• Next for Rothschild: Bringing Rationality to March Madness

    Posted by Rob Knies

    David Rothschild

    March Madness, they call it, but David Rothschild is taking things to new extremes.

    Rothschild, an economist from Microsoft Research New York City, has been making a name for himself in the past few years. In 2012, he correctly predicted 50 of 51 Electoral College outcomes in the U.S. presidential race. Last month, his models accurately forecasted the winners in 21 of the 24 categories in the 86th annual Academy Awards.

    Now, for the first time, he is applying his prognosticative powers to the Big Dance, the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. With Selection Sunday complete and with bracket in hand, Rothschild will be following every step of the spectacle, beginning March 18 and continuing all the way through to the April 7 championship game.

  • The New Blink: Better than Ever

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Blink-mode view

    Earlier this month, members of the Interactive Visual Media (IVM) group received a most welcome email from John Ransier, who handles app management for Microsoft Research.

    The email reported that IVM’s Blink app had just been downloaded for the millionth time. It was a remarkable milestone for Blink, initially released a mere 13 months earlier. The app, as its many fans are already aware, enables users to capture, create, and share short, dynamic media using Windows Phone 8.

    “Needless to say, we were ecstatic hearing the news,” says Krishnan Ramnath, an IVM senior research software-development engineer. “ It’s hugely fulfilling and humbling at the same time to have reached this milestone, and it is even more reason to get Microsoft Research technology into people’s hands.”

  • ZooTracer: Setting a Track Record

    Posted by Rob Knies


    People love to watch animals. That’s why zoos exist. That’s why photographic safaris command princely sums. That’s why cat videos have become an unstoppable force.

    Lucas Joppa loves to watch animals, too, but his motivation includes an additional dimension. A scientist in the Computational Ecology and Environmental Sciences (CEES) group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, Joppa heads the Conservation Science Research Unit, which focuses on his key interests: science, policy, and tools and technology.

    On Feb. 24, Joppa and his CEES colleagues took yet another step toward melding a couple of those interests by offering for download ZooTracer, a desktop tool that can be used to trace animal movement by using consumer video equipment.

  • Intersection of Music, Technology Can Be Found in Cambridge, Mass.

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Music Tech Fest logo

    What do musicians and computer scientists have in common?

    More than you might think.

    “If you think about it,” Nancy Baym says, “almost everything musicians do is technologically mediated—their instruments are technologies, they manipulate the sound with technologies, they sing through microphones that are technologies, they depend on speakers, production software … all kinds of technologies just in the music-making processes themselves.

    “If you add in the music distribution and communication that happens through social media and other communication technologies, there are infinitely more ways technology shapes what musicians can and can’t do, as well as what they are expected to do or not to do.”

    Baym, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research, is discussing the connection that encouraged her to host the first Music Tech Fest series in the United States. The event is scheduled for Cambridge, Mass., from March 21 to 23 at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center.

  • Helping SQL Server Rev Up to Full Speed

    Posted by Rob Knies

    generic image

    As SQL Server 2014 is released to manufacturing on March 18, one of the features that will be bolstering the new release, to be available to customers on April 1, are its in-memory solutions built directly into the product. These solutions began as Hekaton, a collaboration between the product team and Microsoft Research.

    One of the selling points for SQL Server 2014 is its fast performance, and the solution built from Hekaton delivers in that regard, with its in-memory online-transaction processing, featuring an updatable in-memory column store and in-memory analytics.

    Hekaton is discussed in a video as part of the Microsoft Research Luminaries series on Channel 9. In the video, Paul Larson, Microsoft Research principal researcher, and Mike Zwilling, SQL Server principal architect, chat about the collaboration and the goals for the project.