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. Minimizing gaps in information access on social networks while maximizing the spread

    Lots of important information, including job openings and other kinds of advertising, are often transmitted by word-of-mouth in online settings. For example, social networks like LinkedIn are increasingly used as a way of spreading information about job opportunities, which can greatly affect people’s career development. The goal of social influence maximization, a well-studied problem, is to maximize the number of people in a social network that receive specific information, given a limited budget with which…

    May 6th, 2019

  2. New Advancements in Spoken Language Processing

    Deep learning algorithms, supported by the availability of powerful Azure computing infrastructure and massive training data, constitutes the most significant driving force in our AI evolution journey. In the past three years, Microsoft reached several historical AI milestones being the first to achieve human parity in the following public benchmark tasks that have been broadly used in the speech and language community: 2017: Speech Recognition on the conversational speech transcription task (Switchboard) 2018: Machine Translation…

    May 6th, 2019

  3. Beyond spell checkers: Enhancing the editing process with deep learning

    “Here’s my conference paper—what do you think?” After hours of agonizing over words and illustrations, sharing a draft document is a moment of great pride. All too often, this is shortly followed by embarrassment when your colleague gets back to you with reams of edits. Many of them may be simple grammar or style fixes or requests for citations—minor suggestions that aren’t as fulfilling or valuable for either author or editor as feedback regarding the…

    May 3rd, 2019

  4. Machine Reading Systems Are Becoming More Conversational

    A team of researchers from the Natural Language Processing (NLP) Group at Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) and the Speech Dialog Research Group at Microsoft Redmond are currently leading in the Conversational Question Answering (CoQA) Challenge organized by Stanford University. In this challenge, machines are measured by their ability to understand a text passage and answer a series of interconnected questions that appear in a conversation. Microsoft is currently the only team to have reached human…

    May 3rd, 2019

  5. (Th)Inking with data — tapping into the potential of the digital pen

    Whether at work or at home, people are regularly gathering and interpreting information to build their base of knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. In this endeavor, they encounter data in many shapes and forms—lines of text in books, timelines and charts in magazines and newspapers, photos in print and online. They’re searching webpages and browsing interactive maps to identify good schools for their children or to find a great…

    May 2nd, 2019

  6. Introducing TORC: A rigid haptic controller that renders elastic objects

    Oxymorons of haptics might be the new normal Consumer virtual reality (VR) systems can immerse users in wonderous virtual worlds, rich in sights and sounds. However, how many times have you reached for an object in VR or augmented reality (AR) and, just as you were about to grab it, you experienced the bitter sensorial shock that the object did not exist in the real world. That break on presence could be about to end.…

    May 2nd, 2019

  7. Deep InfoMax: Learning good representations through mutual information maximization

    As researchers continue to apply machine learning to more complex real-world problems, they’ll need to rely less on algorithms that require annotation. This is not only because labels are expensive, but also because supervised learners trained only to predict annotations tend not to generalize beyond structure in the data necessary for the given task. For instance, a neural network trained to classify images tends to do so based on texture that correlates with the class…

    May 1st, 2019

  8. CHI squared with Dr. Ken Hinckley and Dr. Meredith Ringel Morris

    Episode 74, May 1, 2019 - If you want to know what’s going on in the world of human computer interaction research, or what’s new at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, you should hang out with Dr. Ken Hinckley, a principal researcher and research manager in the EPIC group at Microsoft Research, and Dr. Merrie Ringel Morris, a principal researcher and research manager in the Ability group. Both are prolific HCI…

    May 1st, 2019

  9. Investing in leading minds—Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship

    How does a leading research institution ensure the flow of computer science talent and keep the most talented minds in the space focused on solving today’s truly challenging problems? The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship recognizes innovative, promising new faculty members with $100,000 USD annually for two years to pursue breakthrough, high-impact research. The grant is an unrestricted gift, providing the Fellows the freedom to plan their research, hire graduate students, build labs, and acquire equipment.…

    April 30th, 2019

  10. Toward Emotionally Intelligent Artificial Intelligence

    Recent successes in machine intelligence hinge on core computation ability to efficiently search through billions of possibilities in order to make decisions. Sequences of decisions, if successful, often suggest that perhaps computation is catching up to–or even surpassing–human intelligence. Human intelligence, on the other hand, is highly generalizable, adaptive, robust and exhibits characteristics that the current state-of-the-art machine intelligence systems simply are not yet capable of producing. For example, humans are able to plan significantly…

    April 30th, 2019

  11. How to better design AI – from ideation to user perception and acceptance

    Designing artificial intelligence systems and features poses new challenges for user experience (UX) practitioners. Traditionally, UX designers rely on sketching and low-fidelity, fast prototyping to imagine and test their ideas. The usual design tools and techniques, however, can’t always meet the demands of designing AI-infused systems. For one, these systems are increasingly based on more abstract interactions like language understanding and conversation participation. They’re also intrinsically dynamic and unpredictable, changing over time as they learn…

    April 26th, 2019

  12. Froid and the relational database query quandry with Dr. Karthik Ramachandra

    Episode 73, April 24, 2019 - In the world of relational databases, structured query language, or SQL, has long been King of the Queries, primarily because of its ubiquity and unparalleled performance. But many users prefer a mix of imperative programming, along with declarative SQL, because its user-defined functions (or UDFs) allow for good software engineering practices like modularity, readability and re-usability. Sadly, these benefits have traditionally come with a huge performance penalty, rendering them…

    April 24th, 2019