Faculty Summit 2019 | The future of work

Faculty Summit 2019 | The future of work


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit to be held in Redmond at the Microsoft Conference Center, July 17-18, 2019. The Faculty Summit brings together the intellectual power of researchers from across Microsoft and academia for two days to meet, discuss and share ideas about the future of work. New advances in computing are transforming existing work and productivity paradigms. Tomorrow, we will work in more places, faster, more collaboratively, and our output will be ever more thoughtful, creative, and impactful. We are excited that this year’s Faculty Summit investigates how researchers are augmenting, improving, and even changing the future of work, for individuals and organizations alike.

Program Chairs


Tuesday, July 16

Time (PDT) Session Location
4:00 PM–7:00 PM Welcome reception and registration desk open Hyatt Regency Bellevue

Wednesday, July 17

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
8:30 AM–9:00 AM Welcome & Intro
Sandy Blyth, Global Managing Director, Microsoft Research Kodiak
9:00 AM–10:00 AM Keynote: An Expansive View of Productivity
Jaime Teevan, Microsoft Kodiak
Keynote: Understanding Workplace Well-Being and Productivity through Sensor Tracking
Gloria Mark, University of California, Irvine Kodiak
10:00 AM–10:15 AM Transition Break
10:15 AM–11:45 AM Breakout Sessions
Microproductivity: Getting Big Things Done Using Smaller Moments
Chair: Shamsi Iqbal, Microsoft


  • Steven Dow, University of California, San Diego
  • Lydia Chilton, Columbia University
  • Walter Lasecki, University of Michigan
  • Victor Poznanski, Microsoft
Techniques for ML Model Transparency and Debugging
Co-Chairs: Steven Drucker and Gonzalo Ramos, Microsoft


  • Daniel Weld, University of Washington
  • Rich Caruana, Microsoft
  • Matthew Kay, University of Michigan
St Helens
Envisioning Fluid Cross-Device Experiences
Chair: Nathalie Riche, Microsoft


  • Caroline Appert, Université Paris-Sud / Paris Saclay
  • Nicolai Marquardt, University College London
  • Ken Hinckley, Microsoft
  • Saul Greenberg, University of Calgary
11:45 AM–1:00 PM Networking Lunch – One Table | One Topic (limited space per table)

  • Classroom => Market with Brent Hecht
  • Non-CS Affinity Group with Mary Gray
  • Mixed Reality @ Work with Lorraine Bardeen
  • Assistance vs Annoyance with Vanessa Feliberti
  • Personal Learner Graph with Maria Langworthy
  • Workplace Analytics with Ryan Fuller
  • Cyber Security with John Lambert
  • Digital Life/Digital Work with Kelsey Vaughn
1:00 PM–2:30 PM Breakout Sessions
AI-Driven Image Captioning For Inclusive Productivity
Chair: Ed Cutrell, Microsoft


  • Danna Gurari, University of Texas, Austin
  • Kathleen McCoy, University of Delaware
  • Walter Lasecki, University of Michigan
  • Ece Kamar, Microsoft
Recommendation and Learning to Improve Personal Productivity
Chair: Paul Bennett, Microsoft


  • Jennifer Neville, Purdue University
  • Yejin Choi, University of Washington
  • Chris Re, Stanford University
St Helens
The Future of Communication
Chair: Sean Rintel, Microsoft


  • Elizabeth Stokoe, Loughborough University
  • Constantine Sandis, University of Hertsfordshire
  • Yvonne Rogers, University College London
  • Bill Buxton, Microsoft
2:30 PM–3:00 PM Networking Break
3:00 PM–4:30 PM Breakout Sessions
Workforce of the Future
Chair: Ehsan Hoque, University of Rochester


  • Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University
  • Skip Rizzo, University of Southern California
  • Shamsi Iqbal, Microsoft
  • Phil Pizzo, Stanford University
  • Ehsan Hoque, University of Rochester
Task Intelligence: Doing More with Less
Chair: Ryen White, Microsoft


  • Flora Salim, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Keith Ballinger, Microsoft
  • Caitlin Hart, Microsoft
  • Shree Sahasrabudhe, Microsoft
  • Howard Crow, Microsoft
St Helens
Augmented and Virtual Productivity Experiences
Chair: Mar Gonzalez-Franco, Microsoft


  • Bobby Bodenheimer, Vanderbilt University
  • Sarah Creem-Regehr, University of Utah
  • Henry Fuchs, University of North Carolina
  • Eyal Ofek, Microsoft
4:30 PM–4:45 PM Transition Break
4:45 PM–5:45 PM A Conversation with Bill Gates Hosted by Eric Horvitz
5:45 PM–6:30 PM Travel to Seattle
6:30 PM–9:00 PM Dinner at Chihuly Garden and Glass
9:00 PM–10:30 PM Surprise Experience (optional)

Thursday, July 18

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
8:30 AM–9:00 AM Welcome & Tech Showcase Lightning Round Kodiak
9:00 AM–10:00 AM Keynote: Intentional Approaches to Human-Computer Collaboration
Mira Lane, Microsoft Kodiak
10:00 AM–12:00 PM Technology Showcase | The Future of Work Demos
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Networking Lunch McKinley
1:00 PM–2:30 PM Breakout Sessions
Human-AI Collaboration for Decision-Making
Co-Chairs: Besmira Nushi and Ece Kamar, Microsoft


  • Ayanna Howard, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University
  • Besmira Nushi, Microsoft
  • Ece Kamar, Microsoft
  • Rich Caruana, Microsoft
Increasing AI Programmer Productivity
Co-Chairs: Sarah Bird and Markus Weimer, Microsoft


  • Gustavo Alonso, ETH Zurich
  • Ce Zhang, ETH Zurich
  • Tianqi Chen, University of Washington
  • Matei Zaharia, Stanford University
  • Sarah Bird, Microsoft
  • Markus Weimer, Microsoft
St Helens
Future of Spreadsheeting
Co-Chairs: Andy Gordon, Shi Han, and Ben Zorn, Microsoft


  • Felienne Hermans, Universiteit Leiden
  • Shi Han, Microsoft
  • Daniel Barowy, Williams College
  • Andy Gordon, Microsoft
  • Ben Zorn, Microsoft
2:30 PM–3:00 PM Networking Break
3:00 PM–4:30 PM Breakout Sessions
Using Productivity in Software Development
Chair: Neel Sundaresan, Microsoft


  • Margaret-Anne Storey, University of Victoria
  • Ahmed E. Hassan, Queens University
  • Premkumar Devanbu, University of California, Davis
St Helens
Workers of the World, Connect! Tech Innovations and Organizational Change for the Future of Work(ers)
Co-Chairs: Mary Gray and Jacki O’Neill, Microsoft


  • Louise Hickman, University of California, San Diego
  • Melissa Valentine, Stanford University
  • Jamie Woodcock, Oxford Internet Institute
  • Jacki O’Neill, Microsoft
  • Mary Gray, Microsoft
Artificial Emotional Intelligence, Social Systems, and the Future of Collaboration
Chair: Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft


  • Mark Ackerman, University of Michigan
  • Sidney D’Mello, University of Colorado
  • Gloria Mark, University of California, Irvine
  • Eoin Whelan, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Steve Whittaker, University of California, Santa Cruz
4:30 PM–4:45 PM Break
4:45 PM–5:45 PM Keynote: The Future of Work And the Power of Data
Johannes Gehrke, Microsoft Kodiak
5:45 PM–6:45 PM Closing Reception Rainier

*Agenda subject to change



An Expansive View of Productivity

Speaker: Jaime Teevan, Microsoft

Productivity is the cornerstone of the experiences and devices that Microsoft builds. And yet the nature of productivity is fundamentally changing with the emergence of the intelligent cloud and edge, increasing use of digital media, and an explosion of devices. No longer is it enough for the tools we build to merely help people be faster, more efficient, and better organized. Our tools must now help people approach problems in new ways. The future of productivity is collaborative, intelligent, and deeply embedded in the world around us. This talk will explore the research breakthroughs necessary to bring this expansive view of productivity to life.

Understanding Workplace Well-Being and Productivity through Sensor Tracking

Speaker: Gloria Mark, University of California, Irvine

The future of work will involve gaining a deep understanding of people’s workplace experience and use that understanding to develop solutions that improve health, mood, and productivity. Using wearable sensors, computer logging, and experience sampling data, we can analyze digital media use and how attention varies over the workday. Our goal is to leverage this data to design custom interfaces and interventions that people can use to promote well-being and productivity.

Intentional Approaches to Human-Computer Collaboration

Speaker: Mira Lane, Microsoft

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and mixed reality have the potential to upend the way we create, work, and interact with one another. This disruption is an opportunity and a challenge. As we see technologies begin to closely replicate aspects of creative human output, we must consider the evolution of work and our relationship to machines. New technologies alter our connections with one other, they have the potential to rapidly turn our ideas into tangibles, and yet… we all know that we must tread intentionally in this new era. Should we aim for more ambitious relationships between computers and ourselves and what does responsible innovation mean in a future of human-machine collaboration?

The Future of Work And the Power of Data

Speaker: Johannes Gehrke, Microsoft

Automation, digital platforms, and AI are changing the fundamental nature of work. Many activities that we do today have the potential to be automated, but there is also huge potential to dramatically enhance individual productivity. The cloud plays a key role here. Beyond multi-tenancy, elasticity, and unlimited resources, the cloud allows us to learn and to make our users more successful through data. In this session, we provide several examples of how we work across research and product groups empowering our users through data and lay out several challenges that we hope to solve together with the academic community.

Breakout Sessions

AI-Driven Image Captioning For Inclusive Productivity

Chair: Ed Cutrell, Microsoft

Advances in hybrid intelligence, deep learning, and related artificial intelligence techniques have provided us with a remarkable opportunity to ensure the future of work will be even more inclusive to more people than ever before. Because the communication and products of work increasingly comprise images—photos, charts, maps, and the like—that are often not accessible, people who are blind or low vision face unique challenges. One promising technology is the automated understanding and captioning of images. Office 365 applications, for example, can use APIs from Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services to automatically add alt text to images. But there remain many hurdles to making these captions truly useful and usable. In this breakout session, we will explore the state of the art and potential for advancement in automated image captioning, including data capture and curation for training, caption presentation and interactivity, and computer vision.

Artificial Emotional Intelligence, Social Systems, and the Future of Collaboration

Chair: Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft

We’re on a path to a future where artificial intelligence (AI) and humans collaborate; one could argue that time is already here. Issues of trust in teams, building rapport, and group formation will dramatically change with the infusion of AI into our social workplace. As AI begins to further augment user interactions and interfaces, there is a pressing need to think about how we want to design such AI-powered social systems and experiences. In this breakout session, we bring together experts from the social sciences, AI and machine learning, and computer science to discuss this integration, particularly how emotional intelligence can be realized to make AI-powered systems more human-like and how this may influence collaborative practices at both the practical and ethical levels.

Augmented and Virtual Productivity Experiences

Chair: Mar Gonzalez-Franco, Microsoft

Important questions about how the productivity of VR/AR applications is measured remain. This panel discusses ways of conceptualizing and measuring productivity. Ideally, objective measures of the experience can be developed that evaluate the realism of any mediated scenario being presented, and these measures could be developed with such precision that components of an AR or VR system could be identified for weaknesses and be improved upon. The panel brings together researchers from different backgrounds and perspectives in the context of this issue, using approaches of calibration, interaction, realism and presence, and the use of behavior as objective measures to compare across real world and mediated environments. The questions that the panel will discuss include:

  • What types of productivity are there? How are they similar and different?
  • What are the best ways of measuring productivity?
  • How has productivity changed with new technologies?
  • Is productivity different between AR and VR?
  • What new areas of VR/AR will help increase productivity?

Envisioning Fluid Cross-Device Experiences

Chair: Nathalie Riche, Microsoft

The future of work is beyond the desktop, existing in a more natural environment where individuals can grab a pen to annotate a document on any device and share it effortlessly with others, including themselves. The future of work is identifying relevant information on the web or in email on a phone while commuting and seamlessly transitioning it to a large interactive whiteboard for a collaborative team meeting at the office. In this session we offer several complementary perspectives of this near future in which pen and touch play a central role in leveraging Office 365 and cross-device experiences are easy and fluid.

Future of Spreadsheeting

Co-Chairs: Andy Gordon, Shi Han, Ben Zorn, Microsoft

The spreadsheet has continually evolved to remain at the forefront of productivity tools and work practices for over forty years. For example, today’s spreadsheets embrace collaboration, serve as databases, are mobile, and encompass AI-powered interaction via natural language. Going forward, research advances in AI, program synthesis, visualization, and programming languages are being integrated into spreadsheets to improve user productivity and experience. This session examines recent innovations in spreadsheeting, from both Microsoft Research and the academic research community.

