Posted by Hsiao-Wuen Hon, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia

Microsoft Research 2012 in Review logo

In China, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, a particularly auspicious year in Chinese culture. I am very glad to see that this also has been a good year both for Microsoft and for Microsoft Research Asia. Thanks to the efforts of the lab and our continuing collaboration with our Asian academic partners, I am proud to share some highlights from this year.

Thanks to collaboration between our lab and Microsoft Office Division China, the Engkoo Pinyin IME Beta, a cloud-based, Chinese-language input method using Bing search capability, was released. The Engkoo Pinyin IME Beta has changed the traditional concept of input-method editors (IME) by adding superior input quality and transforming the IME into a search engine. Following the lab’s unique, deployment-driven research model, the team created a new software-development model that uses social media to garner user feedback in real time and shorten the update cycle.

In October in Tianjin, China, Microsoft Research Asia held its annual flagship events, the 14th Computing in the 21st Century Conference (21CCC) and the Asia Faculty Summit 2012. This year’s 21CCC theme, Computing, Naturally, resonated well with the audience, including acclaimed domestic and worldwide academics and faculty members. The conference extended natural computing into a broader spectrum, including human-computer interaction, machine learning, big data, sensors, mobile and cloud computing, social computing, and trustworthy computing. As the highlight of the conference, Rick Rashid successfully delivered a demo of Personalized, Speech-to-Speech, Real-Time Translation in front of more than 2,000 students and faculty members. The breakthrough demonstration was quickly picked up by the media and the online community worldwide. With the joint efforts from our Redmond lab, we are proud to bring this technology to life.

Hsiao-Wuen HonThe Asia Faculty Summit 2012 brought together leading academic researchers, university presidents and faculties, and Microsoft researchers to discuss topics around the theme of Advancing Research and Education. We promoted talks about online education, computational thinking, and world-class universities and talent, as well as research topics such as cloud futures, mobile computing, and Kinect for Windows. Most importantly, the DemoFest in association with the Asia Faculty Summit this year brought 31 demos from various Asian research institutes and universities, representing a high-tech feast based on Microsoft technologies and collaboration with Microsoft Research Asia.

I am very glad that, in addition to world-class research, our lab also serves as a platform for the Asian academic community. In facilitating an ongoing dialogue with the Chinese academic community, Microsoft Research Asia worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to publish the Chinese version of The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery. We are happy to support this initiative and to provide our thoughts on cloud computing and big data.

As we say goodbye to 2012 and look ahead to 2013, I am reminded of a famous Chinese saying: “A journey of thousands of miles starts with every step.”

Every year is a new beginning, and we are looking forward to another great year ahead!