• eXtreme Computing Group: 2012 in Review

    Posted by Surajit Chaudhuri, managing director of the eXtreme Computing Group

    eXtreme Computing Group 2012 in Review logo

    2012 has been a year of significant developments for the eXtreme Computing Group (XCG), from changes in its organizational structure to project milestones we reached.

    One year ago, XCG had several teams with specific technical focus and expertise, in addition to a large but separate engineering group. The intent of such an organizational structure was to have the engineering team not only incubate some of its own project ideas but also to step in and contribute to projects in other parts of XCG. Despite good intentions, such an organizational structure did not serve XCG well. I discovered that it encouraged fragmentation and conflict of interest instead of promoting collaboration. Therefore, we made a few organizational changes. Today, our engineering resources—researchers, developers, program managers—are organized exclusively by their technical expertise, and we no longer have a separate engineering team. XCG has responded well to this change, accomplished early in the year, and we are a more cohesive team than ever before.

  • Helping Pregnant Women Avoid Anemia

    Posted by Rob Knies

    mHealth Summit logo

    India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The nation also has a staggeringly high child mortality rate—about 46 of every thousand births result in death.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. Anemia during pregnancy plays a major contributory role in such cases—87 percent of pregnant Indians are anemic, and anemia is connected to 40 percent of the maternal deaths. The most common cause for anemia is a lack of healthy iron levels in the mother’s diet, but even though that shortcoming can be abated via iron supplements and many governmental hospitals freely distribute iron tablets, Indian women rarely complete the course of medication.

    Bill Thies and his collaborators at Microsoft Research India, the nonprofit Armman, and Sion Hospital are determined to change things, as he will make clear Dec. 4 during the fourth annual mHealth Summit, being held Dec. 3-5 in National Harbor, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.

  • Station Q: 2012 in Review

    Posted by Michael Freedman, managing director of Station Q

    Station Q 2012 in Review logo

    Station Q focuses on the physics of those condensed-matter quantum systems that offer the promise of intrinsic or “topological” protection from error and decoherence. Such systems are likely to play an important role in the architecture of quantum computers. We also enjoy trying to understand what quantum computers will be able to do once they are built.

    The answer is certainly not in asymptotic formulations; the constants matter. During a recent meeting on quantum chemistry, I learned that for problems that will be at the forefront in the next couple of decades, the limiting factor for quantum algorithms is not the number of qubits but the number of gate operations. One easily produces numbers like 10^20 if one does the “obvious”: imitate the unitary evolution you wish to study with fine “Trotter time steps” and build each step—which, because of the fineness, will agree with the identity matrix to a dozen decimal places—by a composition of millions of gates. Here is a hint that we might think of something cleverer.

  • Four from Microsoft Research Named IEEE Fellows

    Posted by Rob Knies

    IEEE logo

    In this, the 100th anniversary of what is now known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)  Fellow program, four computer scientists from Microsoft Research have joined the annals of illustrious individuals who have attained the grade of IEEE Fellow.

    Peter Key, Yi Ma, Feng Wu, and Geoffrey Zweig of the Class of 2013 represent  Microsoft Research’s latest contributions for this prestigious honor, bestowed upon select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting.

  • Four from Microsoft Research Named Inaugural AMS Fellows

    Posted by Rob Knies

    American Mathematical Society logo

    Four members of Microsoft Research have been named to the inaugural list of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), announced in November.