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Posted by Rob Knies
It’s always interesting to put new technology into the hands of university students and see what they can devise, and such was precisely the case during the Student Innovation Contest, held in conjunction with the Association for Computing Machinery’s 24th annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), held Oct. 16-19 in Santa Barbara, Calif.Thirty groups participated in the contest, for which Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group supplied each student with a Microsoft Touch Mouse, customized specially for the contest, and exclusive access to the publicly available Touch Mouse API, to gain visibility to the real-time sensor information from the touch sensor on the mouse.
Posted by Andrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft Research Cambridge
As ever, at the core of Microsoft Research Cambridge’s work is participation in academic research across the world. Our publication activity is too prolific to detail, but we regularly hit the top conferences and journals. Notably, our staff co-authored eight papers this year on human-computer interaction at CHI, and seven at POPL, the premier conference for programming languages.
There was a scientific landmark in September. Georges Gonthier announced the culmination of a six-year project with our joint research centre at INRIA, Paris that produced a formal proof of the Feit-Thompson Theorem, the first major step of the classification of finite simple groups. It used the proof system Coq and strengthened it appreciably in the process. Coq is also important for verification of security-critical code.We had plenty of media attention this year, particularly on blending virtual and physical spaces. KinÊtre, Touchless Interaction in Medical Imaging, and Digits all created a significant buzz. Two of those came from the i3D group, a new, cross-disciplinary collaboration on natural user interaction, a subject that could help shape how we relate to computers and computer-controlled technology. Not to be outdone, our IT team hit the press too, explaining its innovative approach to running effective data centres.
Setting an objective is often the first step to achieving it. Case in point: Image Watch.Image Watch is a Visual Studio 2012 plug-in from the Interactive Visual Media (IVM) group at Microsoft Research Redmond. The tool enables anyone building image-processing applications to visualize images just as they would any other variable within the Visual Studio integrated development environment.“The tool—which works for Windows Phone, Windows Store, or desktop apps—began with a straightforward objective,” says Wolf Kienzle, a senior research software-design engineer with the IVM team.
In 1780, the nascent United States of America was still in the midst of the Revolutionary War. American pride suffused the former colonies’ scholar-patriots, and one result was the founding of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Among the cofounders was John Adams, then a historian and political theorist who, 16 years later, became the second president of the United States. Adams’ role in helping to create the academy certainly didn’t escape the attention of Eric Horvitz, Microsoft distinguished scientist and deputy managing director of Microsoft Research Redmond, who, in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 1, was inducted as one of the 179 of the nation’s most influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors, and institutional leaders in the academy’s 231st class of members.
“I was delighted to be invited to join a society that was cofounded by John Adams, someone I’ve long admired,” said Horvitz, pictured above signing his name into the academy’s Book of Members, a tradition that began in 1780. “Just a few years after the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and several other founders of the United States created the society in recognition of the importance of nurturing and celebrating the arts and sciences in an open and vibrant society.”
“Carefully hits to the forehead” instead of "Watch your head"? Well, I’m sure I’ve written things like that on occasion myself, and perhaps you have, too. Still, it’s not exactly the king’s English, is it?In China, such usages are referred to as “Chinglish,” unfortunate turns of phrase created by translators whose eagerness to communicate across language barriers outstrips their abilities to do so (even if their English remains infinitely more adept than my Mandarin). At best, it can be a source of merrymaking; at worst, an embarrassment. What can be done?Matt Scott has a solution. Scott, senior development lead in the Innovation Engineering group at Microsoft Research Asia, is the project lead for Engkoo, a technology for exploring and learning language, and he has particular experience in trying to rid China of such aberrant coinages.