• Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Computing

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Krysta Svore

    For years now, Microsoft researchers have been working with academics and scientists to unlock the riddles of quantum computing, a field that aims to merge the mysterious properties of quantum mechanics with computing. If achieved, a scalable quantum computer could rapidly accelerate how information is analyzed and processed, creating new forms of economic value.

    Indeed, some have ventured that the move from classical computing to quantum computing could be as revolutionary as the shift from vacuum tubes to silicon transistors.

    Given such stakes, it’s no wonder that Microsoft researchers are working feverishly to explore the mysteries the field holds, and one of those busy researchers is Krysta Svore (@krystasvore), the subject of the latest in the Microsoft Research Luminaries video series presented by Channel 9.

  • Helping the LGBT Community Access the Internet

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Mary L. Gray

    For many of us, the Internet offers limitless opportunities for enhancing our lives. We can catch up on news, shop for whatever our hearts desire, connect with our friends. The world at our fingertips—and in our pockets.

    For some, though, the Internet provides more than pleasurable diversion. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, the web can offer information of critical importance to their very existence, information sometime unavailable elsewhere. For many in the LGBT community, online access has become the ultimate lifeline.

    That message is beginning to gain attention, thanks in part to Microsoft researcher Mary L. Gray (@maryLgray). This summer, Gray and Jessie Daniels, a professor at the City University of New York, published a paper called Vision for Inclusion: An LGBT Broadband Future that argues for the steps that must be taken to ensure that online resources remain available for a segment of the population that dearly needs them.

  • The Woman Who Put the Vim in Xim

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Sarah Needham

    Yesterday in this space, you learned about the engineering behind Xim, a free app from Microsoft Research that brings fun, interactive photo sharing to users of Windows Phones, Android phones, or iPhones.

    Developing a new app requires a mixture of skill sets, from those focused on the plumbing and interfaces, to others who work “higher up the stack,” focusing on how actual users can extract the most value in the shortest time.

    Sarah Needham works higher up the stack. In her first year as a user-experience designer with FUSE Labs, she designed the Xim user interface, which offers an inviting experience based on plenty of research into how users interact with the app.

  • Share Your Photos, Not Your Phone

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Xim logo

    How easy is it to share these days? Pretty darned easy, as users of any mobile phone can attest. Take a photo, and a couple of clicks later, your shot is posted to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to name a few options.

    It can’t get much faster than that, can it?

    For certain scenarios, perhaps it can, says Steve Ickman, from FUSE Labs, who came up with the idea for Xim.

  • OSDI ’14 Highlight: Preserving Trust in the Cloud

    Posted by Rob Knies

    OSDI 2014 logo

    The advent of the era of cloud computing is disrupting the IT industry, but one issue continues to impede a headlong rush to the cloud: trust.

    That’s the contention of Andrew Baumann, (@1andrewb) a Microsoft researcher whose paper Shielding applications from an untrusted cloud with Haven, written with colleagues Marcus Peinado and Galen Hunt (@igalenhunt), has been named a best paper of the 11th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 2014), being held in Broomfield, Colo., from Oct 6 to 8.