Human-AI Collaboration for Decision-Making

Chair: Besmira Nushi and Ece Kamar, Microsoft

Currently, there is an increasing ambition in industry and research for building artificial intelligence (AI) that will support people in their everyday life and work. Decision-making is a central aspect in this ambit. AI and machine learning algorithms are being used to assist doctors, lawyers, and governments in diagnosing diseases, making judicial decisions, and defining policies. It is more important than ever that these algorithms are designed and optimized in a way that simplifies and accounts for human-AI collaboration. Addressing these challenges requires methods and techniques at the intersection of cognition, sociology, and artificial intelligence. In this breakout session, we bring together expertise from these different perspectives and enable the speakers, as well as the audience, to share emerging theoretical results, experimental findings, and applications involving human-AI decision-making.

Increasing AI Programmer Productivity

Co-Chairs: Sarah Bird and Markus Weimer, Microsoft

With the advent of machine learning techniques, programmer productivity is poised to significantly improve. The job of a software engineer is changing into one where they learn a model for a function by using vast amounts of data, and then apply this model to predict or infer the value of this function on new and unknown data.

But for this new model of software development to become the dominant approach, we will need advances in several areas, including in program synthesis, compilers, high-performance computer systems, and neural network architectures. This session will identify the new programmer paradigm and identify what is needed to realize the potential productivity improvements it promises.

Microproductivity: Getting Big Things Done Using Smaller Moments

Chair: Shamsi Iqbal, Microsoft

In today’s world, people have to attend to a number of tasks near simultaneously, and with the widespread use of mobile devices, tasks can be tackled almost anywhere at any time. It is not surprising, then, that being able to address any one task for an extended period is becoming increasingly difficult. A new research area is focusing on “microproductivity,” breaking larger tasks down into manageable components conducive to small moments throughout the day. In this breakout session, we bring together experts from academia and the product side to share their vision of a future where traditional tasks can be accomplished via both focused attention and microproductivity. We will unpack how microproductivity may manifest across different domains and scenarios, identify key challenges in designing for microproductivity, discuss how expected outcomes may be impacted, and put forward an agenda that can move the field toward real-life adaptation.

Networking Lunch – One Table | One Topic

By attending the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit you have the exclusive opportunity to meet with some of our senior technical leaders from product groups across the company. Over lunch, you are encouraged to join a table hosted by one of Microsoft’s Distinguished Engineers to discuss a specific technology topic. This is your chance to ask questions, share your opinions and views on the future of the technology, and build relationships within our product teams. These frank and informal conversations with strategic leaders are sure to pique your interest and inspire you.

Productivity in Software Development

Chair: Neel Sundaresan, Microsoft

In this era of “Internet of Code”, data and metadata around open source projects are available in abundance. While research in program synthesis is not new, deep learning systems that take advantage of large scale code as data is starting to show new promise in improving developer productivity. The availability of GPU machines and cloud-based distributed systems help build deeper networks and scale them to production systems. In addition to passive input from open repos, crowdsourcing software expertise and integrating this with software systems has shown positive results. AI promises assistance and automation in every aspect of software development from edit and build stage to test and deploy stage. What traditional compiler and run time systems did with rules and analyzers can be replaced with AI-driven algorithmic systems. The concept of Software 2.0 is being discussed where code appears as data and where traditional software development processes give way to AI-based systems. In this panel, we explore opportunities for research and technology to improve productivity in software engineering and how AI plays a role in it.

Recommendation and Learning to Improve Personal Productivity

Chair: Paul Bennett, Microsoft

Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve productivity throughout the workplace by leveraging how people communicate to proactively connect a person to the right people and information. Providing this benefit requires key system capabilities, including understanding how language in communications relates to the actions people take, how behavioral traces can be used to measure personal productivity, how we can make recommendations from the personal web, and—critical to all of these—how we can learn from each person’s data in a privacy-preserving way. This breakout session will consist of 10-minute talks to review recent progress in related areas and a panel discussion on how research can address the challenges in this arena. We will explore how machine learning methods can be applied to customer-level data to improve personalization and facilitate productivity without sacrificing privacy and address such technical issues as data sources/feedback, modeling objectives, and accurate evaluation.

Task Intelligence: Doing More with Less

Chair: Ryen White, Microsoft

Tasks—defined pieces of work ranging in scope from the specific, such as sending an email, to the broad, such as shipping a feature—are central to all aspects of personal and team productivity. Task intelligence spans technologies and experiences to extract, understand, and support the completion of short- and long-term goals. Helping people complete tasks is a key capability of search systems, digital assistants, and productivity applications. We will discuss work on task support across four Microsoft products: To-Do, Project/Planner, Bing, and Azure DevOps. Invited speakers will discuss how their respective products help users do more with less effort. We will also spotlight our ongoing collaboration with RMIT University on the Cortana Intelligence Institute, an initiative to co-develop task intelligence technologies.

Techniques for ML Model Transparency and Debugging

Chair: Steven Drucker, Microsoft

Without good models and the right tools to interpret them, data scientists risk making decisions based on hidden biases, spurious correlations, and false generalizations. This has led to a rallying cry for model interpretability. Yet the concept of interpretability remains nebulous, such that researchers and tool designers lack actionable guidelines for how to incorporate interpretability into models and accompanying tools. This panel brings together experts on visualization, machine learning and human interaction to present their views as well as discuss these complicated issues.

The Future of Communication

Chair: Sean Rintel, Microsoft

Communication is the foundation on which our efforts toward accomplishing goals and tasks are built. We articulate needs and results and tell and react to stories about what we do and how we do it. The modern working world consists of a myriad tools and technologies by which to convey this information, providing for choice, integration, and analysis, and these options will only increase in the future. This breakout session aims to unpack the communicative backbone of the work environment to explore how communication patterns are changing and to discuss new ways to understand how communication relates to productivity. We will cover issues from different disciplines and perspectives across diverse domains and outline both challenges and opportunities.

Workers of the World, Connect! Tech Innovations and Organizational Change for the Future of Work(ers)

Chair: Mary Gray, Microsoft

From Uber-like services dishing up physical labor to startups “taskifying” information services, tech companies shaping the platform-driven, on-demand economy have paid little attention to the value of connected workers. What could the future of work look like if tech facilitated new worker-centered organizational structures? How might we build these structures while both delivering job opportunities and supporting worker groups, even in resource-constrained settings? What are the opportunities for capitalizing on technology innovation to design new economic markets that benefit workers and more fairly distribute jobs to a global workforce? We will address these questions and more, drawing on their research to outline how technologies could be used to counter the trend toward isolating on-demand workers.

Workforce of the Future

Chair: Ehsan Hoque, University of Rochester

The workforce of the future will have to be creative and innovative, rather than merely good at performing specific tasks. However, many individuals lack these skills, particularly if they suffer from cognitive disabilities or difficulties. Many argue that those skills are either innate or require extensive practice with human experts. We show that using technology we can improve human skills across a variety of domain including public speaking, job interviews, aging, autism, music training, negotiations, collaborations, end-of-life communication and deception.



Portrait of Bill GatesBill Gates
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 1975, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on his foundation’s work to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people. Along with co-chair Melinda Gates, he leads the foundation’s development of strategies and sets the overall direction of the organization. In 2010, Bill, Melinda, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will. In 2015, Bill created the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of individuals and entities committed to clean energy innovation, followed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2016, an investor-led fund focused on providing patient capital to support cutting-edge clean energy companies.

Portrait of Johannes GehrkeJohannes Gehrke


Johannes Gehrke is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft in the Experiences and Devices Group, working on machine learning and Big Data. From 1999 to 2015, he was on the faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University where he graduated 25 PhD students. Johannes has received an NSF Career Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Humboldt Research Award, the 2011 IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award, and he is an ACM Fellow. He co-authored the undergraduate textbook “Database Management Systems (McGrawHill (2002),” currently in its third edition), and he was Program co-Chair of ACM KDD 2004, VLDB 2007, IEEE ICDE 2012, ACM SOCC 2014, and IEEE ICDE 2015.

Portrait of Eric HorvitzEric Horvitz


Eric Horvitz is a technical fellow at Microsoft, where he serves as director of Microsoft Research, including research centers in Redmond, Washington, Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York, New York, Montreal, Canada, Cambridge, UK, and Bangalore, India. He has pursued principles and applications of AI with contributions in machine learning, perception, natural language understanding, and decision making. His research centers on challenges with uses of AI amidst the complexities of the open world, including uses of probabilistic and decision-theoretic representations for reasoning and action, models of bounded rationality, and human-AI complementarity and coordination.

Portrait of Mira LaneMira Lane


Mira Lane is the Partner Director of Ethics & Society within Cloud & AI at Microsoft. Mira runs a multidisciplinary team within an engineering context that is responsible for guiding technical and experience innovation towards ethical, responsible, and sustainable outcomes. The technology areas of interest to her team include speech & language, computer vision, ambient devices, intelligent meetings, intelligent agents, and mixed reality (AR, VR, HoloLens). Mira’s history at Microsoft has focused on experience strategy, incubation of new product concepts, and bringing products to market. She holds numerous patents across platforms and collaborative interfaces. She has held various roles through her technology career in development, product management, UX architect and design. Mira has a background in art, computer science, and mathematics. Her video art has been featured in film festivals and galleries.

Portrait of Gloria MarkGloria Mark
University of California, Irvine


Gloria Mark is a Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on studying how the use of digital technology impacts our lives in real-world contexts. She has studied in situ workplace behavior in a number of different organizations. She received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. Prior to UCI she worked at the German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD, now Fraunhofer Institute), has been an ongoing visiting researcher at Microsoft Research since 2012 and had been a visiting researcher at IBM, National University of Singapore, and the MIT Media Lab. She was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2017, has been a Fulbright scholar and has received a number of best paper awards. She was the general co-chair for the ACM CHI 2017 conference and is on the editorial boards of the ACM TOCHI and Human-Computer Interaction journals. Her work has appeared in the popular press such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, the BBC, NPR, Time, The Wall Street Journal and she has presented her work at SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Portrait of Jaime TeevanJaime Teevan


Jaime Teevan is Chief Scientist for Microsoft‘s Experiences and Devices, where she is helping Microsoft create the future of productivity. Previously she was the Technical Advisor to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, and a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research AI, where she led the Productivity team. Dr. Teevan has published hundreds of award-winning technical articles, books, and patents, and given keynotes around the world. Her groundbreaking research earned her the Technology Review TR35 Young Innovator, BECA, Karen Spärck Jones, and SIGIR Test of Time awards. She was most recently named Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for her significant contributions that have revolutionized how we live, work, and play. She holds a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.S. from Yale, and is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington.


Portrait of Mark AckermanMark Ackerman
University of Michigan


Mark Ackerman is the George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, and a Professor in the School of Information and in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His major research area is Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), primarily Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Ackerman has published widely in HCI and CSCW, investigating collaborative information access in online knowledge communities, medical settings, expertise sharing, and most recently, pervasive environments. Ackerman is a member of the CHI Academy (HCI Fellow) and an ACM Fellow.

Previously, Ackerman was a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, and a research scientist at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science (now CSAIL). Before becoming an academic, Ackerman led the development of the first home-banking system, had three Billboard Top-10 games for the Atari 2600, and worked on the X Window System’s first user-interface widget set. Ackerman has degrees from the University of Chicago, Ohio State, and MIT.

Portrait of Gustavo AlonsoGustavo Alonso
ETH Zurich


Gustavo Alonso is a professor at the Department of Computer Science of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Alonso studied Telecommunications, with a focus in Electrical Engineering, at the Madrid Technical University (ETSIT, Politecnica de Madrid). As a Fulbright scholar, Alonso completed an MS and PhD in Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara. After graduating from Santa Barbara, he worked at the IBM Almaden Research Center before joining ETH Zurich. At ETH, Alonso is part of the Systems Group. Alonso is a Fellow of the ACM and of the IEEE, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Department of Computer Science of UC Santa Barbara.

His research interests encompass almost all aspects of systems, from design to run time. Alonso works in distributed systems, databases, cloud computing, and hardware acceleration of data science. His recent research is related to multi-core architectures, large clusters, FPGAs, and big data, mainly working on adapting traditional system software (OS, databases, networking) to modern hardware platforms.

Some of the research awards Alonso has received include the Middleware 2017 Test-of-Time Award, the FCCM 2013 Best Paper Award, the AOSD 2012 Most Influential Paper Award, the VLDB 2010 Ten Year Best Paper Award, and the 2009 ICDCS Best Paper Award.

