PhD Summer School 2015

About

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PhD Summer School Participants 2015

The PhD Summer School is an annual event that is organized at Microsoft Research Cambridge in relation to the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme. The tenth Microsoft Research Summer School took place at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, from 29 June to 3 July 2015. It included a series of talks of academic interest, transferable skills talks, and poster sessions that provided invited students the opportunity to present their work to Microsoft researchers.

Invited students included PhD students in their first or second year from universities and research institutions with which Microsoft Research partners, as well as all Microsoft Research PhD Scholars. In addition, lectures and posters sessions were open to all research staff and students from the University of Cambridge.

About the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme

The Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme was developed in 2004 to support research collaborations between academics in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region with Microsoft Research researchers in the Cambridge Lab. Currently, there are approximately 100 students working at universities and research organizations across the whole region on peer-reviewed projects and in collaboration with their Microsoft Research Cambridge co-supervisors.

Scarlet Schwiderski-GroscheSummer School Chair

Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche
Senior Research Program Manager
Microsoft Research Connections

Agenda

Monday, 29 June

Time Session Speaker Location
16:00
Arrival and check in at Selwyn College
16:00
Registration and High Tea at Selwyn College
18:00
Free Time

Tuesday, 30 June

Time Session Speaker Location
08:30
Coach Transfer: Selwyn to Microsoft Research and Sign In of All Attendees
09:15
Welcome to Microsoft Research Cambridge
Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
09:30
How to Give a Great Research Talk
Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
 10:00
Introduction to Code Hunt
Nikolai Tillmann, Microsoft Research Main Auditorium
10:30
Morning Break
11:00
Technology Development
Hermann Hauser, Amadeus Capital Partners
Main Auditorium
12:00
Lunch/Poster Session
14:00
Research Parallel Sessions
Machine Learning in Health Care

Antonio Criminisi, Microsoft Research

Main Auditorium
Hoarding Cats: Modelling and Testing Concurrent Systems

Jade Alglave, Microsoft Research

Flexible Meeting Room
15:00
Afternoon Break
15:30
Research Parallel Sessions
Designing Computer Systems That See

Abigail Sellen, Microsoft Research

Main Auditorium
Joined Up Planetary Information, in the Cloud and on Devices

Matthew Smith, Microsoft Research

Flexible Meeting Room
16:30
Coach Transfer: Microsoft Research to WildTracks, Go Karting
17:15
Go-Karting at WildTracks Karting and BBQ
21:30
Coach Transfer: WildTracks to Selwyn College

Wednesday, 1 July

Time Session Speaker Location
08:15
Coach Transfer: Selwyn to Microsoft Research and Sign In of All Attendees
09:00
Delivering a Fabulous Research Talk; How to Tell More Stories, Use Less PowerPoint and Get to the Point When Presenting
Dave Yewman, Elevator Speech Inc.
Main Auditorium
10:30
Morning Break
11:00
Delivering a Fabulous Research Talk; How to Tell More Stories, Use Less PowerPoint and Get to the Point When Presenting
Dave Yewman, Elevator Speech Inc.
Main Auditorium
12:00
Lunch/Poster Session
14:00
Computing Reliability with Molecular Walkers

Marta Kwiatkowska, University of Oxford

Main Auditorium
15:00
Afternoon Break
15:30
Strategic Thinking for Researchers
Andy Gordon, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
 16:30
Research Parallel Sessions
Microsoft Azure Tutorial
Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
 .NET Gadgeteer Workshop
 Paul Foster, Microsoft
17:30
Coach transfer: Microsoft Research to Selwyn College
17:30-19:30
Code Hunt Contest (optional attendance)
Nikolai Tillmann, Microsoft Research Main Auditorium

Thursday, 2 July

Time Session Speaker Location
08:45
Coach Transfer: Selwyn to Microsoft Research and Sign In of All Attendees
09:30
Research Parallel Sessions
Technology & Economics: Real-Time Ad Bidding and Personal Surveillance

Natasa Milic-Frayling, Microsoft Research

Main Auditorium
The Varied Forms of Verification with Z3

Christoph Wintersteiger, Microsoft Research

Flexible Meeting Room
10:30
Morning Break
11:00
Research Parallel Sessions
Predictable Data Centers

Thomas Karagiannis, Microsoft Research

Main Auditorium
Designing Human Experiences

Richard Banks, Microsoft Research

Flexible Meeting Room
12:00
Lunch/Poster Session
14:00
The Laws of Programming with Concurrency
Tony Hoare, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
15:00
Empirical Inference for Intelligent Systems

