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Posted by Rob Knies
Welcome to TechFest 2013, Microsoft Research’s annual tech showcase featuring many new, fascinating projects that point toward the future of computing.Over the next couple of days, we’ll be shining a light on some of the high-profile projects being shown during the event, held at the Microsoft corporate headquarters, in Redmond, Wash.Just after the event began, for example, I got a chance to chat with John Bronskill, partner architect at Microsoft Research Cambridge, about an intriguing effort called Adaptive Machine Learning for Real-Time Streaming.
TechFest 2013 began promptly at 9 a.m. March 5 in the Kodiak Room of the Microsoft Conference Center with a keynote address by Rick Rashid, Microsoft chief research officer and head of Microsoft Research.
Rashid discussed the present-day shift toward more intelligent technology, enabled by a wealth of data, de vices, and services.
For those who have upgraded to Windows 8, here’s a beguiling project featured during TechFest 2013. Called Making Smooth Topical Connections on Touch Devices, it offers an alternate, graphical way to mine, browse, and search through a database.The documents within the database are represented as a grid of keywords, with the font sizes varying by the frequency in which the words appear. This creates a galaxy-like collection of word groups interrelated with others nearby. The result is that the more popular terms in the database are easily identifiable because of font size, and related terms are identifiable by proximity. At a glance, you can see what’s important and what is connected.For a glimpse at the project in action, just take a look at the TechFest 2013 home page.“This makes it much easier to find things of interest,” says Nebojsa Jojic, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond, “as opposed to search terms. You can see smooth transitions between words, and you can immediately see terms that are related to your search.”
Among the most engrossed attendees of the first day of TechFest 2013 had to be this year’s class of Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellows, who received an invitation to the event by virtue of their selection to the program.The fellows are recipients of a two-year fellowship for outstanding Ph.D. students, nominated by their universities, in their third and fourth years of Ph.D. graduate studies.Among those invited to attend was Rashmi Vinayak of the University of California, Berkeley, whose experience, while hers alone, certainly must be shared by her fellow recipients.
Perhaps you’re engrossed in the ongoing enthusiasm and enlightenment that is TechFest 2013, but, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to participate in person. Never fear—we are delighted to offer you the next best thing to being here.Presenting the TechFest 2013 Video Portal.