often — does not reflect the way people naturally speak. India, like many other parts of the world, is multilingual on a societal level with most people speaking two or more languages. I…

November 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

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 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

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 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Rapid Adaptation and Metalearning with Conditionally Shifted Neurons

The Machine Comprehension team at MSR-Montreal recently developed a neural mechanism for metalearning that we call conditionally shifted neurons. Conditionally shifted neurons (CSNs) adapt their activation values rapidly to new data to help neural networks solve new tasks. They do this with task-specific, additive shifts retrieved from a key-value memory module populated from just a few examples. Intuitively, the process is as follows: first, the model stores shift vectors that correspond to demonstrated class labels…

May 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

HEARING IS BELIEVING – Researchers’ innovation provides a richer web-browsing experience for people who are blind

Imagine for a moment that you are blind and are navigating the web using a screen reader to hear websites rather than see them. Imagine that the article you have navigated to includes images. To understand the content and significance, you are relying on your screen reader to narrate the alt text associated with each image, a textual description that should be provided by the web page author. Now imagine sitting there and hearing the…

April 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

SwiftKey 7.0: A big change under a small ‘+’

Last week’s rollout of SwiftKey 7.0 is the intelligent keyboard app’s biggest update since joining Microsoft in April 2016. Available on both Android and iOS, SwiftKey 7.0 debuts Toolbar, an expandable menu found under a new ‘+’ sign on the left of your prediction bar that gives you fast and easy access to both new and existing features. For Android users, Toolbar will replace the existing Hub. Tapping on the ‘+’ will reveal not only…

March 2018

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

Getting LinkedIn to Data Science with Dr. Igor Perisic

Episode 11, February 7, 2018 – Big data is a big deal, and if you follow the popular technical press, you’ll have heard all the metaphors: data is the new oil, the new bacon, the new currency, the new electricity. It’s even been called the new black. While data may not actually be any of these things, we can say this: in today’s networked world, data is increasingly valuable, and it is essential to research,…

February 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Neural Program Synthesis and the Quest to Democratize Programming with Dr. Rishabh Singh

Episode 10, January 31, 2018 – We can program computers to do almost anything. But what about programming computers to… program computers? That’s a task that Dr. Rishabh Singh, and the team in the Cognition group at Microsoft Research, are tackling with Neural Program Synthesis, also known as artificial programming.

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