• Microsoft Research Puts Its Stamp on NSDI ’14

    Posted by Rob Knies

    NSDI '14 logo

    Among the many activities that occupy a research scientist, participation in conferences focused on an individual’s fields of interest ranks high. They represent an opportunity to meet with colleagues, get up to speed with what others are doing, and share some findings of your own.

    Naturally, then, participants occasionally get asked to become organizers—an entirely different kind of sharing. Today, that’s where Ratul Mahajan of Microsoft Research finds himself.

    Mahajan, a senior researcher in the Mobility and Networking Research Group, is serving as program co-chair for NSDI ’14, the 11th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, which runs from April 2 through 4 in Seattle. So, a day before the event begins, he is simultaneously excited and keeping his fingers crossed.

  • Dumais Receives Athena Lecturer Award

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Susan Dumais

    Among the many earthly domains attributed to the Greek goddess Athena are those of mathematics, inspiration, strength, skill, and wisdom—traits that, combined, begin to describe the career of Susan Dumais, named April 8 as the ninth recipient of the 2014-’15 Athena Lecturer Award.

    The honor, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), goes to woman researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. Dumais, Microsoft distinguished scientist and deputy managing director of Microsoft Research Redmond, certainly qualifies.

  • Office Remote: Getting Better and Better

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Office Remote logo

    In November, Microsoft announced the availability for download of Office Remote, the product of collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Office engineering team that enables a number of useful features for those delivering business presentations.

    Office Remote transforms a Windows Phone 8 device into a presentation-management tool. Users can use it to interact with Office on their PCs, enabling them to control WordExcel, and PowerPoint from across a room. Presenters are then free to walk freely while talking. They can start PowerPoint, advance slides, see speaker notes, and deploy an on-screen laser pointer. They also can navigate between Excel worksheets and graphs or scroll quickly through a Word document or jump to specific sections within the doc.

    The response to these features has been gratifying—just ask Bert Van Hoof, particularly now that an updated version of Office Remote has become available in the Windows Phone Store.

  • Bringing Big-Data Dreams Down to Earth

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Holograph visualization

    You’ve probably heard a bit about big data in recent months. Chatter abounds about the enticing possibilities such prodigious data collections offer. But what, really, is in store for owners and users of big data sets?

    Curtis Wong knows.

    He should. Wong was the Microsoft Research scientist who gave the world the WorldWide Telescope, used by legions of astronomy fans fascinated by the informative, fun experience offered by a virtual telescope that delivers seamless, guided explorations of the universe.

    On April 17, during Microsoft Research’s Silicon Valley TechFair, he is demonstrating a project called Holograph, an interactive, 3-D data-visualization research platform that can render static and dynamic data above or below the plane of a display, using a variety of 3-D stereographic techniques.

  • Naiad: Big-Data Analysts Welcome

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Naiad logo

    Earlier today, during Microsoft Research’s Silicon Valley TechFair, we learned about visualization of big-data collections using Holograph. Another aspect of the big-data movement, though, is enabling data analysts to develop an application and then deploy it seamlessly to the cloud.

    Such processing was the focus of the TechFair project called Naiad on Azure: Rich, Interactive Cloud Analytics, the subject of plenty of interest on the show floor. Derek Murray, a researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, host of the event, found a few moments to pull himself away to discuss the latest extension of the Naiad effort.