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.

Predicting the ‘holy grail’ of climate forecasting: A new model and a new public dataset

It was crunch time, just as it had been many times before in the preceding weeks. Such is the nature of real-time competition. The yearlong Subseasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo was being sponsored by the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and teams were tasked with predicting temperature and precipitation in the Western United States for two time spans—two to four weeks out and four to six weeks out. Teams were required…

March 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Email overload: Using machine learning to manage messages, commitments

As email continues to be not only an important means of communication but also an official record of information and a tool for managing tasks, schedules, and collaborations, making sense of everything moving in and out of our inboxes will only get more difficult. The good news is there’s a method to the madness of staying on top of your email, and Microsoft researchers are drawing on this behavior to create tools to support users.

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Launching a new round of projects in the Swiss JRC – Research with impact

January 31, 2019 marked the start of the sixth workshop for the Swiss Joint Research Center (Swiss JRC), an innovative and successful collaborative research engagement between Microsoft Research and the two universities that make up the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology—ETH Zurich (ETH) and EPFL. The Swiss JRC is a continuation of an outstanding collaborative engagement that began back in 2008, with these two world-class institutions. Microsoft recently further committed to this engagement by ensuring…

February 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Research to present latest findings on fairness in socio-technical systems at FAT* 2019

Researchers from Microsoft Research will present a series of studies and insights relating to fairness in machine learning systems and allocations at the FAT* Conference—the new flagship conference for fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems—to be held from January 29–31 in Atlanta, Georgia. Presented across four papers and covering a broad spectrum of domains, the research is a reflection of the resolute commitment Microsoft Research has made to fairness in automated systems that shape…

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog


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