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Posted by Rob Knies
With today’s mobile devices, users can find shooting high-definition video as easy as snapping a photograph. That should mean, before long, that preserving and sharing bursts of video might become as commonplace as the current practice of exchanging still images.That’s the backdrop for a research project from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Microsoft Research Redmond that captures a spectrum of looping videos with varying levels of dynamism, ranging from a static image to a highly animated loop.The research is detailed in a technical paper, written by Zicheng Liao of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Neel Joshi and Hugues Hoppe of Microsoft Research Redmond, titled Automated Video Looping with Progressive Dynamism. The paper is among the 19 authored all or in part by Microsoft Research that have been accepted for presentation during the 40th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH 2013), being held July 21 to 25 in Anaheim, Calif.
Animals hold a particular fascination for Lucas Joppa. Since he was a child, he has been fascinated by their comings and goings, the mysteries behind their living patterns, their prospects as species.Now, as a scientist in the Computational Ecology and Environmental Sciences Group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, he gets a chance to put his infatuation with fauna to good use, such as his participation in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, being held July 2-7 in Carlton House Terrace, just southwest of Trafalgar Square in central London.The exhibition is one of the most prestigious celebrations of science and research in the United Kingdom. In 2012, more than 10,000 people—including members of the Royal Family, business and academic pioneers, members of Parliament, and school groups—visited the free, annual event, the Royal Society’s biggest public gathering of the year. Attendees get an opportunity to interact with scientists and ask questions about their work.The exhibition will feature the official launch of Technology for Nature, a collaboration between Microsoft Research, the Zoological Society of London, and University College London that is focused on understanding and responding to human impacts on nature.
Posted by Bill Buxton
Bill Buxton, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research and a relentless advocate for innovation and effective design, is sharing his experience as a judge for the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals.
While the Fourth of July is not a holiday in Canada (our national day is on July 1), for me, this year the day is nevertheless not your usual day: I flew to St. Petersburg, Russia, to act as one of the judges in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. Given how much time I spend traveling, one could be forgiven for asking, “So what’s the big deal?” The answer is not as simple as the question.
Bill Buxton, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research and a relentless advocate for innovation and effective design, is sharing his experience as a judge for the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals.We arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, at mid-afternoon Friday—a little worse for wear after a night flying over the Atlantic, followed by changing planes in Frankfurt. But overall, the journey was fine, and given how things have been going, well worth the trip.Our hotel is a way from the heart of the city. The Imagine Cup is larger than I ever imagined: 309 student competitors from 71 countries, in addition to judges, faculty, support people, press, and space for them all to set up and present their work. There are few places large enough to accommodate such a traveling circus, and the facilities more than make up for the slight inconvenience of not being within walking distance of town.
Editor's Note: Bill Buxton, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research and a relentless advocate for innovation and effective design, is sharing his experience as a judge for the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. See Part One and Part Two.Tuesday and Wednesday were intense and busy days for students and judges alike. These were the days of judging. The projects in the competition fell into three main categories: Games, World Citizenship, and Innovation, each of which had its own international panel of judges, typically four per panel. Furthermore, there were additional prizes, each of which also had its own set of judges. I was a judge for the World Citizenship competition, a category sufficiently large to be split across two panels of judges. The two days of judging were quite different. Day One consisted of each student group presenting its project to a judging panel. The structure consisted of 10 minutes of setup, an uninterrupted 10-minute presentation, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A with the judges. Enforcement of the timing was rigid—but the students were so well prepared that, in virtually all cases, they nailed it almost to the second. While sessions were open to spectators, few students were to be seen among them. Those not presenting were busy refining their own presentations for either this or the following day, an activity that seemingly went on all hours of day and night!