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. Traffic updates: Saying a lot while revealing a little

    The idea of crowdsourcing traffic data has been around for a while: If we can get vehicles on the roads to upload their current speeds, then we can get instant, up-to-date data on how fast traffic is moving for well-traveled segments. This is useful for finding the fastest route to a destination, avoiding slowdowns. There are problems with this idea, though. The main one is that drivers need to upload their location along with their…

    January 28th, 2019

  2. Creating better AI partners: A case for backward compatibility

    Artificial intelligence technologies hold great promise as partners in the real world. They’re in the early stages of helping doctors administer care to their patients and lenders determine the risk associated with loan applications, among other examples. But what happens when these systems that users have come to understand and employ in ways that will enhance their work are updated? Sure, we can assume an improvement in accuracy or speed on the part of the…

    January 25th, 2019

  3. Empowering people with AI with Dr. Cecily Morrison

    Episode 60, January 23, 2019 - Dr. Morrison gives us an overview of what she calls the “pillars” of inclusive design, shares how her research is positively impacting people with health issues and disabilities, and tells us how having a child born with blindness put her in touch with a community of people she would otherwise never have met, and on the path to developing Project Torino, an inclusive physical programming language for children with…

    January 23rd, 2019

  4. 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 22nd, 2019

  5. Winning combination: 2019 Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace and PhD Fellowships support top talent

    Microsoft Research is proud to announce the 2019 winners of the Ada Lovelace Fellowship and PhD Fellowship. The Ada Lovelace Fellowship is a new fellowship for Microsoft Research, established to support diverse talent getting doctorates in computing-related fields by providing three years of funding for second-year PhD students from groups underrepresented in computing.

    January 17th, 2019

  6. Microsoft Ability Initiative: A collaborative quest to innovate in image captioning for people who are blind or with low vision

    Microsoft is committed to pushing the boundaries of technology to improve and positively influence all parts of society. Recent advances in deep learning and related AI techniques have resulted in significant strides in automated image captioning. However, current image captioning systems are not well-aligned with the needs of a community that can benefit greatly from them: people who are blind or with low vision. We recently completed a competitive process to find an academic research…

    January 16th, 2019

  7. Building contextually intelligent assistants with Dr. Paul Bennett

    Episode 59, January 16, 2019 - Dr. Bennett brings us up to speed on the science of contextually intelligent assistants, explains how what we think our machines can do actually shapes what we expect them to do, and shares how current research in machine learning and data science is helping machines reason on our behalf in the quest to help us find the right information effortlessly.

    January 16th, 2019

  8. Influencing mainstream software—Applying programming language research ideas to transform spreadsheets

    Spreadsheets are the world’s most widely used programming language, by several orders of magnitude. We asked ourselves whether it would be possible to apply programming language research ideas to make spreadsheets a better programming language? If we could, that would empower a huge user community to do more. One of the joys of working at Microsoft Research is the ability to directly influence mainstream software technologies – in this case, Microsoft Excel. And the Excel…

    January 14th, 2019

  9. Project Everest: Reaching greater heights in internet communication security

    Project Everest is working on a verified, secure communication stack designed to improve the security of HTTPS, a key internet safeguard. This post, about the verification tools and techniques the Everest team is using and developing, is the first in a series exploring the groundbreaking work, which is available on GitHub now. Wouldn’t it be great if a message you sent to your bank over the internet was guaranteed to be safe from tampering and…

    January 14th, 2019

  10. Scaling the Everest of software security with Dr. Jonathan Protzenko

    Episode 58, January 9, 2019 - Dr. Protzenko talks about what’s wrong with software (and why it’s vitally important to get it right), explains why there are so many programming languages (and tells us about a few he’s been working on), and finally, acts as our digital Sherpa for Project Everest, an assault on software integrity and confidentiality that aims to build and deploy a verified HTTPS stack.

    January 9th, 2019

  11. Microsoft Research 2018: 10 memorable blogs topping a year of open source and innovation

    The year’s end is an opportunity to reflect on what was achieved and to resolve to aspire to even greater heights in the one that’s about to begin. Looking back on what was accomplished at Microsoft Research in 2018 brings to mind numerous proud moments, impressive research vision, and a commitment to open source and sharing in research. A growth of new ideas At the CHI conference in April, a team of Microsoft researchers presented…

    December 27th, 2018

  12. Competition win a steppingstone in the greater journey to create sustainable farming

    The cucumber plants, their leaves wide and green and veiny, stood tall in neat rows, basking in the Netherland sunlight shining through the glass panes of their greenhouses. Hopes were high for the plants—a bountiful crop in just four months using as few resources as possible. With the right amount and type of care, they’d produce vegetables for consumers to enjoy. To the casual observer, though, it might have seemed like the plants had been…

    December 18th, 2018