Caroline AppertCaroline Appert
Université Paris-Sud / Paris Saclay


Caroline Appert is a research scientist at Université Paris-Sud. She obtained her PhD degree from Université Paris-Sud in 2007. She then worked as a post-doc at IBM Almaden Research, before getting a full-time research scientist position in 2008. She has developed innovative interaction techniques for both desktop workstations and tactile surfaces, with a particular interest in multi-scale interfaces and geographical information systems. She started working on gesture-based interaction during her post-doc, and recently came into the area of tangible interaction. She publishes on a regular basis in venues such as CHI, UIST, MobileHCI, AVI and ToCHI. She has also served on numerous program committees for the last ten years, including CHI and UIST, and was Papers co-Chair for CHI ’17.

Portrait of Keith BallingerKeith Ballinger


Keith Ballinger is the General Manager of Developer Services at Microsoft, where he drives the mission to engage developers with services they love, make Azure the most developer-friendly cloud, and make 1ES the best engineering system in the world. Before returning to Microsoft, Ballinger was the VP of Product for Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired in March of 2016. Ballinger has a strong background in entrepreneurship, engineering, and product management, dating back to his time as a project manager on the original .NET team. In 2007, he left Microsoft to co-found several startups. Previous to Xamarin, Ballinger was the Chief Architect at the YC-backed startup Standard Treasury, building an API-first bank. He’s the author of two books on programming.

Portrait of Daniel BarowyDaniel Barowy
Williams College


Daniel Barowy is an Assistant Professor in the Williams College Department of Computer Science, where he focuses on programming languages.

In particular, his research is motivated by two questions: “Can this program be made simpler to use?” and “Can this program be made more robust?” Surprisingly, the answers to these questions often complement each other.

Barowy’s work focuses on new language abstractions, end-user programming, and new debugging techniques. In particular, he addresses improving the user experience when programming with spreadsheets and with crowdsourcing. Barowy employs traditional programming language techniques such as program analysis, often blending them with less-common statistical approaches.

Portrait of Paul BennettPaul Bennett


Paul Bennett is a Principal Researcher and manager of the Information and Data Sciences group in Microsoft Research AI. He is interested in the development, improvement, and analysis of machine learning methods, with a focus on systems that can aid in the automatic analysis of natural language as components of adaptive systems or information retrieval systems. Bennett’s current focus is on contextually intelligent assistants. He also maintains an active interest in contextual and personalized search, enriched information retrieval, active sampling and learning, hierarchical and large-scale classification, and human computation and preferences.

Bennett’s past work has examined a variety of areas — primarily ensemble methods, calibrating classifiers, search query classification and characterization, and redundancy and diversity; as well as extending to transfer learning, machine translation, recommender systems, and knowledge bases. In addition to his research, Bennett engages in a variety of professional service activities for the machine learning, data mining, and information retrieval communities.

Before coming to Microsoft, Bennett obtained his PhD from the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Portrait of Sara BirdSarah Bird


Sarah leads research and emerging technology strategy for AI developer products in Azure. Sarah works to accelerate the adoption and impact of AI by bringing together the latest innovations in machine learning and systems research with the best of open source and product expertise to create new tools and technologies. Sarah is active contributor to the open source ecosystem, she co-founded ONNX, an open source standard for machine learning models and was a leader in the PyTorch 1.0 project.

Sarah’s research interests include machine learning systems and responsible AI. She was an early member of the machine learning systems research community and has been active in growing and forming the community. Previously, Sarah was a machine learning systems researcher in Microsoft Research NYC, where she worked on reinforcement learning systems and AI ethics. She co-founded the SysML research conference and the Learning Systems workshops. She has a Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley advised by Dave Patterson, Krste Asanovic, and Burton Smith.

Portrait of Bobby BodenheimerBobby Bodenheimer
Vanderbilt University


Bobby Bodenheimer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University. His area of focus is computer graphics and computer animation, with a particular interest in human-figure animation.

Portrait of Bill BuxtonBill Buxton


Bill Buxton is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Prior to that, he was Principal of Buxton Design, his Toronto-based boutique design and consulting firm.

Buxton focuses on –human-computer interaction, including the appropriate consideration of human values, capacity, and culture in the conception, implementation, and use of new products and technologies. This is reflected in his research, teaching, talks, and writing — including his column on design and innovation for BusinessWeek.com, and his 2007 book, Sketching User Experiences.

Buxton completed an MSc in Computer Science at the University of Toronto, joined the faculty, and continues today as an Adjunct Professor.

He has been a Scientific Director of the Ontario Telepresence Project, and a consulting researcher at Xerox PARC.

Buxton has received many awards and commendations, including the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society Award for contributions to research in computer graphics and human-computer interaction, and the New Media Visionary of the Year Award. The Hollywood Reporter named him one of the 10 most influential innovators in Hollywood, TIME Magazine named him one of the top five designers in Canada. He received the “Lasting Impact Award”, from ACM UIST 2005 and in 2008, Buxton received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and is the recipient of the first annual Grand Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Award.

Portrait of Rich CaruanaRich Caruana


Rich Caruana is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. Before joining Microsoft, Caruana was on the faculty in the Computer Science Department at Cornell University, at UCLA’s Medical School, and at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Learning and Discovery. Caruana’s PhD is from Carnegie Mellon University. His thesis on multi-task learning helped create interest in a new subfield of machine learning called transfer learning. Caruana received an NSF CAREER Award, co-chaired KDD, and serves as area chair for NIPS, ICML, and KDD. Caruana’s current research focuses on learning for medical decision making, transparent modeling, deep learning, and computational ecology.

Portrait of Tianqi ChenTianqi Chen
University of Washington


Tianqi Chen is a PhD in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, working on the intersection of machine learning and systems. His leads the creation of many important machine learning systems, including XGBoost, Apache MXNet and Apache TVM. He will be joining CMU as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2020.

Portrait of Lydia ChiltonLydia Chilton
Columbia University


Lydia Chilton is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department of Columbia University. Her research is in human-computer interaction, crowdsourcing, and computational design.

Chilton builds tools to enhance people’s problem-solving ability.

Portrait of Yejin ChoiYejin Choi
University of Washington


Yejin Choi’s primary research interests are the fields of Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, with broader interests in Computer Vision and Digital Humanities.

Choi’s recent research has been under two broad themes: learning the contextual, grounded meaning of language from various contexts in which language is used — both physical (such as visual inputs) and abstract (such as social or cognitive contexts); and learning the background knowledge about how the world works, latent in large-scale multimodal data. More specifically, Choi’s research interests include: Language Grounding with Vision, Physical Commonsense Reasoning, Social Commonsense Reasoning and Connotation Frames, Language Generation and Conversational AI, and AI for Social Good.

Portrait of Sarah Creem-RegehrSarah Creem-Regehr
University of Utah


Sarah Creem-Regehr works on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying space perception and spatial cognition, perception and action, spatial transformations and motor imagery, embodied cognition, virtual environments.

A desire to understand space and object perception drives Creem-Regehr’s research in the University of Utah Visual Perception and Spatial Cognition laboratory. She has pursued the interaction between perception and action in several ways, addressing mechanisms underlying space perception, perception of tools, and imagined spatial transformations. Creem-Regehr’s research serves two goals: to further develop theories of perception‐action processing mechanisms and to apply these theories to relevant real‐world problems in order to facilitate observers’ understanding of their spatial environments.

Portrait of Howard CrowHoward Crow


Howard Crow is the Partner GPM of Microsoft Planner and Project. He thinks about work management and stress reduction every day. Before Planner and Project, Howard was a founding member of the SharePoint team. He has ridden motorcycles professionally, has an audiophile addiction and loves raising his daughter more than anything.

Portrait of Ed CutrellEd Cutrell


Ed Cutrell is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. He also holds an affiliate faculty appointment in the Information School at the University of Washington and also at the Department of Software Information Systems at UNC Charlotte. He received his BA in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Rice University and went on to study Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Oregon, where he received his PhD. He has been working in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) since 2000.

Over the years, Cutrell has worked on a broad range of HCI topics, with a special interest in interdisciplinary work. Research topics have included input technologies, visual perception and graphics, intelligent notifications and disruptions, and interfaces for search and personal information management. From 2010-2016, he managed the Technology for Emerging Markets group in Microsoft Research India, focusing on technologies and systems useful for people living in underserved rural and urban communities. His research now focuses on computing for disability, accessibility, and inclusive design with the Ability group at Microsoft Research.

Portrait of Mary CzerwinskiMary Czerwinski


Mary Czerwinski is a Research Manager of the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group at Microsoft Research.

Czerwinski’s research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, and health and wellness for individuals and groups. Her background is in visual attention and multitasking. Czerwinski holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington. Czerwinski was awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award, was inducted into the CHI Academy, and became an ACM Distinguished Scientist in 2010. Czerwinski became a Fellow of the ACM in 2016. She also received the Distinguished Alumni award from Indiana University’s Brain and Psychological Sciences department and a Distinguished Alumni award from the College of Arts and Sciences from Indiana. Czerwinski became a Fellow of the American Psychological Science Association.

Portrait of Premkumar DevanbuPremkumar Devanbu
University of California, Davis


Premkumar Devanbu is a Computer Science Professor at UC Davis. He works on research that  models software using statistical methods that are common in natural language processing. This line of work, called “software naturalness”, was pioneered at UC Davis. The goal of this research is to help reduce programmer effort now spent on the boring, repetitive elements that are a big portion of their work.

Devanbu earned his Bachelor’s degree at IIT Madras, India, and received a PhD from Rutgers University. After spending nearly 20 years as both a developer and researcher at AT&T Bell Labs and its various offshoots, he left industry to join academia in 1997. He has won the 10-year Most Influential Paper award the International Conference on Mining Software Repositories twice (2016 and 2019), and the Test of Time Award at ACM SIGSOFT ESEC/FSE conference twice (2018 and 2019). He is an ACM Fellow.

Portrait of Sidney D'MelloSidney D’Mello
University of Colorado


Sidney D’Mello is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. He was previously an Assistant (2012 to 2015) and Associate (2015 to 2017) Professor in the departments of Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Notre Dame.

His primary research interests are in the cognitive and affective sciences, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and the learning sciences. More specific interests include affective computing, artificial intelligence in education, speech recognition and natural language understanding, and computational models of human cognition.

D’Mello’s research focuses on uncovering the incidence, dynamics, and influence of affective and cognitive states (such as confusion, boredom, mind wandering, and frustration) during complex learning and problem solving, applying computational techniques to model these states in context, and integrating the models in learning environments to adaptively respond to the sensed states. His research uses a range of techniques and paradigms ranging from eye tracking, discourse modeling, speech recognition, physiological sensing, facial feature and posture tracking, nonlinear time series analyses, and machine learning. D’Mello has co-edited five books and has published more than 180 journal papers, book chapters, and conference proceedings in these areas.

D’Mello is an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, a senior reviewer for the Journal of Educational Psychology, and serves on the executive board of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society and Educational Data Mining Society.

Portrait of Steven DowSteven Dow
University of California, San Diego


Steven Dow is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, where he researches human-computer interaction, social computing, and creativity. Dow received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for research on “advancing collective innovation.” He was co-Primary Investigator on four other National Science Foundation grants, a Google Faculty Grant, Stanford’s Postdoctoral Research Award, and the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Grant. Dow was on the faculty in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds an MS and PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa.

Portrait of Steven M. DruckerSteven M. Drucker


Steven M. Drucker is a Principal Researcher and manager of the Visualization and Interactive Data Analysis (VIDA) Group at Microsoft Research, focusing on human-computer interaction for dealing with large amounts of information. In particular, he is exploring democratizing the process of understanding and explaining information through the creation of tools that facilitate discovery and communication of insights through natural interaction and storytelling techniques.

Drucker is also an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department. In the past, he has been a Principal Scientist in the LiveLabs Research Group at Microsoft, where he headed the Information Experiences Group working on user interaction and information visualization for web-based projects; a Lead Researcher in the Next Media Research Group examining how the addition of user interaction transforms conventional media; and Lead Researcher in the Virtual Worlds Group creating a platform for multi-user virtual environments.

Drucker has filed over 120 patent, and has published papers on technologies as diverse as exploratory search, information visualization, multi-user environments, online social interaction, hypermedia research, human and robot perceptual capabilities, robot learning, parallel computer graphics, spectator oriented gaming, and human interfaces for camera control.

Drucker received his PhD from the MIT Media Lab, with a focus on automatic camera control and navigation in virtual environments; an MS from the AI Laboratory at MIT on robot learning; and his BS in neurosciences from Brown University.