Bernhard Schölkopf, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Main Auditorium
16:00
DemoFest (including Afternoon Break)
17:30
Coach transfer: Microsoft Research to Jesus College
18:00
Drinks and Group Photo
19:00
Formal Dinner at Jesus College
21:30
Coach Transfer: Jesus College to Selwyn College

Friday, 3 July

Time Session Speaker Location
08:45
Coach Transfer: Selwyn to Microsoft Research and Sign In of All Attendees
09:30
How to Present a Poster at an International Conference
Sue Duraikan, Duraikan Training
Main Auditorium
10:15
How to Give a Great Research Talk
Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
11:15
Morning Break
11:30
How to Write a Great Research Paper
Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research
Main Auditorium
12:30
PhD Summer School Closes | Grab-and-Go Lunch

Speakers and Abstracts

Jade Alglave | Researcher, Microsoft Research

Herding Cats: Modelling and Testing Concurrent Systems

Abstract

There is a joke where a physicist and a mathematician are asked to herd cats. The physicist starts with an infinitely large pen, which he reduces until it is of reasonable diameter yet contains all the cats. The mathematician builds a fence around himself and declares the outside to be the inside. Defining memory models is akin to herding cats: both the physicist’s or mathematician’s attitudes are tempting, but we cannot rely on one more than on the other. I study concurrent systems, trying to understand precisely what our machines guarantee. This is crucial for writing correct programs, especially since modern machines force us to revise the programming model that we have been taught at school, namely Lamport’s Sequential Consistency. In this talk, I will show ways of defining formal models for concurrency, within a generic framework in which one can represent for example Sequential Consistency, Intel x86, IBM Power, ARM, C++ and GPUs.

Biography

Jade Alglave is a researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, and a lecturer at University College London. She tries to develop formal models of concurrent systems within a unifying framework, and use these models for verification purposes.

Richard Banks | Principal Design Manager, Microsoft Research

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Designing Human Experiences

Abstract

The Human Experience & Design Group at Cambridge designs and fabricates new human experiences with computing. These play on many different kinds of human values, from amplifying efficiency and effectiveness to creating delight and wonder in our interactions with technology. And they can be situated in any aspect of everyday life, from increasing productivity in the workplace to respecting the tenderness of family life. In this talk, Richard Banks will give an overview of the work of the team, describing how the disciplines of social science, computer science and design work together as a multi-disciplinary unit, and showing a number of working projects and prototypes.

Biography

Richard Banks is principal design manager in Microsoft Research’s Cambridge lab. Working as part of the Human Experience & Design group he collaborates with social scientists and computer scientists in the lab on a broad range of projects that span device development, community engagement, gestural interaction and more. Richard is author of The Future of Looking Back, a book which focuses on new digital legacies and the impact they’ll have on how we reminisce about our lives. He is honorary professor of design at the University of Dundee, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and external examiner for Edinburgh University’s Design Informatics course.

Andrew Blake | Laboratory Director, Microsoft Research

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Welcome to Microsoft Research Cambridge

Biography

Andrew Blake is a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and the Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, England. He joined Microsoft in 1999 as a senior researcher to found the Computer Vision group. In 2008, he became a Deputy Managing Director at the lab, before assuming his current position in 2010. Prior to joining Microsoft, Andrew trained in mathematics and electrical engineering in Cambridge England, and studied for a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence in Edinburgh. He was an academic for 18 years, latterly on the faculty at Oxford University, where he was a pioneer in the development of the theory and algorithms that can make it possible for computers to behave as seeing machines.

Antonio Criminisi | Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

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Machine Learning in Health Care

Abstract

Analysis of medical images is essential in modern medicine. With the ever-increasing amount of patient data, new challenges and opportunities arise for different phases of the clinical routine, such as diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.

The InnerEye research project focuses on the automatic analysis of patients’ medical scans. It uses state-of-the-art machine learning techniques for the:

  • Automatic delineation and measurement of healthy anatomy and anomalies;
  • Robust registration for monitoring disease progression;
  • Semantic navigation and visualization for improved clinical workflow;
  • Development of natural user interfaces for medical practitioners.

Biography

In June 2000, Antonio Criminisi joined Microsoft Research in Cambridge (Machine Learning and Perception group) as a visiting researcher. In February 2001, he moved to the Interactive Visual Media Group in Redmond (WA, United States) as a post-doctorate researcher. In October 2002, he moved back to the Machine Learning and Perception Group in Cambridge as a researcher. In September 2011, he became senior researcher and is now leading the Medical Image Analysis team.

Antonio’s current research interests are in the area of medical image analysis, object category recognition, image and video analysis and editing, one-to-one teleconferencing, 3D reconstruction from single and multiple images with application to virtual reality, forensic science, and history of art.

