• Audio Advances Help Xbox One Determine Signal from Noise

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Xbox logo

    You might remember Ivan Tashev as the researcher behind the audio technology that helped to make Kinect for Xbox 360 such a marketplace sensation a couple of years ago. Now, with Xbox One headed for a Nov. 22 debut, Tashev, a principal software architect for Microsoft Research, is about to see his efforts with the Xbox team result in a new set of Kinect audio enhancements. This collaboration will extend the capability to control the console via voice command.

    “Everything is on a higher level,” Tashev says, “with tougher requirements, with way, way stronger criteria for release and for how the audio, the acoustics, and the entire audio system should work. We had a lot of work to do, and we improved the system a lot.”

    Tashev’s contributions are featured in the debut of the new Microsoft Research Luminaries video series on Channel 9, in which he describes what’s new with the Kinect’s audio performance.

  • Microsoft Researchers Take Center Stage During EmTech 2013

    Posted by Rob Knies

    EmTech logo

    EmTech 2013, billed as The Conference on the Emerging Technologies That Matter, will be held in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 9-11 at the MIT Media Lab. The annual event, in its seventh year, represents a convergence of technology, business, and culture, and it attracts senior business and technology decision-makers who are drivers of the global innovation economy.

    That’s all well and good, but what do participants get from the experience?

    I posed that question to Kate Crawford and Yu Zheng, who will be representing Microsoft Research during the event, sponsored by MIT Technology Review. Each will be speaking during the conference, and each has a distinct expectation for the conference.

  • Baym Tunes In to Social-Media Metrics

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Nancy Baym

    How many Likes have you received on Facebook lately? I’ll bet you have a pretty good idea (and that your overall assessment will be “not enough”).

    How many followers do you have on Twitter? You probably have a pretty good grasp of that number, too, don’t you?

    That’s understandable. Social media lends itself freely and easily to counting things, and if we start with no Likes and no followers, then each time our numbers lurch upward, we get a corresponding feeling of social success. Our popularity—or lack thereof—now comes with metrics, and they’re irresistible.

    But what, really, do they signify? That’s the discussion Nancy Baym of Microsoft Research wants to engender with her paper Data not seen: The uses and shortcomings of social media metrics, published Oct. 7 on First Monday, an openly accessible, peer-reviewed journal published on the Internet about the Internet.

  • New England Lab Celebrates 5 Years of Interdisciplinary Success

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Microsoft Research New England

    When Microsoft Research New England was founded in 2008, the lab’s leadership explained that one of its key goals was to bring together computer scientists and social scientists to pursue new, interdisciplinary areas of research for understanding and enabling the computing experiences of the future.

    Now, as the lab celebrates its fifth year of existence—with a one-day symposium of talks on mathematics and theory, economics, big data and machine learning, and social media—how have Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft Research New England, and Christian Borgs, deputy managing director, fared?

    Pretty darned well, it appears.

  • Young Interns Spend Summer Translating Songs

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Song Translator interns (from left) Michelle Agcamaran, Kat Zhou, and Priya Ganesan

    So, how was your summer?

    For three Microsoft Research interns, that question has them singing a happy tune.

    The three—Michelle Agcamaran, Priya Ganesan, and Kat Zhou—spent the summer at Microsoft Research Redmond, working with mentor Alex Cheng. In doing so, they also stamped their names on a cool piece of technology. You can actually download the source code and play with it yourself.