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. Virtual Fire System Aids Firefighters in Wildfire Combat and Prevention

    —Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche, Research Program Manager, External Research division of Microsoft Research, Cambridge When a wildfire strikes, every second counts. Time lost can all too often be measured in lost life, deforestation, and property damage. Enter the Virtual Fire application, based on Microsoft Bing Maps, ESRI ArcGIS, and other software. This web geographic information system (GIS) platform is designed to support wildfire early warning, control, and civil protection by sharing information and tools produced by the…

    December 21st, 2010

  2. .NET Gadgeteer Redefines What Gadget Fans Can Do with Modular Components and Object-Oriented Programming

    Once upon a time, being a "gadget fanatic" usually meant you were an early adopter of new technologies, someone who'd own the latest multi-megapixel digital camera or high-powered handheld device. A rare few with engineering and embedded development programming skills might push this a bit further, creating something new from hardware components by soldering, wiring, and coding a new gizmo into existence. But such aspirations were out of reach for many hobbyists and potential inventors.…

    December 20th, 2010

  3. Amplifying the Computer Science Education Message

    In case you missed it, there was a great deal of passion expressed last week regarding the state of computer science education in our society. There were outreach efforts, programs highlighted, and a number of online discussions that ensued—overall, some really impressive growth in activity across the board over last year in broad awareness.I decided to use the opportunity to spend a bit more dedicated time catching up on some online reports, material, and people.…

    December 17th, 2010

  4. Building a Better Speller: Bing and Microsoft Research Offer Prizes for Best Search Engine Spelling Alteration Services

    When you type a word or phrase into a search engine, there are a number of things that could go wrong. You might not know how a term is spelled or, in your rush to jump to the results, you could transpose or otherwise mistype some characters. Spelling alteration is a popular search technique used to translate apparent typographical errors, alternative spellings, and synonyms into an improved query that returns the best possible results on…

    December 15th, 2010

  5. How Microsoft Technology and Research Are Helping Create a Clearer Picture of HIV

    Nearly 30 years since its discovery, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to prove a difficult virus to pin down because it mutates so rapidly—a trait which, so far, has made an effective vaccine for this often-deadly condition impossible to develop. That might change, thanks in part to new Microsoft tools that are being used to construct maps of the mutating virus, which may in turn help identify prospective vaccine candidates. HIV mutates at such…

    December 14th, 2010

  6. Multicore Workshop Attendees Work to Integrate Software and Hardware for Optimal Performance and New Applications

    The latest innovations in multicore technology are meaningless if the software you run is not written to take advantage of the advanced hardware design. To help address this and other issues, attendees at the Second Barcelona Multicore Workshop (BMW) met October 21-22, 2010, to critically examine developments in computer chip technology in the two years since the highly successful 2008 workshop. Today, sequential chips are almost entirely superseded by multicore processors. The hardware community is…

    December 7th, 2010

  7. Computer Science Education Week Spotlights the Needs in U.S. Schools

    As computer-science researchers, we at Microsoft Research are committed to strong computer-science education programs. With more than 800 researchers worldwide, we know firsthand the value of a solid computer-science education, which is why Microsoft Research is a proud supporter of the second annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), celebrated this year from December 5-11 in the United States.This week's focus on computer-science education couldn't be timelier. The recent report from the Association for Computing Machinery,…

    December 6th, 2010

  8. Bioinformatics Tools Promote Life-Saving Research

    On November 30, I appeared on Health Tech Today, where I chatted with Dr. Bill Crounse about the Microsoft Biology Foundation and how it will help scientists advance their research. This interview marks yet another opportunity for Microsoft External Research to spread the word about our open-source work in developing tools that, as Dr. Crounse noted, provide researchers with "the potential to discover amazing things and solve big problems."  The heart of the interview was…

    December 1st, 2010

  9. Bill Gates Talks about mHealth

    I'm here in Washington, DC, at the second annual mHealth Summit, where I gave a talk and conducted a keynote interview with Bill Gates. During a wide-ranging discussion, Bill stressed that improved health is the key to controlling many of the world's most challenging problems. In keeping with the mHealth theme, Bill discussed the role of the mobile technology—especially the cell phone—as a tool for improving medical services in various populations. Here are just a…

    November 23rd, 2010

  10. Climate Prediction Leverages Home Computers

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and so, apparently, is an idle computer. On November 18, scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) will begin harnessing the idle time of thousands of personal computers to study climate modeling and the resulting weather effects on the Pacific Northwest and California. This project illustrates the power of "citizen scientists," in this case, the thousands of individuals whose personal computers will be leveraged during idle times. By…

    November 19th, 2010

  11. MSR-FAPESP Workshop Focuses on Multidisciplinary, Data-Driven Environmental Science

    On November 11 and 12, 2010, an international group of distinguished researchers met in São Paulo, Brazil, to expand ongoing environmental research on the Brazilian tropical rainforest ecosystem. The workshop built upon the Sensor Nets in Tropical Forests, a pilot project that deployed a sensor net in a 1 km2 area of forest in Serra do Mar, Ubatuba, southeast of Brazil. The workshop was sponsored by Microsoft Research-FAPESP Institute for IT Research, a joint venture…

    November 18th, 2010

  12. Brazilian Researcher Wins Coveted Rigo Award

    Professor Maria Cecília Calani Baranauskas, of the Institute of Computing at the University of Campinas (IC-Unicamp), was named co-winner of the 2010 Rigo Award, the prestigious biennial honor bestowed by Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Design Communication (AMC SIGDOC) on researchers who have made outstanding contributions in the realm of communications design. Baranauskas was honored for her groundbreaking research in human-computer interactions, including her work funded by the Microsoft Research-FAPESP Institute for…

    November 8th, 2010