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Posted by Eric Horvitz and Yi-Min Wang, managing co-directors of Microsoft Research Redmond
As we look back on the year at Microsoft Research Redmond, a flood of creative efforts and achievements come to mind. These include mission-focused pursuits aimed at solving urgent challenges, the pursuit of new understandings at the foundations of computer science, and blue-sky initiatives exploring new possibilities. Notable developments, honors, and influences are far too numerous to include in a short blog post, so we can touch on only a small subset of representative milestones.On the foundations front, a stunning set of experiments provided evidence for an elusive particle named the Majorana fermion. A team at the Delft University of Technology, led by Leo Kouwenhoven, used an experimental setup proposed and funded by our Station Q. Majoranas have been proposed as central in enabling an approach to quantum computing being pursued at Station Q.
Posted by Rob Knies
For a man of 29, Vipul Goyal, a researcher at Microsoft Research India, already possesses a gaudy list of academic and professional achievements. He has a Ph.D. from UCLA. As a student there, he won a Microsoft Research graduate fellowship. His cryptographic research has been widely published at top conferences, and his work has attracted the attention of popular science publications.And, on Dec. 17, Goyal was named to the Science and Healthcare section of Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 list, which features exceptional young people who are reinventing the world.The inclusion represents even more validation of Goyal’s current success and tremendous potential—and this one he found particularly thrilling.
Posted by Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft Research New York City
The inaugural year of Microsoft Research New York City has been stupendous. All of us at Microsoft are thrilled with our newest lab.The lab officially opened on May 3, 2012, with the announcement of a group of 15 founding researchers: David Pennock, Sébastien Lahaie, Justin Rao, David Rothschild, and Giro Cavallo in algorithmic, computational, and empirical economics; Duncan Watts, Dan Goldstein, Sharad Goel, Sid Suri, and Jake Hofman in computational and behavioral social science; John Langford, Miro Dudik, and Alekh Agarwal in machine learning; and Fernando Diaz and Elad Yom-Tov in information retrieval. Together, these researchers bring a deeply original and phenomenally productive approach to data science, particularly in the domains of economics and the social sciences.In the fall, the group was joined by one more member, Jenn Wortman Vaughan, who has done research in machine learning, algorithmic economics, and social science, and who, therefore, was a great match for the lab.
Posted by Surajit Chaudhuri, managing director of the eXtreme Computing Group
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.
Posted by Hussein Salama, director of Advanced Technology Labs Cairo
In 2012, we reaped the fruits of our long-term investments and bets that we made close to four years ago. In the midst of the Egyptian-revolution aftershocks, our lab managed to keep its focus and to end the year with many wonderful achievements.Our information-retrieval team continued its multiyear effort to drive up the relevance of Bing search for the Arab countries. In recognition of that team’s accomplishments and the skills the team members demonstrated, the Bing product group decided in March to start a Bing team in Cairo. The Bing Cairo team is collocated with Advanced Technology Labs Cairo and focuses on Bing search for the Arab countries and Turkey. I am delighted to have a research team and a development team at the same location, as this simplifies the collaboration and speeds the transfer of technologies from research to product.