Antonio Criminisi was born in 1972 in Italy. In October 1990, he was appointed “Alfiere del Lavoro” by the Italian President F. Cossiga for his successful studies. In July 1996, he received a degree in Electronics Engineering at the University of Palermo and in December 1999, he obtained a PhD in Computer Vision at the University of Oxford. His thesis. Accurate Visual Metrology from Single and Multiple Uncalibrated Images, won the British Computer Society Distinguished Dissertation Award for the year 2000 and was published by Springer-Verlag London Ltd. in August 2001. Antonio was a Research Fellow at Clare Hall College, Cambridge from 2002 to 2005. Antonio has won a number of best paper prizes in top computer vision conferences.

Sue Duraikan | Duraikan Training

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How to Present a Poster at an International Conference

Abstract

Presenting a poster at an international conference is a terrific opportunity to promote your research and raise your professional profile in a global academic forum. However, it can be daunting to compete with other presenters to get the attention of a passing audience. As well as a clear and captivating poster, you need the ability to build rapport quickly and present your subject positively and succinctly.

This can be especially challenging when English is the shared language but not everyone’s mother tongue. Whether you are a native or a non-native English speaker, you will require flexibility and sensitivity to others in order to get your message across clearly.

During the three poster sessions, Sue will be hovering in the room, watching and listening to your approach. She will then prepare to highlight on the final day the key thought-processes as well as the verbal and non-verbal skills you need to give a powerful poster presentation.

Sue will also be available each day to provide confidential one-to-one feedback for any students who are interested.

Biography

Sue Duraikan runs Duraikan Training (www.duraikan-training.com), a consultancy which aims to help individuals and organisations develop. Duraikan Training provides support in designing and delivering learning strategies. We also run group workshops and one-to-one coaching on a wide range of professional skills. As a former teacher of French and German and with wide experience of working globally, Sue Duraikan has a particular interest in cross-cultural communication, and deep respect for those who operate daily in a second or third language.

Andy Gordon | Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

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Strategic Thinking for Researchers

Abstract

From time to time at Microsoft Research, we set aside time to talk about strategic aspects of research, that is, the big picture of why we do research and how to have different sorts of impact, beyond the more immediate tasks of writing papers, giving talks, and transferring ideas. This talk will cover some of these strategies for having a happy and productive career as a researcher.

Biography

Andy Gordon is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, where he manages Programming Principles and Tools, and is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh. Andy wrote his PhD on input/output in lazy functional programming, and is the proud inventor of Haskell’s “>>=” notation for monads. He’s worked on a range of topics in concurrency, verification, and security, never straying too far from his roots in functional programming. His current passion is a functional language to enable probabilistic inference from Excel.

Hermann Hauser | Co-Founder, Amadeus Capital Partners

Technology Development

Abstract

The Technology Development lecture starts with an overview of general purpose technologies, which changed the world economy 24 times. It then focuses on computing and how it developed its own characteristics and lead companies. The lecture then concentrates on machine learning and artificial intelligence as technologies which could transform not just our economy but every aspect of our future lives. These are man’s most powerful-but also most unpredictable-technologies. Aspects of the speed with which this transformation could happen will be discussed together with the consequences it may have for employment and how likely it is that super intelligences will emerge and when.

Biography

In 2015, Hermann was awarded a KBE for services to Engineering and Industry.

Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, Dr. Hermann Hauser CBE has wide experience in developing and financing companies in the information technology sector. He co-founded a number of high-tech companies including Acorn Computers which spun out ARM, E-trade UK, Virata and Cambridge Network. Subsequently, Hermann became vice president of research at Olivetti. During his tenure at Olivetti, he established a global network of research laboratories. Since leaving Olivetti, Hermann has founded over 20 technology companies. In 1997, he co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners. At Amadeus, he invested in CSR, Solexa, Icera, Xmos and Cambridge Broadband.

Hermann is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. In 2001, he was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’. In 2004, he was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology and in 2013, he was made a Distinguished Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Hermann has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Loughborough, Bath, Anglia Ruskin and The University of Strathclyde.

Tony Hoare | Consultant Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

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The Laws of Programming with Concurrency

Abstract

Regular algebra provides a full set of simple laws for the programming of abstract state machines by regular expressions. They apply equally to sequential programs run on real computers. When extended by similar laws for interleaving of regular expressions, they apply also to programs for modern concurrent and distributed systems.

Evidence for this claim is given by deriving from the algebra a concurrent extension of Hoare Logic (O’Hearn’s separation logic), and also an operational semantics for Milner’s process calculus (CCS).