Portrait of Henry FuchsHenry Fuchs
University of North Carolina


Henry Fuchs is the Federico Gil Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill. He has been active in computer graphics since the early 1970s, with rendering algorithms (BSP Trees), hardware (Pixel-Planes and PixelFlow), virtual environments, tele-immersion systems, and medical applications. He received a PhD from the University of Utah.

He has been an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, and is currently on the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill. Fuchs is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the recipient of the ACM-SIGGRAPH Achievement Award, the Academic Award of the National Computer Graphics Association, 1997 Satava Award of the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference, the IEEE-VGTC Virtual Reality Career Award, and the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award.

Portrait of Dennis GannonDennis Gannon
Indiana University


Dennis Gannon is a computer scientist, researcher working on the application of cloud computing in science. His blog is at https://esciencegroup.com. He is co-author of the book “Cloud Computing for Science and Engineering” published by MIT Press. From 2008 until he retired in late 2014 he was with Microsoft Research and MSR Connections as the Director of Cloud Research Strategy. In this role he helped provide access to cloud computing resources to over 300 projects in the research and education community. Gannon is a professor emeritus of Computer Science at Indiana University and the former science director of the Indiana Pervasive Technology Labs. His interests include large-scale cyber infrastructure, programming systems and tools, distributed and parallel computing, data analysis and machine learning. He has published more than 200 refereed articles and three co-edited books.

Portrait of Andy GordonAndy Gordon


Andy Gordon is a Principal Research Manager at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Gordon’s main project is Calc Intelligence, which brings intelligence to end-user programming, especially spreadsheets.

Gordon also holds the Chair in Computer Security and is a member of the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science and the Security and Privacy group in the School of Informatics in the University of Edinburgh. Gordon convenes the University of Edinburgh Microsoft Research Joint Initiative in Informatics, and participates in both the Data Science PhD program and the Cyber Security & Privacy Research Network.

Before joining Microsoft in 1997, Gordon was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Gordon has been a Visiting Professor in the School of Computing Science at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Gordon’s research is on programming languages and their semantics and logics, with application to security and privacy, machine learning, concurrency, and databases. Gordon has published and lectured on: input/output in pure functional programming, hardware description languages, mobile computation, security protocols, web services security, distributed authorization, configuration management, and database programming languages. He has also worked on probabilistic programming for machine learning.

Portrait of Mar Gonzalez-FrancoMar Gonzalez-Franco


Mar Gonzalez-Franco is a researcher in the EPIC (Extended Perception Interaction and Cognition) team at Microsoft Research. In her research, Gonzalez-Franco strives to achieve strong immersive experiences using different disciplines: virtual reality, avatars, computer graphics, computer vision, and haptics – all while studying human behavior, perception, and neuroscience.

Portrait of Mary GrayMary Gray


Mary Gray is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Gray also maintains an appointment as Associate Professor of the Media School, with affiliations in American Studies, Anthropology, and Gender Studies at Indiana University.

Her research areas include how ethics, compliance routines and computer science research produce norms of vulnerability and risk in research involving human subjects. She also looks at the role of big data in human communication research and technology studies. Gray serves on the Executive Board of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research and is a past board member of the American Anthropological Association.

Saul GreenbergSaul Greenberg
University of Calgary


Saul Greenberg is a Faculty Professor and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary. While he is a computer scientist by training, the work by Saul and his talented students typify the cross-discipline aspects of human computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, and ubiquitous computing. He and his crew are well known for their development of:

  • toolkits enabling rapid prototyping of groupware and ubiquitous appliances;
  • innovative and seminal system designs based on observations of social phenomenon;
  • articulation of design-oriented social science theories, and refinement of evaluation methods.

Saul’s research is well-recognized. He is an ACM Fellow, and has held the AITF/NSERC/Smart Technologies Industrial Chair in Interactive Technologies. He was elected to the ACM CHI Academy for his overall contributions to the field of Human Computer Interaction, and also received the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award and the ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award.

Saul has also consulted for various well-known companies as an Expert Witness involving patent infringement matters.

Saul is a prolific author who has authored and edited several books and published many referred articles, available at his research web site. He is also known for his strong commitment in making his tools, systems, and educational material readily available to other researchers and educators.

Portrait of Danna GurariDanna Gurari
University of Texas, Austin


Danna Gurari completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the University of Texas at Austin’s computer science department, and she received her PhD from Boston University in the Image and Video Computing Group. Gurari also holds an MS in Computer Science and a BS in Biomedical Engineering, both from Washington University in St. Louis. Gurari has held industry positions at two leading technology companies: Boulder Imaging and Raytheon. Her research has been recognized with an Honorable Mention Award at CHI, Researcher Excellence Award from the Boston University computer science department, Best Paper Award for Innovative Idea at MICCAI IMIC, and Best Paper Award at WACV.

Portrait of Shi HanShi Han


Shi Han is a Lead Researcher in the Software Analytics and Data Intelligence group at Microsoft Research, Beijing. Han has been working in the same research group since joining Microsoft in April 2006. For more than ten years, Han’s research has focused on using data-driven techniques (such as machine learning, data mining, and more) to develop Microsoft products. Han’s research interests include: data mining, especially for multi-dimensional data analysis; and machine learning, especially for software/system quality and programming languages. Han received his MSE and BE from Zhejiang University.

Portrait of Caitlin HartCaitlin Hart


Caitlin Hart, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, works on software that enables people to be more productive and fulfilled. In her current role on the Microsoft To Do team, she is developing the Microsoft task/list/reminder ecosystem in partnership with a number of internal and external products. She believes that computers can make us better humans if we build the right things.

Portrait of Ahmed E. HassanAhmed E. Hassan
Queens University


Ahmed E. Hassan is an IEEE Fellow, an ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator, an NSERC Steacie Fellow, the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Software Analytics, and the NSERC/BlackBerry Software Engineering Chair at the School of Computing at Queen’s University, Canada. His research interests include empirical software engineering and the application of machine learning to software development and operation data. He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He spearheaded the creation of the Mining Software Repositories (MSR) conference and its research community. He also serves/d on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Springer Journal of Empirical Software Engineering, and PeerJ Computer Science. More information at: http://sail.cs.queensu.ca/

Portrait of Felienne HermansFelienne Hermans
Universiteit Leiden


Felienne Hermans is an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology. Her team at the Spreadsheet Lab works on making spreadsheets better by designing tools to test and improve them. Hermans enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for programming with others. As part of this, she co-organizes the yearly “Joy of Coding” conference in the Netherlands and teaches robotics at a community center.

Portrait of Louise HickmanLouise Hickman
University of California, San Diego


Louise Hickman is an activist and scholar of communication, and uses ethnographic, archival, and theoretical approaches to consider how access is produced for disabled people. Her current project focuses particularly on access produced by real-time stenographers and transcriptive technologies in educational settings. She uses an interdisciplinary lens drawing on feminist theory, critical disability studies, and science and technology studies to consider the historical conditions of access work, and the ways access is co-produced through human (and primarily female) labor, technological systems, and economic models and conditions. Hickman has previously served as an access consultant for ‘Catalyst: Feminism, Theory and Technoscience,’ a peer-reviewed, open-source journal advocating for a platform where access remains a reflexive, collaborative, and distributed effort in digital and disability design. She holds a PhD in Communication from the University of California, San Diego, and is currently working on her first manuscript: “The Automation of Access.”

Portrait of Ehsan HoqueEhsan Hoque
University of Rochester


Ehsan Hoque is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and an Asaro-Biggar (’92) Family fellow at the University of Rochester. Since 2018, Hoque has been the interim Director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science and he co-leads the Rochester Human-Computer Interaction (ROC HCI) Group. Hoque received his PhD from MIT in 2013.

Hoque’s interests center on developing computational tools to recognize the subtle nuances of human communication with a direct application of improving human ability.

Hoque’s team currently focuses on showing that through technology, we can improve the lives of disadvantaged, ill, disabled and other individuals who struggle with socio-emotional communication, such as those with autism, severe anxiety, neurodegenerative disease, and terminal illness. Other applications of his research include public speaking, job interviews, music training, negotiations, collaborations, and deception.

Hoque’s PhD thesis yielded the first scientific evidence that it is possible for humans to improve their socio-emotional skills through a virtual assistant. The project was highlighted by MIT Museum as one of the most unconventional inventions at MIT.

Portrait of Ayanna HowardAyanna Howard
Georgia Institute of Technology


Ayanna Howard focuses on technology development for intelligent agents. Howard has made significant contributions in the technology areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics. Her published research, currently numbering over 250 peer-reviewed publications, has been widely disseminated in international journals and conference proceedings.

Currently, Howard is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where she functions as the Director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAnS). In 2015, she founded and now directs the $3M traineeship initiative in healthcare robotics and functions as the lead investigator on the NSF undergraduate summer research program in robotics. She received her BS from Brown University, her MSEE from the University of Southern California, her PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, and her MBA from Claremont University, Drucker School of Management. In 2013, she founded Zyrobotics as a university spin-off and holds a position in the company as Chief Technology Officer. Howard has also worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where she was a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the multidisciplinary Robotics PhD program at Georgia Tech, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Portrait of Shamsi IqbalShamsi Iqbal


Shamsi Iqbal is a Senior Researcher in the Information and Data Sciences group at Microsoft Research. Iqbal’s primary research expertise is in the area of attention management for multitasking domains. Currently, he is focusing on how productivity is defined in the new era of multitasking and distraction, introducing novel ways of being productive and determining metrics for evaluating productivity. More specifically, Iqbal develops experiences and technology that helps people maintain focus when needed, but at the same time introduces new concepts of getting things done in limited focus environments.

Iqbal received a PhD in Computer Science and an MS in Computer Science, both from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Portrait of Ece KamarEce Kamar


Ece Kamar is a Senior Researcher at the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research. Kamar earned her PhD in computer science from Harvard University, where she was advised by Barbara Grosz. Kamar’s research spans several subfields of AI, including planning, machine learning, multi-agent systems, and human-computer teamwork, and is inspired by real-world applications that can benefit from the complementary abilities of people and AI. Kamar is particularly interested in the impact of AI on society and developing AI systems that are reliable, unbiased, and trustworthy.

Matthew KeyMatthew Kay
University of Michigan


Matthew Kay is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information working in human-computer interaction and information visualization. His research areas include uncertainty visualization, personal health informatics, and the design of human-centered tools for data analysis. He is intrigued by domains where complex information, like uncertainty, must be communicated to broad audiences (as in health risks, transit prediction, or weather forecasting). He co-directs the Midwest Uncertainty Collective along with Jessica Hullman.

Portrait of Jon KleinbergJon Kleinberg
Cornell University


Jon Kleinberg is a Professor at Cornell University. His research focuses on the interaction of algorithms and networks, and the roles they play in large-scale social and information systems. Kleinberg’s work has been supported by an NSF Career Award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, a Simons Investigator Award, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and grants from Facebook, Google, Yahoo, the MacArthur Foundation, the ARO, and the NSF. Kleinberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Portrait of Walter LaseckiWalter Lasecki
University of Michigan


Walter Lasecki is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, where he is the director of the CROMA Lab and a faculty member of the Computer Science and Engineering department.

He creates systems that use both human and machine computation to solve problems quickly and reliably. Lasecki has helped introduce the idea of continuous real-time crowdsourcing, as well as the crowd agent model, which uses computer-mediated groups of people submitting input simultaneously to create a collective intelligence capable of completing tasks better than any constituent member.

Lasecki’s areas of research include crowdsourcing, human computation, human-computer interaction, collective intelligence, artificial intelligence, and accessibility.

Nicolai MarquadtNicolai Marquadt
University College London


Nicolai Marquardt is Associate Professor in Physical Computing at University College London, where he is part of the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Brain Sciences. At the UCL Interaction Centre, he works on projects in the research areas of cross-device interaction, interactive surfaces, ubiquitous computing, sensor-based systems, prototyping toolkits and physical user interfaces. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, Canada. Nicolai is co-author of the Sketching User Experiences Workbook (Morgan Kaufmann 2011) and the Proxemic Interactions textbook (Morgan & Claypool 2015).

Portrait of Kathleen McCoyKathleen McCoy
University of Delaware


Kathleen McCoy, who joined the University of Delaware in 1985, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Her research focuses on computational linguistics/natural language processing and accessibility for people with disabilities. McCoy earned her BS degree in computer and information sciences from the University of Delaware. She received her MS and PhD degrees in computer and information sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. McCoy served as Director of University of Delaware’s Center for Applied Science and Engineering in Rehabilitation from 2000-2009. She has also been co-chair and chair of the College of Engineering Standing Committee on Diversity. McCoy is currently Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing.

