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. Energy-Efficiency Work Reaps Rewards

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research These days, more than ever, it’s important for computing to be energy-efficient. Particularly in data centers, energy requirements represent a significant portion of operational costs, and power and cooling needs help dictate where data centers can be located, how close to capacity they can operate, and how robust they are to failure. In part, however, this is true because computers are precision machines. They’re hard-wired that way. Ask…

    August 10th, 2009

  2. Researchers Ride the Twitter Wave

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research He rocks in the treetops all the day long, Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singin’ his song. All the little birds on Jaybird Street Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet … * * * When L.A. R&B singer Bobby Day took Jimmie Thomas’ lyrics to the top of the charts in the summer of 1958—a tune memorably revived in 1972 by a 13-year-old Michael Jackson—there was…

    August 6th, 2009

  3. SIGGRAPH 2009: Work in Graphic Detail

    By Janie Chang, Writer, Microsoft Research With its New Orleans location and a schedule that includes team competitions, an animation festival, musical performances, and a gallery of interactive art, the 36th annual International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Technologies (SIGGRAPH 2009) might look suspiciously like a five-day party to outsiders. For attendees however, this is the premier conference for computer graphics and interactive techniques, and represents a valuable opportunity to listen to…

    August 4th, 2009

  4. SIGIR 2009: Seeking Better Search

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Organizing threaded discussions. Using reasoning to rank answers on community sites. Predicting click-through rates for news queries. Assessing how crawl policies affect the effectiveness of Web search. Taking context into consideration when classifying queries and predicting user interests. Much remains to be solved in the field of information retrieval. That becomes obvious just by scanning the list of papers to be presented by Microsoft Research during SIGIR 2009,…

    July 20th, 2009

  5. Project Trident: Navigating a Sea of Data

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research How deep is the ocean? Geologically, the answer is straightforward: almost seven miles. This we know from a series of surveys, beginning in the 19th century, of the depth of the Mariana Trench, near Guam in the North Pacific, a boundary between two tectonic plates that is understood to be the deepest point in the world’s oceans. When it comes to understanding what transpires in the ocean, however,…

    July 13th, 2009

  6. When Is a Browser Not a Browser?

    By Janie Chang, Writer, Microsoft Research Once upon a time, Web sites were the online equivalent of data sheets. Now users go to the Web to run business apps, do their banking, buy products, socialize, receive a daily news fix, or play interactive games. Nor are Web pages simple HTML anymore; a page can be composed of dynamic content from third-party ad sites, newsfeeds, or messaging sites. In addition, the software industry has been moving…

    June 29th, 2009

  7. Remote Meetings: Thinking Inside the Box

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research George Robertson is taking this meeting seriously. He focuses intently on other participants in the room, making eye contact, noting posture and visual cues, interjecting comments when appropriate. He studies diagrams scrawled onto a whiteboard, and, on occasion, uses a laser pointer to call attention to something he wants to address. Sound like just another productive business meeting? Well, you’re right—except for one little detail. The meeting is…

    June 10th, 2009

  8. New England Researcher Finds Her Bliss

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Even now, almost a year after joining Microsoft Research New England, Yael Tauman Kalai can hardly believe her good fortune. “Really, really awesome,” enthuses Kalai, 34, about her experience at the lab, based in Cambridge, Mass. “Frankly, it’s kind of too good to be true. I almost feel like I need to enjoy it because it can’t last. It’s too good to last, so I should enjoy every…

    May 14th, 2009

  9. Beijing Lab’s New Initiative: eHeritage

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Leonardo da Vinci and Filippo Brunelleschi resound through history as two of the guiding lights of the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo, of course, gifted us with the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he also excelled at mathematics, engineering, anatomy, botany, and a clutch of additional artistic endeavors. Brunelleschi, meanwhile is heralded for his dome atop the Duomo in Florence, but in addition to that engineering feat, he…

    April 22nd, 2009

  10. Buxton Putting Design into MIX

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Bill Buxton is a man of many interests: composer, musician, outdoorsman. Most of all, though, he is a relentless advocate for innovative product design. “Ultimately,” he says, “we are deluding ourselves if we think that the products that we design are the ‘things’ that we sell, rather than the individual, social, and cultural experiences that they engender, and the value and impact that they have. Design that ignores…

    March 17th, 2009

  11. CHI ’09: Computing with a Human Touch

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Historically, Microsoft Research has had a big footprint during CHI, the annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction—and this year’s 27th gathering is no exception. More than 12 percent of the papers accepted for this year’s conference—25 of the 204 to be presented to more than 2,000 attendees from 43 countries April 4-9 at…

    March 11th, 2009

  12. Making Virtual Meetings Feel Real

    By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Zhengyou Zhang has a vision: to bring people together. He also has a strategy to achieve that vision: by utilizing multimedia technology. His latest tactic to reach the goal is the Personal Telepresence Station. That’s the name of the combination of hardware and software that Zhang thinks, someday soon, will enable people half a world away to intermingle and exchange ideas and information as naturally as if they…

    March 9th, 2009