• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”