First ever Microsoft Research Summit explores science and technology aimed at big challenges


By , Vice President, Distinguished Scientist & Managing Director, Microsoft Research Outreach

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For 30 years, Microsoft Research has brought together great minds from around the world to take on the biggest research challenges facing society. As we enter our fourth decade, the need for collaborative research—and the opportunities it presents—have never been greater.

That’s why we’re so thrilled about the inaugural Microsoft Research Summit, October 19–21. It’s a virtual assembly of the global science and technology community, featuring world-leading researchers and engineers from academia, industry, and Microsoft, who share our commitment to solving big problems through empowered experiences and digital transformation. The Summit is open to everyone, and we invite you to register to attend.

Fittingly, the idea itself was inspired in part by a major global challenge—the pandemic—which has forced us all to reimagine how we come together to share ideas. Working with people across Microsoft and our partners, we chose a global virtual format, with content available across different time zones. This allows more people to participate, both as contributors and attendees.

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The three-day event will offer more than 150 sessions—executive keynotes, presentations, panel discussions, demos and workshops—exploring the latest research aimed at advancing science and technology that drives meaningful benefits for people everywhere. Attendees will learn what lies ahead in areas like machine learning, cloud computing, societal resilience, carbon reduction, privacy and security, health and life sciences, and the future of work.

A complete list of content covered in the 16 summit tracks and 13 workshops can be found here.  

Our speaker lineup consists of more than 300 researchers, engineers, academics and industry experts, including two Nobel laureates and winners of National Academy awards. Other luminaries include chief technology officers, executives and research leads from major businesses, government regulators and commissioners. And we’ll have contributions from a broad range of Microsoft leaders, including our Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott.

I’m personally excited to participate in the summit, not only as a presenter, but also as an audience member. It’s a great opportunity for people at Microsoft and the Microsoft Research community to learn from such a distinguished and diverse group.  

Many speakers will also conduct live Q&A sessions throughout the event. We’re hoping these conversations lead to ongoing engagement and new collaborations that cross traditional boundaries, bringing new energy and ideas to help address the global challenges we aspire to solve. 

For complete details, and to register to attend, check out the Microsoft Research Summit website. We hope you can join us in your preferred time zone.

Asia Time Zone EMEA Time Zone Pacific Time Zone
11:00:00 AM CST 10:00:00 AM BST 9:00:00 AM PDT

Some noteworthy external speakers include: 

  • John Abowd, Associate Director for Research and Methodology, and Chief Scientist, U.S. Census Bureau 
  • Danqi Chen, Assistant Professor, Princeton University 
  • Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of Mila and Professor at Universite de Montreal 
  • Xin Peng, Professor and Deputy Dean, School of Computer Science, Fudan University, China 
  • Oege de Moor, VP GitHub Next, GitHub 
  • Chengming Gu, Vice President, Sanofi 
  • Anne Aerts, Head of Novartis Foundation 
  • Kathleen Carley, Professor of Societal Computing, Carnegie Mellon University 
  • Joelle Pineau, Managing Director Facebook AI Research and Associate Professor, McGill University 
  • Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All 
  • Zhu Liu, Associate Professor Tsinghua University 
  • Andre Fuetsch, EVP and CTO AT&T Services 
  • Teddy Bekele, SVP, CTO, Land O’Lakes
  • Ellen de Brabander, SVP R&D, PepsiCo
  • Susan McCouch, Professor, Cornell University
  • Margaret Mitchell, CEO & Research Scientist, Ethical AI LLC 
  • Charles Isbell, Dean of Computing and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair, Georgia Institiute of Technology 
  • Kristen Grauman, Professor, University of Texas at Austin 
  • Olya Ohrimenko, Senior Lecturer, The University of Melbourne 
  • Raed Mansour, Director of Innovation, Chicago Department of Public Health 

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