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Posted by Rob Knies
Like many people his age, Andrés Monroy-Hernández of Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs is enamored with the possibilities offered by social computing. He just applies them at a more engaged level than most. Consider some of the areas his research addresses: the lack of effective information during crises, the need to develop digital-media literacy among children, and the need to provide more access to health care in the developing world.
He doesn’t just dabble in such interests, either. He created the Scratch Online Community, an environment in which children can program interactive stories, games, and animations—and share them with others online. He is a co-founder of Sana, a mobile health-care system for the developing world. And he is among the leading scholars watching how social media functions during the ongoing drug war in his native Mexico.It comes as little surprise, then, that Monroy-Hernández has been named one of 10 recipients of the second annual TR35 México awards, presented by MIT Technology Review. The awards recognize the work of your people under the age of 35 in research, technology, and innovation.
What constitutes an annoying ad on the web? Is it the use of garish colors, as in a Halloween theme gone amok? Is it a page seemingly designed to cram in as many blinking, spinning, animated GIFs as possible? Is an ad annoying when clicking it generates a pop-up in response?Certainly the use of any of these tactics can act to irritate web users on occasion. Just as certainly, anybody with even a modest acquaintance with the web probably can cite at least one such ad-induced headache. The typical response might turn an old cliché on its head: “I don’t know much about annoying ads, but I know them when I see them.”That, though, isn’t sufficient for Dan Goldstein and Siddharth Suri of Microsoft Research New York City. They want to know exactly what people mean when complaining about ad annoyances—and what cost web publishers incur when displaying such ads.
Boaz Barak specializes in theoretical computer science. He has a Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science, has been a member in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, based in Princeton, N.J., and then moved across town to serve as an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University.Now, as a senior researcher at Microsoft Research New England, he is helping to verify the presence of nuclear warheads.That might seem an unlikely turn of events, but it just goes to show the unusual opportunities Microsoft Research scientists get to improve our world for the better.
If you are feeling hungry, you go to the kitchen. If you’d like to take a swim, you head to a swimming pool. If you want to catch a movie, you’re bound for a theater.And, Danyel Fisher says, if you’re interested in data, you open Excel.“Excel is where data lives,” says Fisher, a researcher with the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) team at Microsoft Research Redmond. “When people have data to organize, in any form, it usually passes through Excel at some point—sometimes, just as a quick way to look at it, and sometimes, with tools like Flash Fill and charting and sorting—that’s where it stays.“Data visualizations are incredibly powerful and fun ways for users to understand their data.”
It’s not often that people get a chance to peek into the future, but that will be the case May 21 in Washington, D.C., when Microsoft Research hosts its biennial D.C. TechFair.During an afternoon open house held at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in downtown Washington, D.C., customers, academia, and governmental officials will get an opportunity to explore the trends and technologies Microsoft Research expects to change the face of computing.World-class scientists from Microsoft Research will demonstrate how new discoveries in computer science and information technology are not only enhancing Microsoft products but also helping to overcome some of society’s biggest challenges.