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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 Rob Knies
Over the past year, the use of .NET Gadgeteer in education steadily has gained momentum, and that surge in interest received significant validation a few weeks ago in Hamburg, Germany.That city was the site of the seventh Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, held Nov. 8-9. During the proceedings, it was announced that Challenge and Creativity: Using .NET Gadgeteer in Schools, a paper co-written by Sue Sentance of the United Kingdom’s Anglia Ruskin University and Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche of Microsoft Research Connections’ Europe and Russia region, had won the event’s Best Paper Award.
Posted by Lili Cheng
As you may know, Socl began as an experiment in social search for students and learning. Over the past several months, we’ve watched Socl evolve into a place where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful post collages.We appreciate your continued feedback, which is helping us to gain more insight every day and improve how we can all communicate, learn, and share our everyday lives. We’ve been busy redesigning Socl to match how you’re using it, and starting today, we’d like you to give the new Socl a spin and let us know what you think.
Posted by Roy Levin, managing director of Microsoft Research Silicon Valley
Transferring research results into products and services is always a challenging part of Microsoft Research’s job. No two transfers ever happen quite the same way. This year, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley had a tech-transfer experience that is, I believe, unique in the history of Microsoft Research—at least, I can’t remember one of a similar sort in the 11 years I’ve been here.
The technology in this case is a novel form of erasure codes, called “locally reconstructable codes,” that can make a dramatic improvement in the resources required to provide necessary redundancy in a storage-based service. These codes have substantially better space efficiency than classic Reed-Solomon codes, as well as better performance both in normal operation and during error recovery. It is surprising and gratifying that even in a field that has been explored so extensively, it is still possible to make important discoveries.
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.