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. Learning to teach: Mutually enhanced learning and teaching for artificial intelligence

    Teaching is super important. From an individual perspective, a student learning on his or her own is never ideal; a student needs a teacher's guidance and perspective to be more effectively educated. Taking the societal perspective, teaching enables civilization to be passed on to the next generation. Human teachers have three concrete responsibilities: providing students with qualified teaching material (for example, textbooks); defining the appropriate skill set to be mastered by the students (for example,…

    December 5th, 2018

  2. Chasing convex bodies and other random topics with Dr. Sébastien Bubeck

    Episode 53, December 5, 2018 - Dr. Sébastien Bubeck explains the difficulty of the multi-armed bandit problem in the context of a parameter- and data-rich online world. He also discusses a host of topics from randomness and convex optimization to metrical task systems and log n competitiveness to the surprising connection between Gaussian kernels and what he calls some of the most beautiful objects in mathematics.

    December 5th, 2018

  3. Unlikely research area reveals surprising twist in non-smooth optimization

    Modern machine learning is characterized by two key features: high-dimensional models and very large datasets. Each of these features presents its own unique challenges, from basic issues such as storing and accessing all of the data to more intricate mathematical quests such as finding good algorithms to search through the high-dimensional space of models. In our recent work, which we’re happy to announce received a best paper award at this year’s Conference on Neural Information…

    December 4th, 2018

  4. Getting into a conversational groove: New approach encourages risk-taking in data-driven neural modeling

    Microsoft Research’s Natural Language Processing group has set an ambitious goal for itself: to create a neural model that can engage in the full scope of conversational capabilities, providing answers to requests while also bringing the value of additional information relevant to the exchange and—in doing so—sustaining and encouraging further conversation. Take the act of renting a car at the airport, for example. Across from you at the counter is the company representative, entering your…

    December 3rd, 2018

  5. The Microsoft Simple Encrypted Arithmetic Library goes open source

    Today we are extremely excited to announce that our Microsoft Simple Encrypted Arithmetic Library (Microsoft SEAL), an easy-to-use homomorphic encryption library developed by researchers in the Cryptography Research group at Microsoft, is open source on GitHub under an MIT License for free use. The library has already been adopted by Intel to implement the underlying cryptography functions in HE-Transformer, the homomorphic encryption back end to its neural network compiler nGraph. As we increasingly move our…

    December 3rd, 2018

  6. ReDial: Recommendation dialogs for bridging the gap between chit-chat and goal-oriented chatbots

    Chatbots come in many flavors, but most can be placed in one of two categories: goal-oriented chatbots and chit-chat chatbots. Goal-oriented chatbots behave like a natural language interface for function calls, where the chatbot asks for and confirms all required parameter values and then executes a function. The Cortana chat interface is a classic example of a goal-directed chatbot. For example, you can ask about the weather for a specific location or let Cortana walk…

    November 30th, 2018

  7. Discovering the best neural architectures in the continuous space

    If you’re a deep learning practitioner, you may find yourself faced with the same critical question on a regular basis: Which neural network architecture should I choose for my current task? The decision depends on a variety of factors and the answers to a number of other questions. What operations should I choose for this layer—convolution, depth separable convolution, or max pooling? What is the kernel size for convolution? 3x3 or 1x1? And which previous…

    November 30th, 2018

  8. Minimizing trial and error in the drug discovery process

    In 1928, Alexander Fleming accidentally let his petri dishes go moldy, a mistake that would lead to the breakthrough discovery of penicillin and save the lives of countless people. From these haphazard beginnings, the pharmaceutical industry has grown into one of the most technically advanced and valuable sectors, driven by incredible progress in chemistry and molecular biology. Nevertheless, a great deal of trial and error still exists in the drug discovery process. With an estimated…

    November 29th, 2018

  9. Machine learning and the learning machine with Dr. Christopher Bishop

    Episode 52, November 28, 2018 - Dr. Christopher Bishop talks about the past, present and future of AI research, explains the No Free Lunch Theorem, talks about the modern view of machine learning (or how he learned to stop worrying and love uncertainty), and tells how the real excitement in the next few years will be the growth in our ability to create new technologies not by programming machines but by teaching them to learn.

    November 28th, 2018

  10. Hyperscale cloud reliability and the art of organic collaboration

    What does it take to build one of the most reliable hyperscale clouds on the planet? It clearly requires astronomical investments and a vast organization that operates at global scale in near seamless coordination. Yet the breakthroughs that fuel this story emerged organically, from a combination of innovation and mentoring relationships that grew into close friendships, and initiative taking—recognizing and seizing opportunities regardless of where they existed in an organization. We will take a look…

    November 20th, 2018

  11. Challenge accepted—MARLÖ competition among conference highlights

    With the latest Project Malmo competition, we’re calling on researchers and engineers to test the limits of their thinking as it pertains to artificial intelligence, particularly multi-task, multi-agent reinforcement learning. Last week, a group of attendees at the 14th Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE'18) participated in a one-day workshop featuring the competition, exchanging ideas on the unique challenges of the research area with some of the field’s leading minds. Learning to…

    November 19th, 2018

  12. Hearing in 3D with Dr. Ivan Tashev

    Episode 50, November 14, 2018 - Dr. Tashev gives us an overview of the quest for better sound processing and speech enhancement, tells us about the latest innovations in 3D audio, and explains why the research behind audio processing technology is, thanks to variations in human perception, equal parts science, art and craft.

    November 14th, 2018