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.

  1. Envisioning privacy preserving image-based localization for augmented reality

    New camera localization technology for sensitive environments can keep images and map data confidential Advances in augmented reality (AR) and mobile robotics promise to revolutionize how we see and interact with our physical world in the future. Today, AR and mixed reality (MR) devices, in both smart phone or eyeglass form factors, superimpose digital content relating to the world around us. To accomplish this, MR devices need to know their precise location in relation to…

    June 13th, 2019

  2. HELP! Training assistive indoor agents to ask for assistance via imitation learning

    Today people use personal digital assistants for help with scheduling, playing music, turning on or adjusting other devices, and answering basic questions such as “What time’s the game on?” or “Where’s the nearest hardware store?” But what if these assistants could do more to help us in our daily lives? Imagine it’s 10 p.m., and you’ve just settled in for some much-needed sleep when you’re jolted awake by a single thought: Did I leave the…

    June 12th, 2019

  3. All Data AI with Dr. Andrew Fitzgibbon

    Episode 80, June 12, 2019 - You may not know who Dr. Andrew Fitzgibbon is, but if you’ve watched a TV show or movie in the last two decades, you’ve probably seen some of his work. An expert in 3D computer vision and graphics, and head of the new All Data AI group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, Dr. Fitzgibbon was instrumental in the development of Boujou, an Emmy Award-winning 3D camera tracker that lets filmmakers…

    June 12th, 2019

  4. 2019 Dissertation Grant recipients embarking on diverse paths to scientific and societal impact

    I’m pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants. Each dissertation grant provides up to $25,000 in funding to doctoral students at North American universities who are underrepresented in the field of computing. This is the third year Microsoft Research has offered these research grants, and it was the most competitive one yet. Microsoft Research scientists with an expertise in the students’ topic areas reviewed the more than 200 proposals submitted…

    June 11th, 2019

  5. Exploring job search trends in Canada with search query data: A collaboration with Bank of Canada

    Microsoft Research has teamed up with economists at Bank of Canada to launch an interactive tool for exploring online job search trends in the country. The tool, based on a classification process derived from previous research on how job searches align with socio-demographic data in the United States, allows users to examine which Canadian census divisions are searching for what types of jobs via an interactive map. The tool is available on the Microsoft Research…

    June 7th, 2019

  6. Reliability in Reinforcement Learning

    Reinforcement Learning (RL), much like scaling a 3,000-foot rock face, is about learning to make sequential decisions. The list of potential RL applications is expansive, spanning robotics (drone control), dialogue systems (personal assistants, automated call centers), the game industry (non-player characters, computer AI), treatment design (pharmaceutical tests, crop management), complex systems control (for resource allocation, flow optimization), and so on. Some RL achievements are quite compelling. For example, Stanford University’s RL team learned how to…

    June 6th, 2019

  7. A phonetic matching made inˈhɛvən

    Recently, Microsoft Research Montréal open sourced a phonetic matching component used previously in Maluuba Inc.'s natural language understanding platform. The library contains string comparison utilities that operate on a phoneme level as opposed to a character level. This allows upstream systems to utilize personalized and contextual information that the Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems may not have access to, in order to correct the ASR. This post will shed light on what phonetic matching is…

    June 6th, 2019

  8. Making the most of micro-moments with Dr. Shamsi Iqbal

    Episode 79, June 5, 2019- If you’ve recently found it more difficult to focus your attention for a lengthy stretch of time in order to get a complex task done… or worse, found it difficult even to find a lengthy stretch of time in which to try, you’re not alone. And actually, you’re in luck. Dr. Shamsi Iqbal, a senior researcher in the Information and Data Sciences group at Microsoft Research, wants to help you…

    June 5th, 2019

  9. Provably efficient reinforcement learning with rich observations

    Reinforcement learning, a machine learning paradigm for sequential decision making, has stormed into the limelight, receiving tremendous attention from both researchers and practitioners. When combined with deep learning, reinforcement learning (RL) has produced impressive empirical results, but the successes to date are limited to simulation scenarios in which data is cheap, primarily because modern "deep RL" algorithms are extremely data hungry. In “Provably Efficient RL with Rich Observations via Latent State Decoding”, Microsoft Research PhD…

    June 3rd, 2019

  10. Researchers work to secure Azure Blockchain smart contracts with formal verification

    In its young existence, the tamperproof and distributed ledger technology blockchain has already generated a lot of buzz and is being seen as disruptive, influencing approaches in such diverse areas as financial services, supply chains, and governance. To say its future is bright might be an understatement. According to Gartner, the technology is positioned to bring an added business value upward of $360 billion by 2026. One of the key drivers making blockchain-based applications programmable,…

    June 3rd, 2019

  11. What’s in a name? Using Bias to Fight Bias in Occupational Classification

    Bias in AI is a big problem. In particular, AI can compound the effects of existing societal biases: in a recruiting tool, if more men than women are software engineers, AI is likely to use that data to identify job applicants and overscreen for men, creating a vicious circle of bias. Indeed, Amazon recently scrapped its AI recruiting engine project for that reason. Now that AI is increasingly used in high-impact applications, such as criminal…

    May 31st, 2019

  12. Fashion forward: Researchers, designers debut new tech on New York City runway

    In his work in visual merchandising, designer Kenroy Tyrell has used LED lights in displays for trade shows and showrooms. But on this particular day, he found himself using the technology in a way he never anticipated—as part of a garment he had created. Tyrell was one of 20 participants in the Brooklyn Public Library’s BKLYN Fashion Academy, a program geared toward exposing designers to the entrepreneurial side of the industry as they design collections.…

    May 30th, 2019