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Posted by Rob Knies
Fifty years ago, the Century 21 Exposition—the Seattle World’s Fair—provided visitors with a vision of the future. With its gleaming Monorail and its towering Space Needle, the fair trumpeted the advances made possible by science and space travel, thereby extending a Pacific Northwest legacy of innovation and creativity.Now, during the golden anniversary of Century 21, Seattle is celebrating the scientific achievements of today and tomorrow with the Seattle Science Festival. The event, which runs throughout the month of June, is the region’s first large-scale, community-wide celebration of science and technology.On June 2, in the shadow of the Space Needle, the festival presents its Science EXPO Day, a free event featuring more than 150 family-friendly, hands-on experiments, exhibits, demonstrations, interactive activities, games, and live performances.
Distributed computing is critical for most modern, Internet-scale services, enabling high availability and the ability to scale to massive, worldwide audiences. The web as we now know it is unimaginable without advances achieved in distributed computing.It is challenging, though, to attain these capabilities while ensuring the correctness and the consistency of the shared and replicated mutable state offered by such services, because of the potential for failures of various kinds, such as server and network failures.Introducing students and researchers to such challenges is the goal of Microsoft Research India’s 2012 Summer School on Distributed Algorithms, Systems, and Programming, to be held from May 28 to June 8 in the Supercomputer Education and Research Center (SERC) Auditorium of the Indian Institute of Science, located in Bangalore.
This spring, London’s Royal Court Theatre issued a most peculiar press release, announcing the forthcoming production of Ten Billion: An Exploration of the Future of Life on Earth, to debut July 12.“Scientist Stephen Emmott and director Katie Mitchell deliver a new kind of scientific lecture,” the release read, “highlighting key issues being lost in translation in our discussion of the environment.”The first name caught my eye immediately. Emmott is the head of Computational Science at Microsoft Research Cambridge—in addition to being a professor of Computational Science at the University of Oxford. His work takes a pioneering approach to tackling fundamental problems in science, particularly those in predicting the future of the climate and the future of life on Earth.
Making efficient use of resources and tools is a hallmark of many computer-research projects, and that target is exemplified in a pair of videos that illuminate work coming from Microsoft Research India.The videos, recently made publicly accessible, represent two distinct research projects, one from the Mobility, Networks, and Systems team at the India lab, the other from the Technology for Emerging Markets group. The former examines a method to make devices more energy-efficient by using cloud resources, while the latter offers a novel way to educate students in poor communities.
Aleksander Madry and David Steurer are both postdoctoral researchers at Microsoft Research New England focused on theoretical computer science. Each of them is intrigued by the challenges posed by graphs, and each has devised new algorithms to address those challenges.And, as of May 2, both are recipients of Honorable Mention from the Association for Computing Machinery for its 2011 Doctoral Dissertation Award, presented annually to the author or authors of the best doctoral dissertations in computer science and engineering.