Portrait of Jennifer NevilleJennifer Neville
Purdue University


Jennifer Neville’s research interests lie in the fields of machine learning and data mining. In particular, she focuses on the development and analysis of algorithms for relational domains, including social, information, and communication networks, as well as physical networks and distributed systems. Neville’s work can be broadly categorized into three areas: design and implementation of machine learning and data mining techniques; discovery of, and adjustment for, statistical biases due to network data characteristics; and application to real-world tasks.

Portrait of Besmira NushiBesmira Nushi


Besmira Nushi is a Researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction group in Microsoft Research. Nushi’s research work lies in the intersection of human and machine intelligence. She is currently excited about two main directions in this realm: human-AI collaboration for enhancing human capabilities while solving complex tasks, as well as troubleshooting and failure analysis for AI\ML systems for improving and accelerating the software development lifecycle of intelligent systems. Nushi is also involved in various research initiatives and projects that study the societal impact of artificial intelligence, as well as various quality-of-service aspects of AI, including interpretability, transparency, accountability and fairness.

Prior to joining Microsoft Research, in 2016, Nushi completed her PhD at ETH Zurich in the Systems Group. Her doctoral thesis focuses on building cost- and quality-aware models for integrating crowdsourcing in the process of building machine learning algorithms and systems. In 2011, she completed her MS in computer science in a double-degree MSc program at RWTH University of Aachen (Germany) and University of Trento (Italy) as an Erasmus Mundus scholar. She also has a diploma in Informatics from University of Tirana (Albania) from where she graduated in 2007.

Portrait of Eyal OfekEyal Ofek


Eyal Ofek is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. Ofek’s research interests include computer vision for human-computer interaction, Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR), haptics, and interactive projection mapping.

Ofek is on the editorial board of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, co-chaired the 19th ACM SIGSPATIAL 2011, and is on the program committee for several leading conferences. Ofek was a Visiting Lecturer at the School of Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzelia, Israel.

Ofek obtained his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, then founded a couple of companies in the area of computer graphics, including the successful Photon-Paint for the Amiga computer. He also managed software research and development at 3DV Systems and developed the world’s first active real-time depth cameras, later bought by Microsoft in 2008.

Ofek was previously a researcher at Microsoft Research Asia, working on issues such as video completion, reconstruction of hair from images, and camera-based interaction, followed by founding the Virtual Earth Research Lab (aka, Bing Mapping and Mobile Research Lab). The lab developed and shipped new innovations to Microsoft Virtual Earth and Bing, such as the first Street-View Site (2006), Image Privacy, automatic geo-positioning user images, and text detection in images. Ofek also managed a group of researchers at Microsoft’s eXtream Computing Group (XCG) in the areas of AR and Graphics.

Portrait of Jacki O'NeillJacki O’Neill


Jacki O’Neill works in the Technologies for Emerging Markets area at Microsoft, with the aim to understand where and how technology can be used to improve the lives of people with lower socio-economic status, whether that be through work, health, education, or play.

To this end, O’Neill conducts ethnographies of people’s everyday practices – both with and without technology – and uses this to inform the design of new technologies. Such prototypes are then tested ‘in the wild’ as part of an iterative design cycle that aims to produce useful and usable technologies. Her research falls into the domains of human-computer interaction, computer supported co-operative work and, more recently, information and communication technologies for development.

Philip PizzoPhil Pizzo
Stanford University


Philip Pizzo, MD, is the David and Susan Heckerman Professor and Founding Director of the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute. Pizzo served as Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine from 2001 to 2012, where he was also the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology. Pizzo has devoted much of his distinguished medical career to the diagnosis, management, prevention and treatment of childhood cancers and the infectious complications that occur in children whose immune systems are compromised by cancer and AIDS. He has also been a leader in academic medicine, championing programs and policies to improve the future of science, education and healthcare in the US and beyond.

Pizzo received his MD degree from the University of Rochester, and completed a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and a clinical and research fellowship in pediatric oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Pizzo served as head of NCI’s infectious disease section, chief of its pediatric department, and acting scientific director for its Division of Clinical Sciences. Before joining Stanford in 2001, he was the physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital in Boston and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Pizzo is the author of more than 615 scientific articles and 16 books and monographs, including Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. He has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal, the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Award and the John Howland Award, the highest honor for lifetime achievement bestowed by the American Pediatric Society.

He has been elected to a number of prestigious organizations and societies, and has served as Chair of the Association of Academic Health Centers, Chair of the Council of Deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and on the board for the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Current Opinion in Pediatrics.

Portrait of Victor PoznanskiVictor Poznanski


Victor Poznanski has a PhD in Computational Linguistics from the University of Cambridge. He managed a team of research scientists for Sharp Corporation, working on a wide variety of projects, ranging from portable translation devices to improving the quality of TV images. For the past 10 years, Victor has worked in Product Management at Microsoft, where he focusses on harnessing cutting-edge technologies to improve our user’s lives, especially using Machine Learning and Search.

Portrait of Gonzalo RamosGonzalo Ramos


Gonzalo Ramos is a Researcher at Microsoft Research AI where he works at the intersection of HCI and ML to empower people to achieve more through novel interactions with information and technology.

He received his M.Sc and PhD from the University of Toronto’s Computer Science Department, specializing in Scientific Visualization and HCI, respectively. Prior to Microsoft Research, Gonzalo was part of the leadership team at Amazon’s Concept Lab, worked as a UX Scientist at Amazon’s Grand Challenges Group, as well as a Scientist at Microsoft’s Live Labs and Online Services Division.

Portrait of Chris ReChris Re
Stanford University


Chris Re is an Associate Professor affiliated with DAWN, Statistical Machine Learning Group, PPL, and SAIL. Re works on the foundations of the next generation of machine-learning systems. These systems draw on ideas from databases, machine learning, and theory, and Re’s group is active in all areas. They build software to more deeply understand the challenges and opportunities of these systems.

Portrait of Nathalie RicheNathalie Riche


Nathalie Riche has been a researcher at Microsoft Research since December 2008. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Paris XI and Inria, France, as well as from the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on human-computer interaction and information visualization.

Riche’s research interests include data-driven storytelling, data and visualization literacy, visual exploration of graphs and networks, and interfaces for thinking with data.

Portrait of Sean RintelSean Rintel


Sean Rintel is a Researcher in the Human Experience & Design group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. His work investigates how communication technologies interact with language, social action, and culture.

His work in video-mediated collaboration, enterprise social media platforms, cross-device interaction and device ecologies, and engineering culture draws on ethnographic data analyzed using qualitative methods such as conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis.

Rintel has published on topics ranging from video calling in personal relationships, to ambient audio technologies to support independent living, social media in the workplace, crisis memes, error mascots, Internet culture, and cross-device interaction in video-mediated collaboration.

Rintel has been a member of three global first-place winning projects in Microsoft OneWeek Hackathons, including one on Mobile Sharing and Companion Experiences for Microsoft Teams Meetings.

Portrait of Skip RizzoSkip Rizzo
University of Southern California


Skip Rizzo is the Associate Director for Medical Virtual Reality at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. He conducts research on the design, development, and evaluation of VR systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation, and resilience. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. Rizzo, whose work using VR-based exposure therapy to treat PTSD, received the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Treatment of Trauma. Rizzo also holds research professor appointments with the USC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Rizzo is working with a team that is creating artificially intelligent virtual patients that clinicians can use to practice the skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments. His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities, and executive function. In the motor domain, he has developed VR game systems to address physical rehabilitation post-stroke and traumatic brain injury, and for prosthetic use training.

Rizzo is senior editor of the MIT Press journal, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. He also sits on a number of editorial boards for journals in the areas of cognition and computer technology (Cognitive Technology; Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds; Media Psychology).

Portrait of Yvonne RogersYvonne Rogers
University College London


Yvonne Rogers is the director of the Interaction Centre at University College London, a professor of Interaction Design and the deputy head of department in the Computer Science Department. Former positions include professorships at the Open University, Indiana University and Sussex University; she has also been a visiting professor at University Cape Town, University of Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology, Stanford University, Apple and UCSD. She is internationally renowned for her work in human-computer interaction, interaction design and ubiquitous computing. She was awarded a prestigious EPSRC dream fellowship to rethink the relationship between ageing, computing and creativity. She is passionate about designing computers that are engaging, exciting and even provocative. She has published over 250 articles and is a co-author of the definitive textbook on Interaction Design that has sold over 200,000 copies worldwide and been translated into 6 languages.

Portrait of Shree SahasrabudheShree Sahasrabudhe


As a Program Manager on the Bing Experiences team, Shree and his team strive to deliver the best product quality and whole page experience for the most ubiquitous and essential online habit—search—in Bing. Before joining the Bing team, Shree was on the Health Solutions Group development team. Going back further, he helped build products in various early and mid-stage companies, focusing on areas of machine diagnostics, two-step authentication, and mobile software.

Portrait of Flora SalimFlora Salim
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology


Flora Salim is an Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science and Information Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She obtained her PhD in Computer Science from Monash University. Her research areas are mobile and pervasive computing, urban computing, activity, and behavior recognition, and applied data mining and machine learning for ambient intelligence. She has secured nationally competitive grants from ARC, Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network, and local and global industry partners, including Microsoft, IBM, and Northrop Grumman.

Portrait of Constantine SandisConstantine Sandis
University of Hertsfordshire


Constantine Sandis is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an international collaborator of the Centre de Recherche en Éthique (CRÉ) in Montréal. Sandis was previously Professor of Philosophy at Oxford Brookes University and Visiting Fellow at the Collegium for Advanced Studies in Helsinki. He received his first degree from St Anne’s College, Oxford and his PhD from the University of Reading.

Portrait of Elizabeth StokoeElizabeth Stokoe
Loughborough University


Elizabeth Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction in the School of Social Sciences at Loughborough University; Professor II at University of South-Eastern Norway, and an Industry Fellow at Typeform. She uses conversation analysis to understand how talk works – from first dates to medical communication and from sales encounters to hostage negotiation. She has also developed ways of working with membership categorization analysis to investigate categorial topics, mostly gender and identity in interaction. Outside the university, she runs workshops with doctors, mediators, salespeople, police and other professionals using her research-based communication training method called the “Conversation Analytic Role-play Method”. She is a WIRED Innovation Fellow and her research and biography were featured on the BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific. In addition to publishing over 120 scientific papers and books, she is passionate about science communication, translating the world of conversation analysis for audiences of all kinds. She has given TED, New Scientist, Google and Royal Institution lectures, and performed at Latitude Festival and Cheltenham Science Festival. Her book, Talk: The Science of Conversation, is published by Little, Brown (2018).

Portrait of Margaret-Anne StoreyMargaret-Anne Storey
University of Victoria


Margaret-Anne Storey is a Professor of Computer Science and the Co-Director of the Matrix Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Victoria. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Human and Social Aspects of Software Engineering, and held the Lise Meitner Guest Professorship at Lund University in Sweden from 2016 to 2018, a professorship that promotes gender diversity in science.

Storey’s research goal is to understand how software tools, communication media, data visualizations, and social theories can be leveraged to improve how software engineers and knowledge workers explore, understand, analyze and share complex information and knowledge. She has published widely on these topics and over the past several years has collaborated with product teams and researchers at Microsoft to understand developer satisfaction and developer productivity, with the goal of improving their engineering systems and processes.

Portrait of Neel SundaresanNeel Sundaresan


Neel Sundaresan is the Partner Director of Cloud and AI at Microsoft, where he leads advanced engineering and applied research in the area of the Internet of Code (IoC). With the availability of massive amounts of code and associated metadata, the world of software development is undergoing a major revolution. Sundaresan leads work in the area that combines cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and compiler technologies.

Sundaresan combines his original training and experience in compilers, program generators, and distributed scientific computing, with his experience in building scalable AI systems in the Internet of search and commerce to build systems for IoC.

Sundaresan has been published in more than 100 publications, has more than 170 issued patents.

Portait of Melissa ValentineMelissa Valentine
Stanford University


Melissa Valentine is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Management Science and Engineering Department, and co-director of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization (WTO).

Prof. Valentine’s research focuses on understanding how new technologies change work and organizations. She conducts in-depth observational studies to develop new understanding about new forms of organizing. Her work makes contributions to understanding classic and longstanding challenges in designing groups and organizations (e.g., the role of hierarchy, how to implement change, team stability vs. flexibility) but also brings in deep knowledge of how the rise of information technology has made possible new and different team and organizational forms. Her most recent study examined how the deployment of new algorithms changed the organizational structure of a retail tech company.

