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Posted by Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft Research New England
It’s been another year of great research, growth, and connection at Microsoft Research New England. We’ve had more than 350 academic visitors this year, many of whom have engaged deeply with other Microsoft Research researchers and with our product groups.The Social Media Collective (SMC) had an amazing year. We added three prominent researchers—Nancy Baym, Kate Crawford, and Mary Gray—to the SMC. Together with danah boyd, there is no doubt that we now have the leading social-media-research group worldwide. Our SMC researchers and visitors have done groundbreaking research on questions concerning youth and marginalized populations online, as well as in the study of social interactions around online music and games.We continued to have great results from our Empirical Economics program. Susan Athey and Markus Mobius, now joined by Justin Rao of Microsoft Research New York City, drive an ongoing engagement with more than a dozen external economists on empirical questions concerning online advertising, business models for our online properties and the cloud, and health-care economics.
Posted by Andrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft Research Cambridge
As ever, at the core of Microsoft Research Cambridge’s work is participation in academic research across the world. Our publication activity is too prolific to detail, but we regularly hit the top conferences and journals. Notably, our staff co-authored eight papers this year on human-computer interaction at CHI, and seven at POPL, the premier conference for programming languages.
There was a scientific landmark in September. Georges Gonthier announced the culmination of a six-year project with our joint research centre at INRIA, Paris that produced a formal proof of the Feit-Thompson Theorem, the first major step of the classification of finite simple groups. It used the proof system Coq and strengthened it appreciably in the process. Coq is also important for verification of security-critical code.We had plenty of media attention this year, particularly on blending virtual and physical spaces. KinÊtre, Touchless Interaction in Medical Imaging, and Digits all created a significant buzz. Two of those came from the i3D group, a new, cross-disciplinary collaboration on natural user interaction, a subject that could help shape how we relate to computers and computer-controlled technology. Not to be outdone, our IT team hit the press too, explaining its innovative approach to running effective data centres.
Posted by François Dumas, director of Advanced Technology Labs Cairo
When I joined Advanced Technology Labs Europe as its director, I expected to work with great talent on hard problems to incubate impactful technology. Three months later, I can honestly say that the group has fulfilled all my hopes, and as we cross the threshold of a new year, I realize that our lab is ready for greater things yet. 2013 is poised to be an exciting year for us—a year of change and a year of promises fulfilled. We will be moving from Aachen, Germany, to Munich over the summer. This relocation will provide us the ability to work more closely with Microsoft’s R&D efforts in Germany. We also look forward to closer ties with local sales and marketing groups, because grounding our research in actual business scenarios is a central tenet of our research.
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.
Posted by P. Anandan, managing director of Microsoft Research India
At Microsoft Research India, 2012 began the same way all years do—with our annual Technical Advisory Board meeting and TechVista, which this time was in the lovely city of Kolkata at the Science City, a perfect place for a symposium on research and careers in research. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the more than 1,800 students who attended the event—there is, indeed, something to the reputation of Kolkata as a place of high culture and scholarship!
The year continued with great research and publications, one highlight being five papers at STOC 2012, a significant achievement for a small lab. We also had some outstanding individual achievements I would like to mention. Saikat Guha received MIT TR35 recognition, and Neeraj Kayal was awarded the Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientists. And as this blog post was nearing publication, we learned that we had a wonderful holiday gift: Vipul Goyal has been recognized by Forbes as one of its 30 Under 30 in Science and Healthcare.