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.

Researchers build nanoscale distributed DNA computing systems from artificial protocells

Living cells communicate with each other by sending and receiving molecular signals that diffuse between neighboring cells to activate key molecular processes. This communication enables cell populations to implement collective information processing functions that cannot be achieved by individual cells in isolation. Although synthetic biologists have made significant progress in engineering cell populations to perform computation, such engineering still remains a major challenge because of the complex interplay between synthetic devices and natural cellular processes.…

March 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

bacteria under a microscope

Scientists discover how bacteria use noise to survive stress

Mutations in the genome of an organism give rise to variations in its form and function—its phenotype. However, phenotypic variations can also arise in other ways. The random collisions of molecules constituting an organism—including its DNA and the proteins that transcribe the DNA to RNA—result in noisy gene expression that can lead to variations in behavior even in the absence of mutations. In a research paper published in Nature Communications, researchers at Microsoft Research and…

January 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

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 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants: Broadening the PhD pipeline to increase innovation

Research shows that diverse teams are more productive teams. Diversity, particularly in the area of computing research, means including unique perspectives that otherwise might not have a voice, fueling innovation. These are some of the key reasons that Microsoft is committed to diversity. One aspect of demonstrating that commitment is that, for the second year in a row, we are awarding Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants to talented PhD candidates from groups that are under-represented in…

June 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

From research idea to research-powered product: behind the scenes with Azure Sphere

At RSA Conference 2018, Microsoft announced Azure Sphere, previewing a unique new solution to help connect and secure the most populous category of computing today: the tens of billions of devices powered by microcontrollers (MCUs). Azure Sphere represents an opportunity for Microsoft and our partners to serve a new era of computing with securely connected devices at tremendous scale. Just as Microsoft brought affordable PCs to every desk, with Azure Sphere we aim to enable…

April 2018

Microsoft Research Blog

Machine Learning and the InnerEye for Cancer Treatment with Dr. Antonio Criminisi

Episode 13, February 21, 2018 – Today, Dr. Criminisi talks about Project InnerEye, an innovative machine learning tool that helps radiologists identify and analyze 3-D images of cancerous tumors. He also gives us some insight into his work on deep neural decision forests and tells us how gaming algorithms made their way into medical technology, moving from gamer to patient, and turning outside-in imaging… inside-out.

February 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

Scientists use machine learning to predict DNA binding rates from sequence

By Microsoft Research Lab – Cambridge and Department of Bioengineering, Rice University The binding of DNA strands by Watson-Crick base pairing is a fundamental process in biotechnology, which is used around the world for reading and writing DNA sequences and for assembling DNA nanostructures. Yet this process remains poorly understood, and there is still no way to accurately predict how quickly two DNA strands will bind. The binding rate of two complementary DNA strands can…

November 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

Researchers build nanoscale computational circuit boards with DNA

By Microsoft Research Human-engineered systems, from ancient irrigation networks to modern semiconductor circuitry, rely on spatial organization to guide the flow of materials and information. Living cells also use spatial organization to control and accelerate the transmission of molecular signals, for example by co-localizing the components of enzyme cascades and signaling networks. In a new paper published today by the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research describe a method…

July 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

NSF Big Data Innovation Hubs collaboration

NSF Big Data Innovation Hubs collaboration — looking back after one year

By Vani Mandava, Director, Data Science Significant technical advancements in cloud computing have led to lower infrastructure costs, making possible big storage and big computing. Big data technology, though, requires cross-discipline research within and beyond non-computing domains. This is where domain experts collaborate with computing teams, industry, and government agencies to discover new insights that may fundamentally change the way we think about science. The Big Data Innovation Hubs initiative, launched by the National Science…

June 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

From cancer to crop genomics — using Research as a Service at the intersection of computers and biology

By Kenji Takeda, Director, Azure for Research, AI and Research Ever since Nicola Bonzanni was a little boy playing in the tiny Italian village of Bonate Sotto, just north of Milan, he was fascinated by nature and by building things. As he grew up, he wondered how computing and nature might be intertwined. “While I was studying computer science I was inspired by nature in building new algorithms. But then I thought perhaps you could…

March 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

2017 Microsoft Research PhD scholarships support break-through projects in six countries

By Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft Research Since 2004, the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) has supported groundbreaking PhD projects. This year we have 17 projects that span six countries, and include research areas such as computational biology, machine learning, and health science. The winning PhD projects for the 2017-2018 school academic year were selected from 33 PhD supervisor-led proposals. These PhD supervisors will collaborate with an assigned…

January 2017

Microsoft Research Blog