Keynote Presentation: Microsoft Research – from Basic Research to Technological Innovations


May 23, 2012


Microsoft Research is a global research organization dedicated to expanding the possibilities of computing. It takes on a wide variety of activities, spanning mission-focused problem solving and technology development to “blue-sky,” curiosity-driven, basic research. The Microsoft Research lab delivers product-focused innovations and at the same time contributes to the broader scientific community by openly publishing basic research results. In this talk, Peter Lee will provide a glimpse into the breadth of research in the lab today and will describe the lab’s strategy for creating high impact for the company and the world. A key part of this approach involves embracing the diversity that is inherent in computing research, using a “quadrant” model that spans short-term to long-term research on one axis and reactive problems to open-ended exploration on the other.


Peter Lee

Peter Lee joined Microsoft as a Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Redmond (MSR-R) in September 2010. He comes to Microsoft from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where he served as the founding director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office. DARPA is the principal agency within the U.S. Department of Defense for research, development and demonstration of high-risk, high-payoff projects for the current and future combat force. In this role, Peter was responsible for developing and implementing the strategic vision and technical plans for a new office in support of DARPA’s mission: to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming national security by sponsoring revolutionary research, bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use. Prior to DARPA, Peter was a professor and head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), having also served briefly as the Vice Provost for Research. He joined the CMU faculty in 1987, after completing his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan.

Peter is an active researcher, educator, administrator, and servant to the academic community. His research contributions lie mainly in areas related to the foundations of software reliability, program analysis, security, and language design. He is a former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association and its Government Affairs Committee. He is the author of two books, authored or co-authored more than 50 refereed papers, and has advised or co-advised 14 completed Ph.Ds. Peter has received numerous awards for his research, including the Special Interest Group on Operating Systems Hall of Fame Award for the most influential paper from OSDI; the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Programming Most Influential Programming Language Design and Implementation Paper; the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence in Computer Science for Proof-Carrying Code; and the 1994 Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science.


  • Portrait of Peter Lee

    Peter Lee

    Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research