• And the Oscar Goes to …

    Posted by Rob Knies

    David Rothschild

    Last year, David Rothschild of Microsoft Research New York City used a versatile, data-driven model to predict correctly the results of the U.S. presidential election in 50 of 51 jurisdictions—the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    Given the overwhelming accuracy—better than 98 percent—of those predictions, it’s no wonder that the work of Rothschild and a few other individuals trying to learn how to harness the value of big data gained the attention of the news media. “Some things,” wrote Steven Cherry in IEEE Spectrum, “are predictable—if you go to the people who rely on data and not their gut.”

    People, in other words, like Rothschild, who readily admits that his role is to “push the boundaries of information aggregation.”

    Now, as the next effort in his quest to make use of big data to reinvent how we think about predictions and forecasting—and, coincidentally, to make potential contributions to enable Microsoft to build better products and services—Rothschild has turned his predictive attention toward another major media event of global proportions: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 85th annual Academy Awards.

  • BLINK … and You Won’t Miss a Thing

    Posted by Rob Knies

    BLINK logo

    You’ve no doubt experienced that sinking feeling—we all have—after taking a photo and realizing that you pressed the shutter release just a bit too late. The moment is gone, the action elusive, the opportunity squandered. It’s frustrating, but what can you do?

    What you can do is download BLINK.

    BLINK is a brand-new photo-capturing app for Windows Phone 8. The app captures a burst of images beginning before you even press the camera shutter and continuing for about a second. It doesn’t matter whether your shutter finger is a touch too early or a tad too late. Once BLINK has collected the series of images, you simply swipe your finger across the film strip at the bottom of your screen to select the best version.

  • Image Debugging for Visual Studio

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Image Watch window displaying three image variables with the selected thumbnail in detail view

    Setting an objective is often the first step to achieving it. Case in point: Image Watch.

    Image Watch is a Visual Studio 2012 plug-in from the Interactive Visual Media (IVM) group at Microsoft Research Redmond. The tool enables anyone building image-processing applications to visualize images just as they would any other variable within the Visual Studio integrated development environment.

    “The tool—which works for Windows Phone, Windows Store, or desktop apps—began with a straightforward objective,” says Wolf Kienzle, a senior research software-design engineer with the IVM team.

  • Computing Research and Education: Microsoft Discusses Investments in the Future

    Posted by Elizabeth Grossman, Technology Policy Group, Microsoft

    Generic image

    Many of the amazing capabilities of technology today are made possible by research done years ago, and innovations and impact sometimes result from unexpected combinations and outcomes at unexpected times. One example is Kinect for Xbox 360, for which decades of research by Microsoft and others on artificial intelligence, graphics, motion detection, and voice recognition made it possible for your voice and body to be the game controller.

    Within Microsoft, we have made a sustained, 20-year investment in Microsoft Research. That organization’s more than 850 Ph.D.s, working in more than 55 research areas, thrive within the larger computing-research community, drawing collaborators, interns, and new hires from universities across the world.

    Two recent events have given Microsoft a chance to communicate the importance of computing research in general and the interconnections of industry, government, and academia in this space.