Biography

In 1956, I graduated from Oxford University with an MA in classics and philosophy. I was fascinated primarily by the philosophy of mathematics, and studied the logical foundations from books by Quine and Russell. In my first industrial job (1960) for a computer manufacture, I led a project implementing a classical programming language, ALGOL 60. The implementation was based on the novel context-free syntactic definition of this language. In my first academic employment, I resolved to provide a logical foundation for the semantics of a programming language as well.

Other semantic definitions have been strongly promoted and widely used-for example, denotational, algebraic, and operational. These were often regarded as rival approaches. In my recent research at Microsoft, I have discovered that all four foundations are complementary presentations of essentially the same theory. In my first academic employment at the Queen’s University, Belfast, I resolved to provide a logical foundation for the semantics of a programming language as well. This was later called Hoare Logic, and gave a method of assuring correctness of programs.

Thomas Karagiannis | Researcher, Microsoft Research

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Predictable Data Centers

Abstract

Performance predictability is a key requirement for high-performant applications in today’s multi-tenant massive-scale data centers hosting hundreds of thousands of servers. Online services like search or social networks running in infrastructure data centers need such predictability to satisfy application Service Level Agreements (SLAs); for example, online search queries need to be responded within a few hundred milliseconds. Cloud data centers require guaranteed performance to bound customer costs and spur adoption. However, several components of today’s datacenters are at odds with such high-level application SLAs.

The Predictable Data Centers (PDC) project tackles the issue of unpredictable application performance in data centers. A key contributor to such unpredictability is shared resources like network and storage. The bandwidth across the cloud network and to the cloud storage service can vary significantly. In this talk, I will discuss how we can design a predictable data center architecture that offers performance SLAs across shared resources

Biography

Thomas Karagiannis is a researcher in the Systems and Networking group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK since 2006. Prior to joining Microsoft Research, Thomas has been with Intel Research Cambridge and the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA). Thomas’s work focuses on improving the performance and predictability of various types of computer networks, such as home or datacenter networks. Thomas received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside and B.S at the Applied Informatics department of the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, Greece. Besides datacenter networks, his research interests also include Internet measurements and monitoring, and social networks.

Marta Kwiatkowska | Professor of Computing Systems, Fellow, Trinity College, University of Oxford

marta-kwiatkowska100x132Keynote Session: Computing Reliably with Molecular Walkers

Abstract

DNA computing is emerging as a versatile technology that promises a vast range of applications, including biosensing, drug delivery and synthetic biology. DNA logic circuits can be achieved in solution using strand displacement reactions, or by decision-making molecular robots-so called ‘walkers’-that traverse tracks placed on DNA ‘origami’ tiles.

Similarly to conventional silicon technologies, ensuring fault-free DNA circuit designs is challenging, with the difficulty compounded by the inherent unreliability of the DNA technology and lack of scientific understanding. This lecture will give an overview of computational models that capture DNA walker computation and demonstrate the role of quantitative verification and synthesis in ensuring the reliability of such systems. Future research challenges will also be discussed.

Biography

Marta Kwiatkowska is Professor of Computing Systems and Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford. She holds a BSc/MSc in Computer Science from the Jagiellonian University, MA from Oxford and a PhD from the University of Leicester. In 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Marta Kwiatkowska spearheaded the development of probabilistic and quantitative methods in verification on the international scene. She led the development of the PRISM model checker (www.prismmodelchecker.org), the leading software tool in the area and widely used for research and teaching. Applications of probabilistic model checking have spanned communication and security protocols, nanotechnology designs, power management, game theory, planning and systems biology, with genuine flaws found and corrected in real-world protocols. Kwiatkowska gave the Milner Lecture in 2012 in recognition of “excellent and original theoretical work which has a perceived significance for practical computing” and was invited to give keynotes at the LICS 2003, ESEC/FSE 2007, ETAPS/FASE 2011 and ATVA 2013 conferences. Marta Kwiatkowska is a member of Academia Europea and Fellow of the BCS. Kwiatkowska’s research has been supported by grant funding from EPSRC, ERC, EU, DARPA and Microsoft Research Cambridge, including the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant VERIWARE “From software verification to everyware verification” and £5m EPSRC programme grant on Mobile Robotics.

Natasa Milic-Frayling | Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

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Technology & Economics: Real-Time Ad Bidding and Personal Surveillance

Abstract

Internet advertisers reach millions of customers through practices that involve real time tracking of users’ online activities. The tracking is commonly conducted through browser cookies by third-party services that facilitate marketing campaigns and gather service analytics. By installing cookies on users’ computers, they track the users as they navigate from one site to another. Other trackers exploit shortcomings in the cache access control and apply cookie-less profiling.

At the same time, user applications, such as commonly used Internet browsers, reveal little or no information about the information flow between the devices and services. That leaves the consumers with no insight about the breadth of the digital footprints they leave while interacting with services and no understanding of how that data is exploited.

