The Role of Basic Research in Technology


May 18, 2011


Rick Rashid, senior vice president, Microsoft Research, delivers this opening keynote presentation at the 2011 Microsoft Research Latin American Faculty Summit.


Rick Rashid

As senior vice president, Richard (Rick) F. Rashid oversees worldwide operations for Microsoft Research, an organization encompassing more than 850 researchers across six labs worldwide. Under Rashid’s leadership, Microsoft Research conducts both basic and applied research across disciplines that include algorithms and theory; human-computer interaction; machine learning; multimedia and graphics; search; security; social computing; and systems, architecture, mobility and networking. His team collaborates with the world’s foremost researchers in academia, industry and government on initiatives to advance the state-of-the-art of computing and to help ensure the future of Microsoft’s products.

After joining Microsoft in September 1991, Rashid served as director and vice president of the Microsoft Research division and was promoted to his current role in 2000. In his earlier roles, Rashid led research efforts on operating systems, networking and multiprocessors, and authored patents in such areas as data compression, networking and operating systems. He managed projects that catalyzed the development of Microsoft’s interactive TV system and also directed Microsoft’s first e-commerce group. Rashid was the driving force behind the creation of the team that later developed into Microsoft’s Digital Media Division.

Before joining Microsoft, Rashid was professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). As a faculty member, he directed the design and implementation of several influential network operating systems and published extensively about computer vision, operating systems, network protocols and communications security. During his tenure, Rashid developed the Mach multiprocessor operating system, which has been influential in the design of modern operating systems and remains at the core of several commercial systems.

Rashid’s research interests have focused on artificial intelligence, operating systems, networking and multiprocessors. He has participated in the design and implementation of the University of Rochester’s Rochester Intelligent Gateway operating system, the Rochester Virtual Terminal Management System, the CMU Distributed Sensor Network Testbed, and CMU’s SPICE distributed personal computing environment. He also co-developed of one of the earliest networked computer games, “Alto Trek,” during the mid-1970s.

Rashid was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2003 and presented with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Emanuel R. Piore Award and the SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award in 2008. He was also inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008. In addition, Rashid is a member of the National Science Foundation Computer Directorate Advisory Committee and a past member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency UNIX Steering Committee and the Computer Science Network Executive Committee. He is also a former chairman of the Association for Computing Machinery Software System Awards Committee.

Rashid received master of science (1977) and doctoral (1980) degrees in computer science from the University of Rochester. He graduated with honors in mathematics and comparative literature from Stanford University in 1974.