Prof. Valentine has won awards for both research and teaching. She and collaborators won a Best Paper Award at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and the Outstanding Paper with Practical Implications award from the Organizational Behavior division of the Academy of Management. In 2013, she won the Organization Science/INFORMS dissertation proposal competition and received her PhD from Harvard University.

Portrait of Markus WeimerMarkus Weimer


Markus Weimer is an architect in Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. Weimer’s group develops ML.NET, Microsoft’s machine learning toolkit. He is also a member of the Apache Software Foundation and was the inaugural PMC chair of Apache REEF. Weimer’s work focuses on machine learning techniques, systems, and applications. Prior to this, he led the machine learning research group of the Cloud Information Services Laboratory (CISL) at Microsoft and was a researcher at Yahoo! Research.

Portrait of Daniel WeldDaniel Weld
University of Washington


Daniel S. Weld is Thomas J. Cable / WRF Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Entrepreneurial Faculty Fellow at the University of Washington. He received Bachelor degrees in both Computer Science and Biochemistry at Yale University and a PhD from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. He received a Presidential Young Investigator’s award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator’s award, was named AAAI Fellow, and deemed ACM Fellow. Weld was a founding editor for the Journal of AI Research, area editor for the Journal of the ACM, guest editor for Computational Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, and was Program Chair for AAAI-96. Weld has published two books and numerous technical papers.

Weld is an active entrepreneur, with several patents and technology licenses. He co-founded Netbot Incorporated, created Jango Shopping Search (acquired by Excite), AdRelevance (acquired by Nielsen NetRatings), and data integration company Nimble Technology (acquired by Actuate). Weld is a Venture Partner at the Madrona Venture Group and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Madrona Venture Group.

Portrait of Eoin WhelanEoin Whelan
National University of Ireland, Galway


Eoin Whelan is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute d’Economie Scientifique et de Gestion (IESEG), France, and a visiting researcher at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Whelan received his PhD from NUI Galway in 2010. His current research interests focus upon understanding how social media technologies influence worker stress, decision making, productivity, creativity, and work-life conflict. His publications have appeared in the journals MIT Sloan Management Review, Information Systems Journal, R&D Management, Journal of Information Technology, and Information & Organization. Whelan’s MIT Sloan paper on open innovation networks won the prestigious Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize. The findings of his research have also been featured in mainstream international outlets such as Forbes, Financial Times, Fortune, Reuters, Irish Independent, and the Irish Times.

Whelan received the NUI Galway President’s Early Stage Researcher Award. Whelan is a Senior Editor of Information & Organization, and Information Technology & People and was also lead editor for two special issues: Journal of the Association of Information Systems (2014, The role of IS in enabling open innovation), and Information Systems Journal (2013, Interpreting digital enabled social networks). Prior to his academic career, Whelan held a variety of business analyst positions in Ireland, New Zealand, and the US.

Portrait of Steve WhitakerSteve Whittaker
University of California, Santa Cruz


Steve Whittaker is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at University of California at Santa Cruz. Probably best known for his work on email overload and computer mediated communication, he uses approaches that are motivated by the social sciences to design novel interactive systems that address important human problems. He is a member of the CHI Academy, and Editor of the journal Human Computer Interaction. He received a Lifetime Research Achievement Award from SIGCHI (Special interest group on Computer Human Interaction). He is also a Fellow of the Association for Computational Machinery. He has worked both in industry and academia, at IBM Labs, AT&T Bell Labs, and University of Sheffield, UK. His current interests are in personal informatics and computational well-being. His most recent book with Ofer Bergman is The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff, from MIT Press.

Portrait of Ryen WhiteRyen White


Ryen White is a Partner Researcher and Research Manager at Microsoft Research. Recently, White led the applied science organization for Cortana, served as chief scientist at Microsoft Health, and was a principal researcher at Microsoft Research.

Jaime WoodcockJamie Woodcock
Oxford Internet Institute


Jamie Woodcock is a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. He is the author of Working The Phones, a study of a call center in the UK. His current research involves developing co-research projects with workers in the so-called gig economy. He is on the editorial board of Notes from Below and Historical Materialism.

Woodcock’s current research focuses on digital labor, the sociology of work, the gig economy, resistance, and videogames. Woodcock completed his PhD in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and has held positions at Goldsmiths, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Queen Mary, NYU London, Cass Business School, and the LSE.

Portrait of Matei ZahariaMatei Zaharia
Stanford University


Matei Zaharia is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and Chief Technologist at Databricks. His research covers systems for large scale data analysis, machine learning and cloud computing. During his PhD at UC Berkeley, Matei started the Apache Spark cluster computing engine, co-started the Apache Mesos cluster manager, and contributed to other widely used distributed software such as Apache Hadoop. Matei’s work was recognized through the 2014 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for the best PhD dissertation in computer science, the VMware Systems Research Award, and an NSF CAREER Award.

Portrait of Ce ZhangCe Zhang
ETH Zurich


Ce Zhang is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at ETH Zürich. Zhang believes that by making data—along with the processing of data—easily accessible to laypeople, there is the potential to make the world a better place. Zhang’s current research focuses on building data systems to support machine learning and help facilitate other sciences. Before joining ETH, Zhang was advised by Christopher Ré. He finished his PhD round-tripping between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University, and spent another year as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford. His PhD work produced DeepDive, a trained data system for automatic knowledgebase construction. Zhang participated in the research efforts that won a SIGMOD Best Paper Award and a SIGMOD Research Highlight Award, and was featured in special issues, including “Best of VLDB” and Nature magazine.

Portrait of Ben ZornBen Zorn


Ben Zorn is a Principal Researcher and co-manager of the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group in Microsoft Research.

Previously, Zorn was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado. Zorn has a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MS and PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Zorn’s research interests include programming language design and implementation and performance measurement and analysis.

Zorn has served as an Associate Editor of the ACM journals Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization. He is currently a member of the ACM SIGPLAN Executive Committee. Zorn has also served as the Program Chair and General Chair of PLDI and is currently serving as a member of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council.

Technology showcase


Calendar.help: A Virtual Meeting Scheduling Assistant

Presenters: Pamela Bhattacharya [Video]

Abstract: Scheduling meetings is tedious. It gets even more challenging when people use different calendaring systems or meet across different time zones. People need to have multiple dialogues to find an optimal time for them to meet that takes away their ability to focus on more demanding tasks. Surveys on hundreds of information workers, in a wide range of industries and roles, have citied scheduling meetings as the most cumbersome task. While online calendar sharing tools like Outlook and Google calendar and polling tools like Doodle make scheduling less cumbersome, users still do not have a seamless scheduling experience. Leveraging state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI), we created a virtual assistant that could handle the conversational back-and-forth required for scheduling meetings, much the same way that executive admins schedule meetings for CEOs. Calendar.help is a system that provides fast, efficient scheduling through structured workflows. Users interact with the system via email, delegating their scheduling needs to the system as if it were a human personal assistant.

Learn more at https://calendar.help/about

Workplace Intelligence

Presenters: Nikolay Trandev

Abstract: The networked and digitized world we live in has fundamentally changed how we work. The pace of change is quicker than ever before and with change comes uncertainty. Effective responses to uncertainty require people and companies to continuously learn and refine their mental models. This demands understanding and facilitating efficient flows of information and enabling agile execution. We are using large scale collaboration networks, machine learning and management science to create a visual data experience that brings to life information flows in the enterprise, helps executives see their companies in new ways and assess whether they have the right structural foundation to achieving their business goals.

Spreadsheet Understanding Using Statistics and Deep Learning

Presenters: Ben Zorn [Video]

Abstract: Spreadsheets allow users to combine data, computation, and presentation in compelling ways that allow analysis, exploration, insight, and communication. By applying machine learning and AI based on deep neural networks to spreadsheets, and combining that signal with traditional program analysis and program synthesis, we are able to extract user intent from weak signals like formatting and presentation and use this information to make spreadsheets more correct and easier to use.

Spreadsheet Intelligence for Ideas of Excel

Presenters: Shi Han [Video]

Abstract: Ideas in Excel aims at such one-click intelligence—when a user clicks the Ideas button on the Home tab of Excel, the intelligent service will empower the user to understand his or her data via automatic recommendation of visual summaries and interesting patterns. Then the user can insert the recommendations to the spreadsheet to help further analysis or as analysis result directly. To enable such one-click intelligence, there are underlying technical challenges to solve. At the Data, Knowledge and Intelligence area of Microsoft Research Asia, we have long-term research on spreadsheet intelligence and automated insights accordingly. And via close collaboration with Excel product teams, we transferred a suite of technologies and shipped Ideas in Excel together. In this demo, we will show this intelligent feature and corresponding technologies.

Learn more at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/spreadsheet-intelligence/

AI in PowerPoint

Presenters: Derek Johnson, Kostas Seleskerov [Video]

Abstract: PowerPoint now includes AI technologies to help people create better presentations and become better presenters. Come see how AI helps make creating presentations quicker and easier with Designer and Presenter Coach. Learn how PowerPoint can listen to you practice and provide helpful tips for improvement.

Charticulator: Interactive Construction of Bespoke Chart Layouts

Presenters: Bongshin Lee, Kate Lytvynets [Video]

Abstract: Charticulator is an interactive authoring tool that enables the creation of bespoke and reusable chart layouts. Charticulator is our response to most existing chart construction interfaces that require authors to choose from predefined chart layouts, thereby precluding the construction of novel charts. In contrast, Charticulator transforms a chart specification into mathematical layout constraints and automatically computes a set of layout attributes using a constraint-solving algorithm to realize the chart. It allows for the articulation of novel layouts with expressive glyphs and links between these glyphs, without requiring any coding or knowledge of constraint satisfaction. Furthermore, thanks to the constraint-based layout approach, Charticulator can export chart designs into reusable templates that can be imported into other visualization tools such as Microsoft Power BI. In this exhibit, we will demo how easily and quickly you can create a wide range of charts using Charticulator, and then reuse the chart designs as custom visuals in Microsoft Power BI.

Microsoft Teams: Collaborate with Any Researcher Anywhere

Presenters: Jethro Seghers, Juliano Menegazzo Souza [Video]

Abstract: See how researchers from the Heart Research Institute collaborate in real-time on documents, meet online and chat with confidence their intellectual property is protected using Microsoft Teams. Save your grant funding because Microsoft Teams is free for education and brings the ability to also integrate 3rd party apps to streamline workflows.

Microsoft Whiteboard: Digital, Freeform Canvas for Creative Collaboration

Presenters: Arpita Verma, Faith Allington, Meg Grounds [Video]

Abstract: We are seeing a shift in the way people work and collaborate across spaces and locations. Designed for modern workplaces, Microsoft Whiteboard is a freeform intelligent canvas where teams can brainstorm, plan, and iterate. It enhances teamwork by allowing all team members to collaborate directly on the canvas from any device in real-time, no matter where they are.

Immersive Storytelling with Data in Plain & Mixed Reality

Presenters: Dan Marshall [Video]

Abstract: Immersive visualization and storytelling techniques allow insights in complex data to be more effectively communicated to users.

Intelligence & Society

Computer Aided Diagnosis of Fungal Infections

Presenters: Yan Xu, Eric Chang [Video]

Abstract: Fungal diseases are an increasing threat to human health around the world and have been estimated to kill more than 1.5M and impact over 1 billion people worldwide each year. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections are still challenging in many regions around the world due to the lack of knowledge and training in healthcare professionals. In this collaborative project between Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beihang University, Pfizer, and Microsoft, we are using computer vision techniques to help doctors diagnosis the most commonly seen fungal infections in hospitals in China. The goal is to create a system that will help fungal infection specialists to more quickly and accurately diagnosis the types of fungal infection and provide relevant information.

Automating Image-Based Biodiversity Surveys

Presenters: Dan Morris [Video]

Abstract: Microsoft’s AI for Earth program develops tools at the intersection of machine learning and environmental science, through both external grants and first-party development. This demo will showcase our work on using computer vision to break the “annotation logjam” facing ecologists, who collectively spend millions of hours and millions of dollars each year annotating images to estimate wildlife populations.

The Perspective Engine: Making Numbers Easier to Understand

Presenters: Chinmay Singh, Jake Hofman, Dan Goldstein [Video]

Abstract: The Perspective Engine is an AI tool that automates the process of putting giant and unfamiliar numbers into familiar context, such as demonstrating the capacity of a CD-ROM with a stack of paper hundreds of feet tall. It is already live in Bing, where it improves the answer to the questions like “How big is Afghanistan?” by supplementing “251,827 square miles” with the context “about the size of Texas” for US readers. It puts demographics, nutritional information, fuel efficiency and much more into perspective. Our demo will feature interactive touchscreen guessing games about unfamiliar numbers and will show people how the Perspective Engine can help make these numbers easier to understand. We will demonstrate the Perspective Engine in Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Office365.