We outline a research agenda that investigates several aspects of this problem. That involves (1) characterizing the tracking ecosystem and the value exchange within it, (2) understanding of the users’ attitudes, behaviour, and awareness of the tracking practices, and (3) analysing the protocols and application design that contribute to the problem. We discuss the findings of several studies that investigate these issues. While they motivate us to think of alternatives to the privacy invading practices, they also urge deeper questions about the principles of design and comprehensibility of computing systems.

Biography

As a principal researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Natasa is working on the design, prototyping and evaluation of information and communication systems. She is passionate about innovation in personal and social computing and promotes a dialogue between IT industry, consumers, and policy makers on the issues that arise from the adoption and use of technology. Her current focus is on digital obsolescence, automation of user tasks across devices and services, and privacy respecting systems and applications. Natasa is actively involved with a wider community of academics and practitioners through public speaking, collaborative projects, and serving on advisory boards of academic programs and commercial enterprises. She is a visiting professor at the UCL and QMUL and a member of the ACM EU Council. She serves on the advisory boards for the Course in Entrepreneurship University of Cambridge and for the Turing Gateway in Mathematics at Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI).

Simon Peyton Jones | Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

How to Write a Great Research Paper and How to Give a Great Research Talksimonpj

Abstract

Writing papers and giving talks are key skills for any researcher, but they aren’t easy. In this pair of presentations, I’ll describe simple guidelines that I follow for writing papers and giving talks, which I think may be useful to you too. I don’t have all the answers-far from it-and I hope that the presentation will evolve into a discussion in which you share your own insights, rather than a lecture.

Biography

Simon Peyton Jones, MA, MBCS, CEng, graduated from Trinity College Cambridge in 1980. After two years in industry, he spent seven years as a lecturer at University College London, and nine years as a professor at Glasgow University, before moving to Microsoft Research in 1998. His main research interest is in functional programming languages, their implementation, and their application. He has led a succession of research projects focused around the design and implementation of production-quality functional-language systems for both uniprocessors and parallel machines. He was a key contributor to the design of the now-standard functional language Haskell, and is the lead designer of the widely used Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC). He has written two textbooks about the implementation of functional languages. More generally, he is interested in language design, rich type systems, software component architectures, compiler technology, code generation, runtime systems, virtual machines, garbage collection, and more. He is particularly motivated by direct use of principled theory to practical language design and implementation-that’s one reason he loves functional programming so much. He is also keen to apply ideas from advanced programming languages to mainstream settings.

Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche <strong>|</strong> Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research

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Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche is a Senior Research Program Manager at Microsoft Research Cambridge, working for Microsoft Research Outreach in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. She is responsible for academic research partnerships in the region, especially for the Joint Research Centres with Inria in France and EPFL and ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Scarlet has a PhD in Computer Science from University of Cambridge. She was in academia for almost 10 years before joining Microsoft in March 2009. In academia, she worked as Lecturer in Information Security at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Bernhard Schölkopf | Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

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Empirical Inference for Intelligent Systems

Abstract

Empirical Inference is the process of drawing conclusions from observational data. For instance, the data can be measurements from an experiment, which are used by a researcher to infer a scientific law. Another kind of empirical inference is performed by living beings, continuously recording data from their environment and carrying out appropriate actions. Do these problems have anything in common, and are there underlying principles governing the extraction of regularities from data? What characterizes hard inference problems, and how can we solve them?

The talk will describe some of the main ideas and problems of machine learning. It will provide illustrative examples of real-world machine learning applications. Time permitting, it will touch upon recent developments in estimating causal structures, and/or probabilistic programming.

Biography

Bernhard Schölkopf’s scientific interests are in machine learning and inference. In particular, he studies kernel methods for extracting regularities from possibly high-dimensional data. These regularities are usually statistical ones, however, in recent years he also got interested in methods for finding causal structures that underlie statistical dependences. He has worked on a number of different applications of machine learning, with a recent focus on photography and astronomy. Bernhard has researched at AT&T Bell Labs; at GMD FIRST, Berlin; and at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK, before becoming a Max Planck director in 2001. He received the J.K. Aggarwal Prize of the International Association for Pattern Recognition, the Max Planck Research Award, the Academy Prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the Royal Society Milner Award.

