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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 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 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 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.
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.