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Microsoft Research gives promising computer science faculty a boost

June 11, 2013 | By Microsoft blog editor

The time for new faculty members to take risks in research is early in their careers. However, early-career realities often get in the way. As any tenure-track academic knows, the first few years of one’s career can be a seemingly endless process of writing grant proposals. The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowships liberate promising young researchers from this task, allowing them the freedom to conduct research to advance computer science in bold new directions with minimal distractions.

Meet the winners of the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowships

Each year since 2005, we’ve awarded the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowships to innovative and exceptionally talented, early-career faculty members from a variety of research institutions. The recently announced 2013 fellowships continue this tradition of supporting the brightest young academics in the field of computer science to pursue their visions and make an impact—a tangible manifestation of our commitment to collaborating with the scholarly community to use computing to solve global problems.

The seven 2013 Faculty Fellows were selected from four regions: (1) Latin America and the Caribbean; (2) Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; (3) the United States and Canada; and (4) Australia and New Zealand. All seven fellows are pursuing breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help alleviate some of today’s most challenging problems. For example:

  • Michael Schapira, a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is conducting research to design practical Internet protocols that will improve web performance and security by providing “provable guarantees” for such attributes as routing and traffic management.
  • Animashree Anandkumar, assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, is applying large-scale machine learning and high-dimensional statistics to various problems in social networking and computational biology.
  • Monica Tentori, assistant professor at Mexico’s Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE), is researching human-computer interactions and ubiquitous computing, particularly on the design, development, and evaluation of natural user interfaces and self-reflection capture tools—work that helps support the needs of urban residents, hospital workers, and the elderly.

Joining Michael, Animashree, and Monica are:

  • Ryan Williams, assistant professor at Stanford University, whose research focuses on constructing algorithms that solve computational problems more efficiently
  • Ruslan Salakhutdinov, assistant professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, whose interests lie in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and large-scale optimization.
  • Katrina Ligett, assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, who is developing theoretical tools to address problems in data privacy and to understand individual incentives in complex settings
  • Michael Milford, senior lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, whose research seeks to understand how robots and biological systems map and navigate the world

With these awards, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship program now has provided support to 59 academic investigators whose exceptional talent for research and innovation in computer science identifies them as emerging leaders in their fields. As the computer industry’s leading research laboratory, we are committed to creating opportunities for researchers around the world to make an impact, and we are delighted to provide fellowships to advance the work of promising young faculty members.

Jaime Puente, Director, Chair of Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program, Microsoft Research Connections

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