Error Terrain Analysis for Machine Learning: Tool and Visualizations

Presenters: Ece Kamar, Besmira Nushi

Abstract: Developing and maintaining reliable and unbiased machine learning systems requires a deep understanding of system failures and rigorous evaluation processes. Aggregated and high-level evaluation methods such as single-score performance numbers or even multi-class confusion matrices often hide important conditions of failure and thus does not provide guidance for improvement. In this demo, we present ongoing work to build an error analysis tool, which helps engineers accelerate the development process by moving beyond aggregate scores to reveal a broader error terrain. The tool uses interpretable machine learning to discover combination of patterns in data that can seperate model successes from failures and provides multiple views to enable interactivity with developers.

Developer Tools

Surface Hub 2S: Surface Device for the Modern Workplace

Presenters: Alejandro Caraza Duhne

Abstract: The work place is changing. People are collaborating more than ever – with more than 70% of work now involving multiple people. Remote work is rising, and is a constant part of most work across industries and functions. And companies are under continued pressure to be more agile, cost efficient and flexible. In order to meet the needs of this modern workplace, we’re launching the Surface Hub 2S. A device built for collaboration, from premium and flexible hardware to the custom tailored software, Surface Hub 2S enables immersive collaboration, bringing to life Teams and Whiteboard and provided unmatched group productivity to users.

FASTER: An Embedded Key-Value Store for State Management

Presenters: Badrish Chandramouli [Video]

Abstract: Management of large application state is one of the hardest problems for cloud and edge apps today. We demonstrate FASTER, a new open-source concurrent key-value store from Microsoft Research, that supports larger-than-memory data while providing unprecedented performance for the hot working set in main memory. FASTER achieves up to orders-of-magnitude better throughput than systems deployed widely today. FASTER is available in C# and C++ and can work with any storage backend such as local SSD and cloud storage. FASTER is currently being integrated into services such as Azure Stream Analytics. Our demonstration focuses on: (1) the ease with which cloud applications and state stores can deeply integrate state management into their C# or C++ logic at low overhead; and (2) the innovative system design and the resulting high performance, adaptability to varying memory capacities, durability, and natural caching properties of our system.

AI Assisted Software Development and Diagnostics

Presenters: Chetan Bansal, Rahul Kumar, Chandra Maddila [Video]

Abstract: With the shift from boxed products to services, rich data is available from all stages of the Software Development Life Cycle. By leveraging this data, AI can assist software engineers, break down organizational boundaries and make our products more robust. We will demonstrate several AI powered features like reviewer recommendation, test load reduction and automated root causing for boosting developer and infrastructure productivity.

Project Conversation Learner: Democratizing AI for Bot Development

Presenters: Lars Liden, Swadheen Shukla [Video]

Abstract: Project Conversation Learner aims to revolutionize the way task-oriented bots are built, by applying the tenets of machine teaching to empower non-developers to create and maintain task-oriented bots. By leveraging machine learning models to drive conversations, researchers from Microsoft Research abstracted building a bot—from coding a set of rules to simply providing a set of example interactions.

To realize this vision, the team first introduced Hybrid Code Networks (HCNs), which combine an RNN with domain-specific knowledge, and which demonstrate the capability of the system on an industry-standard sample data set. Later, by collaborating with product and customer-facing teams, we created a customer-ready SDK and shipped it through a pre-preview release channel.

Program Synthesis meets Notebooks (was Multi-Objective Interactive Program Synthesis)

Presenters: Ashish Tiwari, Sumit Galwani [Video]

Abstract: PROSE (PROgram Synthesis using Examples) is a program synthesis technology that can generate programs from a few input-output examples. It is a general-purpose technique that can be instantiated to specific domains by designing a domain-specific language (DSL) over which programs are synthesized.

In the past, program synthesis was mainly used as a black-box to perform data transformation tasks. Recently, there is interest in opening up the technique by introducing interactivity in the program synthesis process, and also exposing the synthesized program to the user. This leads us to two problems. The first pertains to finding the input on which to query the user so that the program synthesis engine can quickly converge to the user-intended program. The second problem is concerned with finding programs that are easier to translate into readable code.

For the first problem, we use an information-theoretic approach to find the input that provides the most additional information about the identity of the user-intended program. The second problem is an instance of multi-objective program synthesis. We present a three-phase modular approach for this problem that combines classical program synthesis with a second phase that performs a global search for the optimal program and a third phase that performs a local search to further improve the discovered program.

We have built these new approaches into PROSE, and we now have a Python SDK for PROSE. The Python SDK allows users to synthesize Python code that users can see, edit, execute, and incorporate in their larger project. To illustrate the power of these new developments, we demonstrate the use of the PROSE Python SDK on a data preparation task. PROSE Python SDK can be used to significantly expedite tasks pertaining to data ingestion, data inspection, data transformation, and datatype detection.

Visual Studio IntelliCode

Presenters: Mark Wilson-Thomas, Shengyu Fu, Gustavo Soares [Video]

Abstract: Visual Studio IntelliCode brings the wisdom of your coding community to your aid right inside your development environment, delivering context-sensitive machine-learning assisted recommendations in your code editor, and soon delivering PROSE-based tools to discover cases where you may have missed a refactoring when making repeated edits, as you edit. Mark, Shengyu and Gustavo will demonstrate these capabilities and explain how they have been developed.

Quantum Development Kit, Q#, and Katas

Presenters: Alan Geller, Andres Paz, Chris Granade, Bettina Heim, Guang Hao Low, Mariia Mykhailova [Video]

Abstract: Microsoft’s Quantum development kit (QDK) and its programing language, Q#, are poised to empower both research and education in quantum computing and quantum programming. We can show how the resources estimator provided with the QDK is used to perform profiling of quantum algorithms, allowing researchers to report accurate costs for quantum algorithms, and helping assess commercial applications of quantum computing. For example, we can show how to import descriptions of chemical problems into Q# with our chemistry library (developed by QuArC researchers), and how to further process it there by applying several different quantum algorithms. Finally, we show how to use the quantum katas, each a sequence of programming tasks of increasing complexity, to expand and empower the quantum community through education. The QDK is provided with kata-based tutorials help to teach basic concepts of quantum computing such as superposition or measurement, or quantum algorithms (e.g. Grover search algorithm), providing a valuable tool for developers looking to get started in quantum computing.

Project Alava: Programming Webs of Microcontrollers

Presenters: Tom Ball, James Devine (Lancaster University), Peli de Halleux, Steve Hodges, Teddy Seyed (University of Calgary) [Video]

Abstract: The goal of Project Alava is to enable the easy construction, programming and debugging of microcontroller-based systems, followed by refinement to an optimized realization. High-level programming of the desired system in TypeScript using capability-based APIs translates into requirements on the hardware, allowing for many kinds of hardware components to be used with no code changes. A web-based hardware simulator allows for program testing, debugging and performance estimation before deployment. Alava compiles the high-level program into an executable containing a compatible hardware manifest, which greatly aids the configuration and debugging of the resulting system. To facilitate rapid prototyping, Alava leverages JACDAC (https://jacdac.org) which provides a lightweight but powerful bus-based communication protocol for embedded systems. JACDAC allows boards and modules to be combined simply and quickly. The first application of Project Alava to fashion technology (Project Brookdale) took place in May 2019.


Drawiz: Making Technical Diagrams Accessible to People with Visual Impairments

Presenter(s): Gopal Srinivasa [Video]

Abstract: We have all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is particularly true in STEM fields where technical diagrams are used universally as a core construct for communicating ideas. And people with visual impairments are denied the wealth of information that is present in these diagrams simply because they are inaccessible. Drawiz aims to remedy this situation by generating detailed, navigable, and audible descriptions of technical diagrams for people with visual impairments.

VERSE: Voice. Exploration. Retrieval. Search.

Presenters: Adam Fourney [Video]

Abstract: People with visual impairments are expert users of audio interfaces, including voice-activated virtual assistants and screen readers. Through interviews and surveys of this population, we learned that virtual assistants are convenient and accessible, but lack the ability to deeply engage with content (for example, to read beyond the first sentence of a Wikipedia article), and the ability to present a quick overview of the information landscape (for example, to list other search results and search verticals). In contrast, traditional screen readers are powerful and allow for deeper engagement with content (when content is accessible), but at the cost of increased complexity and decreased walk-up-and-use convenience. Our prototype, VERSE (Voice Exploration, Retrieval, and SEarch), combines the positive aspects of virtual assistants and screen readers to better support free-form, voice-based web search. As with screen readers, VERSE addresses the need to provide shortcuts and accelerators for common actions. Specifically, VERSE allows users to perform gestures on a companion device such as a phone or smart watch. These companion devices are not strictly necessary, but help overcome the long activation phrases that can become tedious when repeated to smart speakers.

Multi-Device Experiences (MDX) Toolkit

Presenters: Ryen W. White, Robert Sim [Video]

Abstract: The Multi-Device Experiences (MDX) toolkit is an extensible cloud AI service hosted in Azure that enables research and development on task-focused scenarios spanning multiple devices. The toolkit enables developers to create intelligent, interactive experiences that capitalize on the strengths of using multiple devices simultaneously, such as an Echo plus an iPad. It provides support for user authentication and authorization, session management, and state reflection across devices. The toolkit leverages machine intelligence for intent understanding and the contextual answering of questions. Our demo features a proof-of-concept cooking scenario powered by the MDX toolkit, which allows users to follow a recipe hands-free, with voice navigation and contextual Q&A. The toolkit is designed to be extended to scenarios beyond cooking, including education, gaming, and accessibility. Our exhibit also describes the MDX research platform, which enables researchers to stand up new multi-device scenarios with minimal infrastructure investment, easily onboard new devices and device form factors, and access collated and synchronized logs from the service, model providers, and devices.

Touching the Void

Presenters: Mar Gonzalez Franco

Abstract: As devices become more multimodal and render higher resolutions they create new capabilities for perceptual experiences that drive our interactions. We present a series of visio-tactile illusions inside Virtual Reality, that can help us touch the void, but might also be applicable to pen and touch or other visuo-tactile interactions.

Sensing Posture-Aware Pen + Touch Interaction

Presenters: Michel Pahud

Abstract: We realize fine-grained posture sensitivity through a combination of sensors—including orientation (tilt) sensitivity, raw capacitance image data from the touchscreen, and a bezel-integrated electric field sensor for detecting hand proximity above and around the screen.

Our demo will show that these sensors enable devices such as tablets, which transition frequently between various types of stationary and mobile use, to adapt their interfaces and interactive behavior to uniquely suit the user—however the user is gripping, holding, or using the device.

In general this notion of posture awareness is important to the next wave of more natural, hybrid desktop/mobile computing that uniquely fits Microsoft’s productivity-on-the-go vision, and is appearing in various forms in Microsoft’s line of products, as well as new form-factors being considered for the future.

Accessible Virtual Reality

Presenters: Eyal Ofek [Video]

Abstract: We present SeeingVR, which enables users with low vision to better enjoy VR and complete tasks more quickly and accurately. It consists of a set of 14 tools that enhance a VR application for people with low vision by providing visual and audio augmentations. A user can select, adjust, and combine different tools based on their preferences. SeeingVR enables developers to increase their applications’ accessibility using a simple Unity Toolkit, or modify existing VR applications via a plugin.


Friday, July 19

Cars, Computing, and the Future of Work: A UW & MSR Workshop

Abstract: The workshop will address challenges, opportunities, and futures at the intersection of mobility and productivity, including issues around tools to support meetings and work efforts in mobile settings, the changing terrain of mobile work with advances in driving automation, and issues and opportunities around cognition in mobile settings, including addressing concerns around safety and distraction via technologies and policies that understand and support attentional needs and human cognition more generally. The goal of the workshop is to promote the sharing of ideas among researchers, to establish new collaborations, and to layout a roadmap for future research along key themes addressed at the workshop.

