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Windows on Theory
Posted by Rob Knies
As “news” increasingly has morphed into “conversation” over the past decade, the blog has become one of the pre-eminent platforms fostering that discussion. It’s undeniably true, whether you’re examining political dynamics in Syria, college basketball tournaments in the United States, or the latest chartbuster from Adele. Whatever your interest, there’s a blog—or a dozen—to cater to it.That’s true in the world of computer-science research, too. Just ask Omer Reingold, principal researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley.Reingold’s interests focus on computer-science theory, and a couple of months ago, he and his lab colleagues were exploring the launching of a blog to test the theory waters. A handful of weeks later, they’re quite happy they did so, given the initial response to Windows on Theory.—a name chosen for its Microsoft connection, not because the blog is focused solely on the Windows operating system.
With most digital cameras these days, you can shoot still photos or video. The critical question, then, is which one to use when you’re at your child’s soccer game or out with a group of friends: a picture often won’t do it justice, whereas shooting video can be quite challenging for the average person. A group of Microsoft researchers has now rendered that decision moot with a new interactive app called Cliplets.
This week at Techfest, Microsoft Research is demonstrating its Microsoft Translator Hubwhich allows any individual or group to create a custom machine translationsystem between virtually any two languages. This is a powerful tool for thoseinterested in both preserving the language heritage of the world and connectingto the Internet the billions of people who don’t speak one of the world’s majorlanguages.
We talk about Bing as a “decision engine” that anticipates your intent and surfaces search results to help you quickly make an informed decision. Built into this concept is the assumption that productivity is your chief goal. The Socio-Digital Systems group in Microsoft Research Cambridge has been studying how people use the internet for functions rather than getting things done, where it’s more about the journey than it is the destination.
With March 2012 upon us, you could say that, from a calendar perspective, the drama of this leap year already has passed. February has enjoyed its quadrennial enhancement. The ides of March are nearly upon us. A change of season is a couple of weeks away.But those are simply timekeeping trivia. If you’re looking for real, substantive advancements, consider Microsoft Research’s TechFest 2012, the annual celebration of computer-science technology.At Microsoft Research, with its proud tradition of groundbreaking technological explorations extending over 20 years, every year is leap year.