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. Researchers seek to simplify the complex in cloud computing

    From February 26–28, researchers gathered in Boston for the 16th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), one of the top conferences in the networking and systems field. Microsoft, a silver sponsor of the event, was represented by researchers serving on the program committee, as well as those presenting papers, including two research teams using novel abstractions to empower and better serve cloud users. “Both papers describe new ways to cope with the…

    March 13th, 2019

  2. Programming biology with Dr. Andrew Phillips

    Episode 67, March 13, 2019 - Today, Dr. Phillips talks about the challenges and rewards inherent in reverse engineering biological systems to see how they perform information processing. He also explains what we can learn from stressed out bacteria, and tells us about Station B, a new end-to-end platform his team is working on that aims to reduce the trial and error nature of lab experiments and help scientists turn biological cells into super-factories that…

    March 13th, 2019

  3. Calling all aspiring women in Data Science

    What started as a one-day conference organized by Stanford University in 2015, Women in Data Science (WiDS) has blossomed into a movement bringing together women data scientists and aspiring data scientists via a series of over 150 virtual and in-person events worldwide, ultimately culminating in the March 4, 2019 main event at Stanford. Microsoft is a proud partner of WiDS; in addition to supporting the Datathon via the webinar, Microsoft also provided Xboxes as prizes.…

    March 12th, 2019

  4. Researchers build nanoscale distributed DNA computing systems from artificial protocells

    Living cells communicate with each other by sending and receiving molecular signals that diffuse between neighboring cells to activate key molecular processes. This communication enables cell populations to implement collective information processing functions that cannot be achieved by individual cells in isolation. Although synthetic biologists have made significant progress in engineering cell populations to perform computation, such engineering still remains a major challenge because of the complex interplay between synthetic devices and natural cellular processes.…

    March 11th, 2019

  5. Predicting the ‘holy grail’ of climate forecasting: A new model and a new public dataset

    It was crunch time, just as it had been many times before in the preceding weeks. Such is the nature of real-time competition. The yearlong Subseasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo was being sponsored by the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and teams were tasked with predicting temperature and precipitation in the Western United States for two time spans—two to four weeks out and four to six weeks out. Teams were required…

    March 7th, 2019

  6. Cloud computing aids researchers in solving the unsolvable in medical data labeling

    It’s not uncommon for physicians to disagree about a diagnosis. That’s why people often seek a second or third opinion when faced with a serious or complex health concern. What if instead of a second opinion, hundreds of expert opinions could be collated? What if those experts were a combination of both humans and AI algorithms, as is the case in a crowdsourced version of traffic model convergence? That’s the promise of work being done…

    March 1st, 2019

  7. Securing the vote with Dr. Josh Benaloh

    Episode 65, February 27, 2019 - Dr. Josh Benaloh gives us a brief but fascinating history of elections, explains how the trade-offs among privacy, security and verifiability make the relatively easy math of elections such a hard problem for the internet, and tells the story of how the University of Michigan fight song forced the cancellation of an internet voting pilot.

    February 27th, 2019

  8. High performance container networking

    Researchers and engineers from Microsoft Research and Microsoft Azure have contributed nine scientific papers to the technical program of the 16th Annual USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation – NSDI ‘19 – to be held in Boston, Massachusetts between February 26 and February 28, 2019. Our papers cover some of the latest technologies Microsoft has developed in networked systems. While I would love to discuss all of our papers in detail, that would…

    February 26th, 2019

  9. Winners announced in multi-agent reinforcement learning challenge

    In Learning to Play: The Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning in MalmÖ (MARLÖ) Competition, we invited programmers into this digital world to help tackle multi-agent reinforcement learning. This challenge, the second competition using the Project Malmo platform, tasked participants with designing learning agents capable of collaborating with or competing against other agents to complete tasks across three different games within Minecraft.

    February 22nd, 2019

  10. Microsoft SEAL open source homomorphic encryption library gets even better for .NET developers!

    Since its open-source release on December 3rd 2018, Microsoft SEAL has become one of the world’s most popular homomorphic encryption libraries and has been adopted by security and privacy professionals world-wide in both academia and industry. Thanks to the fact that it is written in standard C++ with no external dependencies, Microsoft SEAL empowers a broad spectrum of users and use-cases to protect private data in storage and computation scenarios. Today, we are announcing the…

    February 21st, 2019

  11. Talking with machines with Dr. Layla El Asri

    Episode 64, February 20, 2019 - Dr. Layla El Asri talks about the particular challenges she and other scientists face in building sophisticated dialogue systems that lay the foundation for talking machines. She also explains how reinforcement learning, in the form of a text game generator called TextWorld, is helping us get there, and relates a fascinating story from more than fifty years ago that reveals some of the safeguards necessary to ensure that when…

    February 20th, 2019

  12. What are the biases in my data?

    One challenge with AI algorithmic fairness is that one usually has to know the potential group(s) that an algorithm might discriminate against in the first place. However, in joint work with Maria De-Arteaga, Nathaniel Swinger, Tom Heffernan, and Max Leiserson, we automatically enumerate groups of people that may be discriminated against alongside potential biases. We do this using word embedding, a popular AI tool for processing language. This proves useful for detecting age, gender, religious,…

    February 13th, 2019