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Posted by Rob Knies
More than a century ago, 641 Sixth Ave., a Beaux-Arts high-rise in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, housed Simpson, Crawford & Simpson, known for a while as the most elegant department store in New York City.On Aug. 19, this historic 1902 landmark, part of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, begins the latest chapter in its storied existence by becoming the home for Microsoft Research New York City.For the past 15 months, the New York City lab, founded in May 2012, has occupied temporary space controlled by Microsoft while lab leadership endeavored to locate a welcoming space up to the standards of the world-class research it needed to host. Now, at 20th Street and Sixth Avenue—also known as Avenue of the Americas—the search is complete.
To hear George Varghese tell it, his research career got off to a rather inauspicious debut.“I wasn’t exactly a shining star when I graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,” he says. “I was hardly the one who would have been selected the most likely to succeed!”Over the intervening years, though, Varghese’s prospects took a turn for the better. He now is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond, and he recently was named the 2014 winner of the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award, one of the IEEE’s Technical Field Awards.
So, if you’re writing a book called On the Efficient Determination of Most Near Neighbors: Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, Web Search and Other Situations When Close is Close Enough, how exactly do you start?You could start by providing an overview of the matter at hand. Or you could start with your own rich research history in the domain being discussed. Or you could just dive right into the discussion with a passage called Cumulative Distribution and Probability Density Functions.But if you’re Mark Manasse, principal researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, and you’re writing a book on the concept of most near neighbors, a book that combines mathematical and engineering principles in an effort to gather together the various research directions in his chosen field, you do all that—but first you lead with a joke.
Location, location, location. Yu Zheng, lead researcher at Microsoft Research Asia, is all about location-based services. Now, his research into urban computing has led him into a pretty exclusive neighborhood.On Aug. 21, Zheng was named to MIT Technology Review’s TR35, the magazine’s annual list of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35. Recipients of the honor exemplify the spirit of innovation in business and technology and are honored during the EmTech MIT Conference, to be held this year from Oct. 9-11 at the MIT Media Lab, located in Cambridge, Mass. The complete list of honorees will appear in the September/October issue of the print magazine, which goes on sale on Sept. 3.