MSRNE 5th Anniversary Symposium


Since its founding in 2008, Microsoft Research New England has pursued new, interdisciplinary areas of research that bring together traditional mathematical sciences, such as theoretical computer science, machine learning, physics, and mathematics itself, with other sciences, including social sciences such as empirical economics, sociology, and psychology, and the biological and biomedical sciences.

To mark the fifth anniversary of Microsoft Research New England, we are hosting a one-day symposium comprised of themed talks focused on mathematics and theory, economics, big data and machine learning, and social media. Join us in Cambridge, Mass. as we welcome researchers, faculty, and students to discuss advancing the state of the art.


Note: To view videos of the symposium talks, please click on the agenda titles below

9:00 – 9:30

9:30 – 10:00

10:00 – 11:00
Opening Remarks
Jennifer Chayes, Managing Director, MSRNE, Microsoft Research
Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research
Jeannette Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research

11:00 – 11:15
Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science
Chair: Henry Cohn
Speakers: Nadia Heninger, University of Pennsylvania, Madhu Sudan, Microsoft Research; Peter Winkler, Dartmouth

This session’s presentations illustrate the work going on in theoretical computer science and mathematics at MSRNE, connections with academia, and real-world applications.

11:15 – 12:15

12:15 – 1:30
Progress and New Challenges in Machine Learning/Big Data
Chair: Sham Kakade
Speakers: Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research; David Rothschild, Microsoft Research; Antonio Torralba, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Hanna Wallach, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Machine learning has enjoyed much progress in recent years, where algorithmic advances have led to breakthroughs in speech recognition, machine translation, visual object recognition, computational biology, and more. This session will explore this progress along with future challenges that we will face, including technological problems and issues at the intersection of social science.

1:30 – 2:30

2:30 – 2:45
Economics and Computer Science: A Dialogue
Chair: Nicole Immorlica
Discussants: Sergiu Hart, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Christos Papadimitriou, University of California at Berkeley

The interface between economics and computer science has greatly advanced the state of the art in both fields. This session features two thought leaders, one from economics and one from computer science, and their comments on how this interface has impacted their own research and the direction of research within their respective fields.

2:45 – 3:45

3:45 – 5:15
Society, Politics and the Algorithm: Social Science in the Lab
Chair: Kate Crawford
Speakers: Tarleton Gillespie, Cornell University; Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Microsoft Research; Gina Neff, University of Washington

In this session we will hear talks from three leading researchers who study the social contexts of information technologies. They will highlight the way in which big data, algorithms and social media play a role in our health, politics and public spaces.

5:15 – 5:30
Panel: Interdisciplinary Science in the Age of Big Data
Chair: Jennifer Chayes
Panelists: Amitabh Chandra, Harvard University; Ed Felten, Princeton University; Jill Mesirov, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Duncan Watts, Microsoft Research

One of the founding missions of MSRNE was to bring together scientists in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, economics and the biomedical sciences with computer scientists. In the intervening five years, as these disciplines have become increasingly data-driven, this mission has assumed even greater significance. This panel brings together experts in social and biomedical sciences, as well as data security and data integrity, to discuss both the opportunities and the risks of interdisciplinary science in the age of big data.

5:30 – 7:30
Christian Borgs, Deputy Managing Director, MSRNE, Microsoft Research
Closing Remarks

Attendees are invited to join the speakers for a reception immediately following the Symposium.