Abigail Sellen | Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Designing Computer Systems That See

Abstract

The last decade has witnessed rapid advancements in computer vision systems, not just in the world of gaming, but in many aspects of everyday life, from medical systems to augmented reality. Computer systems that “see” enable new forms of input, can track and identify people, can capture and model the physical world around us, and can be combined with other system capabilities such as conversational agents. But the challenge in developing these systems is much more than technical. In this talk, I explore the process of designing computer vision applications from a human perspective, and through our own attempts to build them for a variety of real world settings. In doing so, I propose that such systems need to make their users aware of the differences between how computer systems and how people sense, perceive, analyse and respond to the world. This has implications beyond computer vision to more general notions of “smart” systems in an era where artificial intelligence has again taken hold of our collective imagination.

Biography

Abigail Sellen is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge where she manages the Human Experience & Design Group. Prior to Microsoft, she worked at Hewlett-Packard Labs, Rank Xerox EuroPARC, Apple Computer, and Bell Northern Research. Abigail first became interested in human-computer interaction through a summer internship at Apple while working on her doctorate in cognitive science with Don Norman. She has since published extensively on many diverse topics, including the book The Myth of the Paperless Office (with co-author Richard Harper). Alongside honorary professorships at University College London and the University of Nottingham, she is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy.

Matthew Smith | Scientist, Microsoft Research

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Joined up Planetary Information, in the Cloud and on Devices

Abstract

In scientific research and development, emphasis is placed on research over development. A significant cost is that the two-way interaction between scientific insights and societal needs does not function effectively to lead to impacts in the wider world. We simply must embrace new software and hardware approaches if we are to provide timely predictive information to address global problems, support businesses and inform governments and citizens. The Microsoft Research Computational Science Lab has been pioneering research into software and methodologies to provide useful and usable new environmental information. Our approach has been very joined-up: from accelerating data acquisition from the field with remote sensor technology, targeted data collection and citizen science, to enabling process based modelling-using multiple heterogeneous data-sets in the cloud and enabling the resulting planetary information to be accessed from any device. This talk will demonstrate some of the specific research and development we are doing to accelerate the pace in which important science has impact on the wider world and will emphasise the important insights gained from advancing the research and development together.

Biography

Always fascinated by patterns in nature, Matthew undertook an ecology undergraduate degree at his local university (Aberdeen) that culminated in his first serious modelling: evolving virtual plants in virtual worlds to understand what determines their form and function. That work took him on to very practical work with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew where he was a conservation projects officer for several years, conducting research in his free time before finally he cracked and decided he should know what it is he’s talking about. That led to a PhD in mathematics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where he acquired more traditional mathematical modelling skills. Since then, he has worked exclusively for Microsoft Research where he thrives on combining scientific understanding of how natural systems work with real world evidence to try to build defensible forecast systems of biological phenomena: diseases, vegetation dynamics, crops, riots, plankton. He is now driven by a realisation that it is possible to generate genuinely valuable forecasts of a lot more than just weather!

Kenji Takeda | Solutions Architect, Microsoft Research

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Microsoft Azure Tutorial

Biography

Dr. Kenji Takeda is Solutions Architect and Technical Manager for the Microsoft Research Outreach EMEA team. He has extensive experience in Cloud Computing, High Performance and High Productivity Computing, Data-intensive Science, Scientific Workflows, Scholarly Communication, Engineering and Educational Outreach. He has a passion for developing novel computational approaches to tackle fundamental and applied problems in science and engineering. He was previously Co-Director of the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing, and Senior Lecturer in Aeronautics, at the University of Southampton, UK. There he worked with leading high value manufacturing companies such as Airbus, AgustaWestland, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Formula One teams, to develop state-of-the-art capability for improving science and engineering processes. He also worked in the areas of aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and flight simulation.

Nikolai Tillmann | Principal Software Engineering Manager, Microsoft

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Code Hunt

Abstract

Code Hunt is a serious game where the player writes code (Java or C#) to satisfy a mysterious oracle in the cloud. The game play advances through a series of increasingly difficult levels. In each level, the player has to discover the goal by studying a stream of test cases that show behavioral differences between the player’s code and the secret algorithm which the oracle in the cloud desires. The cloud-based game engine is powered by Microsoft Research’s Pex system, an automated test generation tool for .NET based on dynamic symbolic execution and the Z3 solver; Pex is now shipping as “IntelliTest” in Visual Studio 2015. Try the game for yourself at http://www.codehunt.com.

Biography

Nikolai Tillmann is a principal software engineering manager at Microsoft, Redmond. He currently leads an effort to transform Microsoft’s core build system to achieve unprecedented reliability, scalability and maintainability. He is the architect of Visual Studio 2015’s IntelliTest (“Pex”) feature, enabling automatic test case generation for .NET applications via dynamic symbolic execution. Try out Pex on the web at www.pexforfun.com, or play a coding game based on the Pex engine at www.codehunt.com. At Microsoft Research, Nikolai also started TouchDevelop, a cross-platform development environment that enables end-users to write programs for mobile devices on mobile devices; try it for yourself at www.touchdevelop.com.

