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.

Thinking outside-of-the-black-box of machine learning on the long quest to perfecting automatic speech recognition

Speech recognition is something we humans do remarkably well, which includes our ability to understand speech even in noisy multi-talker environments. While our natural sophistication at this is something we take for granted, speech recognition researchers continue to pursue refinements and improvements on the frontiers of the research space of automatic speech recognition. Significant technological progress that has been made over decades has shaped automatic speech recognition technology into its current form, which is already…

August 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Customized neural machine translation with Microsoft Translator

Released in preview this week at Build 2018, the new Microsoft Translator custom feature lets users customize neural machine translation systems. These customizations can be applied to both text and speech translation workflows. Microsoft Translator released neural machine translation (NMT) in 2016. NMT provided major advances in translation quality over the then industry-standard statistical machine translation (SMT) technology. Because NMT better captures the context of full sentences before translating them, it provides higher quality, more…

May 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Platform for Situational Intelligence

Platform for Situated Intelligence: Tools and Framework for Multimodal Interaction Research

Over the last decade, advances in machine learning coupled with the availability of large amounts of data have led to significant progress on long-standing AI challenges. In domains like computer vision, speech recognition, machine translation and image captioning, machines have reached and sometimes even exceeded human performance levels on specific problem sets. However, building end-to-end, multimodal interactive systems that bring together multiple AI technologies and interact with people in the open world remains an important…

April 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Image of soundwaves

Microsoft researchers achieve new conversational speech recognition milestone

Last year, Microsoft’s speech and dialog research group announced a milestone in reaching human parity on the Switchboard conversational speech recognition task, meaning we had created technology that recognized words in a conversation as well as professional human transcribers. After our transcription system reached the 5.9 percent word error rate that we had measured for humans, other researchers conducted their own study, employing a more involved multi-transcriber process, which yielded a 5.1 human parity word…

August 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft NLP researchers converge at ACL 2016, edging ever closer to human-like conversational experiences

By Bill Dolan, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research This year, the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) will be held in Berlin, Germany, August 7-12, 2016, at Humboldt University. ACL is the premier conference on natural language processing (NLP) systems and computational linguistics. As a Gold sponsor, Microsoft is proud to have more than 20 researchers attending and presenting at ACL. Along with my colleagues in the Natural Language Processing and Speech group,…

August 2016

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Research Faculty Summit opens

By Harold Javid, General Chair, Faculty Summit Microsoft Research’s annual Faculty Summit opened Wednesday with a series of talks about how technological innovation can benefit both business and society. In a fireside chat with Jeannette M. Wing, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of the company’s basic research labs, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella underscored the key role Microsoft Research (MSR) plays in continuing to deliver breakthroughs capable of making big impacts across multiple industries. Nadella’s “Microsoft Vision”…

July 2016

Microsoft Research Blog

Contest finalists use Microsoft Azure to discover the beauty of programming

By Guobin Wu, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Asia What does it take to make it to the “decisive round for the finest few” in the Beauty of Programming Contest 2016? Earlier this year, 60 young experts gathered at the Microsoft Shanghai campus to find out. The Beauty of Programming Contest (BoP) 2016, with the theme “Intelligent Cloud,” was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Education of China, Microsoft, and IEEE. This year’s event…

June 2016

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft improves programming flexibility of its AI toolkit

By Chris Basoglu, Partner Engineering Manager, Microsoft Technology and Research Earlier this year, Microsoft made its open source Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK), a tool used to speed up advances in artificial intelligence, available on GitHub. Today, with CNTK 1.5, we are adding significant language enhancements, an expanded toolbox of features, and improved readers for text and speech. One of CNTK’s advantages is its ability to scale efficiently across multiple GPUs and machines. CNTK 1.5 introduces…

June 2016

Microsoft Research Blog

Deng receives prestigious IEEE Technical Achievement Award

By George Thomas Jr., Writer, Microsoft Adding to an already lengthy list of accolades, Li Deng, partner research manager in Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. lab, has received the 2015 IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to deep learning and to automatic speech recognition. The award honors a person, who over a period of years, has made outstanding technical contributions to theory and/or practice in the technical areas within the scope of society,…

December 2015

Microsoft Research Blog

At Microsoft Research Asia, artificial intelligence is informing, and informed by, the human experience

Posted by Allison Linn When most people use automated speech recognition technology today, it’s because they have a task that needs to get done: A person to call, directions to get, a quick text to send. In China, millions of people are using this type of natural language processing in a much more human way: To carry on a casual conversation with a Microsoft technology called XiaoIce. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president in charge of…

November 2015

Microsoft Research Blog

Making machines speak like people

In the 1999 American film Bicentennial Man, the late Robin Williams played a robot who strives to achieve the physical, social and legal status of a human being. The character’s growing language capabilities—his capacity to communicate fluently with his human family—proved crucial in his quest. But long before Williams donned his robot suit, people were dreaming about talking with machines naturally, conversing with them as they would with another person. Earlier this year, Microsoft Korea…

August 2015

Microsoft Research Blog

Exposing young people to linguistics

How did you do in your high school linguistics courses? What? Your high school didn’t offer any linguistics classes? Well, you’re not alone; it’s difficult to find any secondary school in the world that formally teaches linguistics. As a scientist, I find that unfortunate. It means that countless bright, inquisitive young people are never exposed to the scientific study of language, a subject that is both immensely important and intellectually satisfying. Analyzing the logical structure…

June 2015

Microsoft Research Blog