Event owners: Shamsi Iqbal, Ed Doran

Videos: 9:00 AM-10:40 AM | 1:00 PM-2:20 PM

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
8:00 AM–9:00 AM Breakfast (provided)
9:00 AM–9:20 AM Welcome and introductions Eric Horvitz, Linda Boyle Sonora
9:20 AM–10:40 AM Overview of ongoing projects (10 min each + 10 min discussion)
Studies of safety, distraction and attention management in the car Eric Horvitz, Shamsi Iqbal
Working in cars: overview and outlook Andrew Kun
The needs of commuting knowledge workers: results from a time use study Rafaella Sadun, Orit Shaer
HAMS – Harnessing Automobiles for Safety Satish Sangameswaran
10:40 AM–11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM–12:00 PM Breakout session 1: Discuss relevant topics in Future of Work All participants
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Lunch (provided)
1:00 PM–2:20 PM Specific topics of mutual interest (10 min each + 10 min discussion)
Trust in and through technology John Lee
Joint human-system activities Ece Kamar, Besmira Nushi
Designing for in-vehicle work Shamsi Iqbal
Adapting to technology in our cars Linda Boyle
2:20 PM–2:40 PM Break (coffee and snacks)
2:40 PM–3:40 PM Breakout session 2: Discuss potential research projects All participants
3:40 PM–4:00 PM Outcomes and next steps Eric Horvitz, Linda Boyle
4:00 PM–4:30 PM Shuttles to hotel

Crowd, Cloud and the Future of Work

Abstract: The Future of Work includes innovating on models that allow scaling out complex problems to include micro contributions and curated data from experts and non-experts for consensus driven and /or expert like performance.

How do we effectively combine cognitive resources of many people? We want to achieve an expert like performance to evaluate and compare models, standardize methods to validate and characterize performance. Performance can be measured by quality of resulting data, accuracy of labels and compute efficiency. One solution is having access to citizen science and crowd sourcing services in the cloud as has been proven with some projects in the past few years.

We have recently seen great results from efforts that have proven the power of citizen-science based gaming approaches, such as 1) for advancing Alzheimer’s research, or 2) in the field of neuroscience that is increasingly looking at citizen science approaches as it scales to thousands of samples for data curation and expediting the processing pipeline. Is it possible to have a generalized set of data management and cloud-based services that allow citizen science / crowd sourced approaches to achieve faster and higher quality results than traditional benchmarks? What else is missing from crowdsourcing frameworks to make them useful? This workshop will discuss research efforts in crowd, cloud and the future of work—the positive outcomes observed so far, future directions and aspirations.

Event owners: Besmira Nushi, Vani Mandava

Videos: 9:00 AM-10:00 AM | 10:15 AM-11:00 AM

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
9:00 AM–9:15 AM Workshop kickoff[Video] Besmira Nushi, Vani Mandava Baker
9:15 AM–9:30 AM How to Enable AI Development with Human Intelligence Ece Kamar
9:30 AM–9:45 AM Human AI Complementarity Kori Inkpen
9:45 AM–10:00 AM Efficiently Answering Visual Questions Asked by People Who Are Blind with Human-AI Partnerships and AI Algorithms Danna Gurari
10:00 AM–10:15 AM Break
10:15 AM–10:30 AM The Thinking Economy and the Future of Labor Pietro Michelucci
10:30 AM–10:45 AM Help Me to Help You: Optimizing the Human-Machine Partnership with Zooniverse Lucy Fortson
10:45 AM–11:00 AM brainlife.io accelerating neuroscience discovery via cloud computing and smart infrastructure Franco Pestilli
11:00 AM–12:15 PM Break out session: Crowdsourcing and the Future of Work
12:15 PM–1:00 PM Lunch and networking

Empowering People to Achieve More: How Useful a Concept is Productivity?

Abstract: Almost all companies desire to be more productive, and the concept is frequently invoked when there is a need to demonstrate growth, effectiveness and impact. However, what productivity means and whether it is an appropriate metric for the success of companies, and individuals, is rarely scrutinised and varies considerably across industries. For example, in industrial manufacturing, success could be producing more for less, whereas in creative industries, success could be increased consumption engagement.

The aim of this workshop is to consider how useful productivity is as a concept for thinking about what it means to succeed in work and in business, and what its relevance will be as we anticipate the future of work to comprise changes in where, how and by whom work gets done.

In the workshop we will explore the following questions:

  • What does it mean to ‘be productive’, how does this differ across industries, and at what scales can productivity be customised as a metric or in terms of activities?
  • What are the challenges of using productivity as a metric, and does the changing nature of work require a new set of metrics? If so, what might these be?
  • To what extent and in what contexts can productivity be imposed, trained, or suggested?

During the lunch break, there will also be a display of work produced by design students on the theme of “Empowering people with AI.”

Organizing committee:

Abigail Sellen, Brendan Murphy, Sean Rintel, Jacek Czerwonka (Microsoft Developer Services), Kim Herzig (Microsoft Developer Services), Peggy Storey (University Victoria)

Video: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
8:00 AM–9:00 AM Breakfast (provided)
9:00 AM–9:15 AM Welcome and Introduction Rainier
9:15 AM–10:30 AM What does productivity mean?
Quantifying the workplace to boost productivity: how much is humanly possible? Yvonne Rogers, UCL; Steve Whittaker, UCSC
10:30 AM–10:45 AM Break
10:45 AM–12:15 PM Microsoft’s perspective on productivity
Stress in the workplace Pete Card
Measuring Developer Satisfaction and Engineering System Health in Office David Speirs, Gurkaran Singh
12:15 PM–1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM–2:30 PM Using metrics to improve productivity within Microsoft
Using Windows Telemetry to Understand Developer Productivity Brian Houck
The Art of Measuring Productivity Kim Herzig
2:30 PM–3:00 PM Open discussion on productivity

Task Intelligence Workshop

Abstract: Tasks (defined pieces of work), ranging in scope from specific (like sending an email) to broad (like planning a wedding) are central to all aspects of information access and use. Task intelligence spans technologies and experiences to extract, understand, and support the completion of short- and long-term tasks. Helping people complete tasks is a key capability of search systems, digital assistants, and productivity applications. Extracting tasks from data is a core challenge in data mining and knowledge representation and draws on additional research from areas such as ubiquitous computing, machine learning, and natural language processing. Attributes of tasks, such as priority, duration, and progress toward completion, can also be inferred from data and have value in productivity applications and beyond. The Task Intelligence workshop at the MSR Faculty Summit 2019 will cover many of these topics and comprise both presentations and interactive discussions.

Event owners: Ryen White, Ahmed Hassan Awadallah

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
9:00 AM–9:15 AM Welcome and introductions St Helens
9:15 AM–9:45 AM Tasks at Microsoft Caitlin Hart, Microsoft To-Do

Monika Dragulski, Microsoft Project/Planner

Kalyan Ayloo, Microsoft Assistance and Intelligence

9:45 AM–10:30 AM Research talks (20 mins per talk x2) Mark Smucker, University of Waterloo

Rob Capra – University of North Carolina

10:30 AM–10:45 AM Break
10:45 AM–11:30 AM Research talks (20 mins per talk x2) Flora Salim – RMIT

Jeff Huang, Brown University

11:30 AM–12:15 PM Panel with discussion Peter Brusilvosky, University of Pittsburgh

Max Wilson, University of Nottingham

Flora Salim, RMIT

Elnaz Nouri, Microsoft Research AI

12:15 PM–1:00 PM Lunch

Transforming Our Future – Quantum Computing and Workforce, Curriculum, and Application Development

Abstract: The digital revolution has been characterized as the Fourth Revolution. The Fifth can be said to be AI. Quantum is poised to ignite the Sixth—and so the Future of Work inevitably implicates the development of a Quantum-ready workforce which, in turn, starts with equipping the students of today with the right curriculum, exposure, and experiences.

In just hours or days, a quantum computer can solve complex problems that would otherwise take billions of years for today’s computers to solve. This has massive implications for research and workforce development for healthcare, energy, environmental systems, smart materials, and more. From hardware to software, from development through deployment, Microsoft is focused on bringing the only scalable quantum system to the broadest set of customers and partnering with universities to ensure that we have the people ready to staff the quantum economy and ecosystem of tomorrow.

This Workshop which includes a hands-on opportunity for attendees to benefit from a short tutorial leveraging Microsoft’s latest and emerging quantum tools will provide:

  • An overview of quantum computing. A brief landscape discussion that includes an overview of Microsoft’s unique approach to Quantum Computing, including our “full stack” approach.
  • Insight into real-world quantum applications. We will share results of a partnership with a leading computational chemistry group that yielded open-source, high-performance computational chemistry tools. These tools will help scientists to better solve computationally complex chemistry problems.
  • Open source resources: Q# and the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit. Learn about the fastest path to quantum development—the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit and the Q# quantum programming language—featuring high-level language constructs, advanced code simulation, debugging, and documentation, and Microsoft’s portfolio of libraries and samples. Tutorial will also include details on the Microsoft Quantum Katas, exercises designed to teach quantum programming and quantum concepts.
  • An overview and access to hands-on, software-driven curriculum and, specifically, what makes it pressing and possible to advance the programming and applications layer now from a curriculum development perspective. Highlights of other recent curriculums and the use of notebook environments in the classroom will be featured.
  • Case study: quantum computing curriculum developed with the University of Washington. Recently, our Quantum Software experts partnered with UW to bring a 10-week Introduction to Quantum Computing and Quantum Programming in Q# to the school of Computer Science. Learn how students can get started with hands-on quantum programming quickly by completing a rich collection of quantum programming exercises in Q# (‘coding katas’).

The workshop provides an opportunity for open discussion regarding current research and educational needs around quantum computing and opportunities for universities.

Event owners: Krysta Svore, Linda Lauw, Martin Roetteler, Mark Tsang

Videos: 9:00 AM-9:45 AM | 9:45 AM-10:30 AM | 10:45 AM-11:30 AM | 11:30 AM-12:15 PM | 1:15 PM-2:00 PM

Time (PDT) Session Speaker Location
9:00 AM–9:45 AM An overview of quantum computing Jeongwan Haah Lassen
9:45 AM–10:30 AM Insight into real-world quantum applications Brad Lackey
10:30 AM–10:45 AM Break
10:45 AM–11:30 AM Open source resources – Q# and the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit Bettina Heim
11:30 AM–12:15 PM An overview and access to hands-on, software-driven curriculum Mariia Mykhailova
12:15 PM–1:15 PM Networking lunch
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Case study: quantum computing curriculum developed with the University of Washington Martin Roetteler


Microsoft Research's Ada Lovelace Fellowship

Ada Lovelace Fellowship

Microsoft recognizes the value of diversity in computing. The Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship aims to increase the pipeline of diverse talent receiving advanced degrees in computing-related fields by providing a research funding opportunity for doctoral students who are underrepresented in the field of computing.

Nominations due August 15

PhD Fellowship

The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship has supported 142 fellows since the program was established in 2008, many of whom have gone on to work within the Microsoft Research organization. Others have gone on to perform pioneering research elsewhere within the technology industry or accept faculty appointments at leading universities.

Nominations due August 15

Microsoft Productivity Research

Microsoft Productivity Research RFP

The goal of this RFP is to spark new research that will expand our understanding of productivity and fundamentally change the ways that people work and live. To help accomplish this goal, Microsoft intends to fund $1 million USD in new collaborative research efforts with university partners so that we can invent the future of productivity together.

Nominations due October 16

Microsoft Investigator Fellowship

Two-year fellowship that recognizes higher education faculty in the United States whose exceptional talent identifies them as distinguished scientists and teachers.

Submissions due August 16

Microsoft Research Blogs

Researcher Tools

Johannes Gehrke wearing sunglasses posing for the camera

Making the future of work work for you with Johannes Gehrke

Episode 83, July 17, 2019- Dr. Johannes Gehrke is a Microsoft Technical Fellow and head of Architecture and Machine Learning for the Intelligent Communications and Conversations Cloud in Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices division. But lest you think his lofty position makes him in any way superior to you, let me tell you, he knows who works for whom, and he’ll be the first to tell you that you are his boss! On today’s podcast, Dr.…

July 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

The future of productivity: People and tools that grow together

Computers are disappearing. This doesn’t mean they’re actually going away, though. In fact, every day more and more of how we live, work, and interact is transformed by computers. But it does mean that technology has become so ubiquitous in recent years that our focus can now shift from our computers to what they enable us to do. Because computing is increasingly embedded in the world around us, it’s starting to help us in new…

July 2019

Microsoft Research Blog

photo of Dr. Pamela Bhattacharya for the Microsoft Research Podcast

Microsoft Scheduler and dawn of Intelligent PDAs with Dr. Pamela Bhattacharya

Episode 106 | February 12, 2020 – In a world where productivity is paramount and only a handful of people have personal assistants, many of us are frustrated by the amount of time we spend in meetings, and worse, the amount time we spend planning, scheduling and rescheduling those meetings! Fortunately, Dr. Pamela Bhattacharya, a Principal Applied Scientist in Microsoft’s Outlook group, wants to turn your email into your own personal assistant. And a smart…

February 2020

Microsoft Research Blog