Christoph Wintersteiger | Researcher, Microsoft Research

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The Varied Forms of Verification with Z3

Abstract

The Z3 theorem prover is Microsoft’s main engine of logic and it is used in a variety of projects. It is rooted in the need for efficient decision procedures in the area of software verification, and it has since been extended into bordering areas. Emerging applications include verification of probabilistic properties of software and other systems, as well as verification and synthesis of biological systems, both constructed and natural.

In this talk, I will briefly introduce the core concepts involved in verification(-like) problems, and I will demonstrate how theorem provers in general, and Z3 specifically, are employed to solve many of the subproblems that arise. I will then touch upon the satisfiability problem for the theory of floating-point numbers as an example of the design of a tailored decision procedure for a particular theory. The last part of the talk will be spent on various applications of this and other decision procedures to problems that arise in computer science and in computational biology.

Biography

Christoph Wintersteiger is a researcher in the Programming Principles and Tools group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. He graduated from ETH Zurich in 2011 and has since been a research intern and a postdoc at MSRC. He works on efficient decision procedures for various logics, and applications thereof in software and hardware verification. Currently, his focus is on finite-domain theories like Boolean formulas (SAT, QBF), bit-vectors, floating-point numbers, and (some) probabilistic theories. Along with applications in verification, he recently became interested in the exploration and verification of biological systems, e.g., chemical reaction networks. He is one of the core team of developers of the Z3 theorem prover, which is Microsoft’s main engine of logic.

Dave Yewman | Elevator Speech Inc.

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Delivering a Fabulous Research Talk: How to Tell More Stories, Use Less PowerPoint and Get to the Point When Presenting

Abstract

We’ve all been there: a dark room, a long and boring speech accompanied by an endless stream of bullet-heavy PowerPoint slides. It’s maddening. In this session you’ll learn how to really engage an audience, how to deliver a research presentation with emphasis and energy, and finally how to use body language to your advantage. You’ll also learn what separates a good presentation slide from a bad one, and how to calibrate a speech so that even complicated, technical topics can be explained in a clear, concise, compelling way.

Biography

Dave is a strategic communications expert with more than 19 years of experience in the field. A former newspaper reporter and columnist, Dave has counseled senior executives at a variety of companies, managed communications teams and led business development efforts. He has also conducted storytelling workshops and presentation training sessions for thousands of executives at numerous companies, including Microsoft, CA, Clif Bar, Dell, CBS, Ingram Micro, aQuantive, T-Mobile, MercyCorps, DriveSavers, Reebok, Tripwire, Wieden + Kennedy, SnapChat, Zurich Insurance, and Adidas.

He has spoken to numerous groups about how to translate complex scientific and technical information into clear, concise, compelling language. Before establishing Elevator Speech Inc., Dave was the general manager of Weber Shandwick’s Portland office. Before joining Weber Shandwick, he led a Waggener Edstrom PR team charged with developing strategic PR programs for Microsoft in a variety of industries, including financial services, manufacturing and healthcare. Dave was an award- winning reporter and columnist at The Galveston Daily News in Texas and an on-camera spokesman for The University of Texas Medical Branch. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado’s school of journalism.

Leisure

Food and drink

Cinema

38-39 St Andrews Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AR
Tel: 01223 572929

Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7DY
Tel: 0871 200 2000

The Grafton Centre, East Rd, Cambridge, CB1 1PS
Tel: 0871 2240240

Theatres

6 St Edwards Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PL
Tel: 01223 578933

Park Street, Cambridge, CB5 8AS
Tel: 01223 359547

Anglia Polytechnic University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
Tel: 0845 196 2320

3, Parson Court, Wheeler Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QE
Tel: 01223 357851

Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7GX
Tel: 01223 511511

FAQ

What is the week-long agenda? The agenda will be full of exciting events including demonstrations, talks, and discussions, which will enable you to interact with and present your poster together with networking events. For more details, review the PhD Summer School 2015 agenda.

When should I arrive at Selwyn College? Plan to arrive at Selwyn College no later than 16:00 on Monday, 29 June 2015 for check in at The Porters Lodge. Registration and High Tea is between 16:00 and 18:00.

When should I book my travel? Book your travel as soon as possible so that you can be sure to arrive no later than 16:00 on Monday, 29 June 2015 and leave no earlier than 12.30 on Friday, 3 July 2015 when Summer School officially closes.

Travel tips

  • Where possible, fly into either London Stansted or London City Airport, which are closer to Cambridge and less congested.
  • Avoid flying into London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports, which are quite a distance from Cambridge.
  • Cambridge Airport runs flights to and from a limited number of European destinations.
  • Use the train where possible; it’s better for the environment!

