Posted by Rob Knies

Microsoft Research India headquarters

By now, it’s the middle of the night at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. But while U.S. researchers are dreaming about Microsoft Research’s forthcoming anniversary events, it’s afternoon in Bangalore, the home of Microsoft Research India.

P. Anandan, Microsoft distinguished scientist and Microsoft Research India managing director, greeted media with a keynote address that discussed Microsoft Research and its role within the company, his facility, and its objectives and achievements.

He had a lot to cover. Scientific and academic research continues to grow in India, and computer-science research is being conducted at key universities across the breadth of the nation.

“Even during the six years that Microsoft Research India has existed,” Anandan said, “we have seen an increase in interest in research among students and a desire to increase the number of research-oriented institutions among the academic community and the government, as well as a greater awareness of the long-term benefits of research and R&D in the industry.”

In fact, one of India’s most significant computing events is itself hosted by Microsoft Research India. TechVista, held annually, is a research symposium that gathers the best minds from science and academia, giving the research community, governmental officials, and students an opportunity to interact and exchange ideas on the ways in which research directions will evolve. The next edition of TechVista will be held in January 2012 in Kolkata, India.

Following Anandan’s comments, the assemblage was invited to explore 10 technical demonstrations from Microsoft Research India researchers. Among the most intriguing:

  • Poirot: This project, from the Rigorous Software Engineering group, is designed to identify concurrency bugs difficult to find using conventional testing without actually executing the program via the use of theorem provers.
  • Fuzzy and Multilingual Contact Search: From the Multilingual Systems group, this hashtag-based technology for Windows Phone 7 finds the correct contact name even when the user spells it incorrectly or uses a different language.
  • Stratus: This system from the Mobility, Networks, and Systems group increases the battery life on smartphones by reducing the energy consumed for cellular data communication, a major source of energy drain on these devices.
  • Bollywood Song Search: A project with the potential to become a favorite among India’s film aficionados, this project from the Multilingual Systems group uses a Roman-to-Hindi transliteration engine, along with ranking and implementation strategies, to provide query completion for Bollywood song search without using query logs.

These are some of the ways that Microsoft Research India is exploring key technology trends that will define the 21st century, with work under way to achieve the company’s vision for the future of technology.

With Bangalore abuzz, we’ll be making one more stop in the Eastern Hemisphere before hopping across the Atlantic Ocean. Stay tuned!