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Posted by Rob Knies
In recent months, 3-D printing has leapt into the popular vernacular. Not that long ago, 3-D printers and the items they produce seemed little more than an unusual plaything for organizational use. Such printers were expensive, difficult to understand, and, for most people, simply inaccessible.No longer, though. Such printers have plummeted in price and mushroomed in popularity. The result is that what seemed a distant dream has suddenly become a tantalizing reality. The question for many quickly is morphing from “What could they do?” to “What can I do?”On Oct. 30, during Innovation Day 2013 at Microsoft Research Asia, answers to the latter inquiry began to take shape, thanks to a demo called 3-D Scanning with Mobile Devices.
Jeannette Wing is corporate vice president of Microsoft Research. As such, she oversees Microsoft Research’s core research laboratories around the world—and Microsoft Research Connections.That much is true, indisputably. But her personal biography goes so much deeper than that. The above description doesn’t mention her academic career, which included more than 27 years at Carnegie Mellon University, where she served on two occasions as head of the Computer Science Department. It doesn’t include her three years as assistant director of the Computer & Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Nor does that bare-bones bio refer to her fervent belief in the concept of computational thinking.Now, though, there is a resource that can provide a deeper, more well-rounded introduction to Wing, her research passions, and her vision for the future. That can be found on Channel 9, beginning Oct. 29, as part of its Microsoft Research Luminaries series.
On Oct. 29, the Royal Society announced that Microsoft Research’s Luca Cardelli has received a Royal Society Research Professorship. This prestigious post provides long-term support for internationally recognized scientists of outstanding achievement and promise, and previous holders of the professorships include Nobel Laureates and Presidents of the Royal Society. The announcement also includes the University of Oxford, where Cardelli will be spending part of his time.
He also was in the news recently for his work—along with colleagues from the University of Washington; the University of California, San Francisco; the California Institute of Technology; and Microsoft Research’s Neil Dalchau and Andrew Phillips—in inventing a programming language to build synthetic DNA. After that was published in Nature Nanotechnology, Cardelli found time to respond to a few questions.
In this new, cloud-enabled era, users of various devices want—nay, expect—their apps and data to be available everywhere and all the time. The future is here, right, so why not?The devil, though, as always, is in the details. And details are exactly what Sebastian Burckhardt is motivated to master.Burckhardt, a Microsoft Research scientist with the Research in Software Engineering team, focuses on the study of programming models for concurrent, parallel, and distributed systems. On Oct. 30, he will be discussing Cloud Sessions, a programming abstraction available as a feature in TouchDevelop, a cross-platform app-development environment from Microsoft Research, during SPLASH 2013, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages conference on Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity, being held Oct. 26-31 in Indianapolis.
You might remember Ivan Tashev as the researcher behind the audio technology that helped to make Kinect for Xbox 360 such a marketplace sensation a couple of years ago. Now, with Xbox One headed for a Nov. 22 debut, Tashev, a principal software architect for Microsoft Research, is about to see his efforts with the Xbox team result in a new set of Kinect audio enhancements. This collaboration will extend the capability to control the console via voice command.“Everything is on a higher level,” Tashev says, “with tougher requirements, with way, way stronger criteria for release and for how the audio, the acoustics, and the entire audio system should work. We had a lot of work to do, and we improved the system a lot.”Tashev’s contributions are featured in the debut of the new Microsoft Research Luminaries video series on Channel 9, in which he describes what’s new with the Kinect’s audio performance.