How do I register for accommodation? Please register for your accommodation via the link in your invitation by 29 May 2015. Reservations should not be made directly. Request a room for the day that you arrive.

When should I check out from Selwyn College? Checkout is before 9.30 A.M on Friday, 3 July 2015.

Where can I store my luggage when I check out from Selwyn College? Luggage cannot be left at Selwyn College once you have checked out on Friday, 3 July, but can be stored securely at Microsoft Cambridge whilst you attend Summer School for the morning.

What should I do if I require a visa? If you require a letter to support your visa or to present to the port authorities upon entry, download and complete the PhD Summer School 2015 Business Travel Support Letter Questionnaire (DOCX, 93 KB) when you complete your online registration, and send it as an attachment to vvletter@microsoft.com. Your request will be processed and a soft copy of the invitation letter sent by email; if you require a hard copy letter, please provide a delivery address. Note that the team will need at least a week to prepare the letter.

What about transportation? You are responsible for getting to Selwyn College and should follow the travel reimbursement guidelines. All transportation during Summer School will be provided, including transfers between Selwyn College and Microsoft Research.

What is the dress code? The dress code is smart/casual.

Will I be able access the Internet during this event? Selwyn College will offer free Wi-Fi in the bedrooms and public areas. Microsoft Research will offer free Wi-Fi access in the building. There will be instructions available when you access the building.

What should I do if I have a special dietary need? Vegetarian options will be provided for all meals and snacks. Should you have any additional special dietary needs, please make sure you let us know when you register.

Will I be able to have the contact details of the other attendees? Yes, if you have consented to sharing your details during your online registration.

Will I be able to access any of the photographs taken during Summer School? If you consented to sharing your photographs during your online registration, you will have access to the photographs after the event.

What should I do if I need a doctor or have a medical emergency?

  • In a medical emergency, dial 999
  • For a non-emergency, a list of local medical surgeries can be found here or ring one listed below:
    • Cherry Hinton Medical Centre 0844 8151440
    • Bridge Street Medical Centre 08444 773939
    • Petersfield Medical Practice 01223 350 647
    • York Street Medical Practice 01223 364 116

In the case of sickness or an emergency, where possible, please notify Sue Flanders, PhD Scholarship Programme Manager on 01223 476 996 or by email i-suef@microsoft.com as soon as you can.

Posters

You will have the opportunity to present your research to other Microsoft researchers and participants during a two-hour poster session. This will enable you to promote and discuss your work with experts in your field and with a wider audience.

Presenting your poster

Poster sessions are scheduled between 12:00 and 14:00 P.M. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Your poster will be selected for presentation on one day only. Posters will be displayed on individual poster boards distributed around the area where the lunchtime buffet is served.

During your poster session, you will be expected to stand by your poster so that your fellow students and researchers from the Microsoft Cambridge Lab can have the opportunity to read about your research over lunch and discuss it with you.

You do not need to prepare a long presentation, but it is a good idea to prepare a short introductory explanation (perhaps 30 seconds to a minute long) to capture their attention at the start. Don’t worry, it is all very relaxed.

Remember to eat lunch yourself! Choose a quiet moment to grab something from the buffet and then return to your poster.

Designing your poster

You will need to design a poster that is A1 portrait (594 mm width x 841 mm height) in colour. Your poster should be created in either PowerPoint or PDF format.

Your poster should articulate clearly and concisely both visually and textually:

  • The challenge being addressed or question being answered by the research in such a way that a non-expert can understand the importance of the research
  • The focus of the research
  • The intended outcome
  • The current stage you have reached
  • Any research results, preliminary conclusions, or potentially interesting next steps

Posters should be aimed at other students and researchers who do not necessarily have expertise in that specific area of research.

Posters should clearly display:

  • Your name
  • The name of your supervisor and any collaborators
  • The name of your university

Academic poster design guidance

For helpful guidelines on how to design an academic poster, visit Designing an academic poster and then click Go to the tutorial.

Once you have registered, Sue Duraikan, who returns by popular demand to present her talk on Poster Presentations at the Summer School, will be in touch via email to offer support in preparing your poster. There will also be an opportunity to gain confidential one-on-one feedback on your poster and your presentation skills.

Printing your poster

We will be happy to print your poster for you if you send an electronic copy (PowerPoint or PDF format) by email to i-suef@microsoft.com before Monday, 8 June 2015. Otherwise, be sure that you bring your poster with you to Summer School. You can print it on paper and have it laminated, but it is worth looking into the possibility of printing it on fabric, which makes it easier to transport.

Poster submission deadline: Monday, 8 June 2015