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Posted by Rob Knies
EmTech 2013, billed as The Conference on the Emerging Technologies That Matter, will be held in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 9-11 at the MIT Media Lab. The annual event, in its seventh year, represents a convergence of technology, business, and culture, and it attracts senior business and technology decision-makers who are drivers of the global innovation economy.That’s all well and good, but what do participants get from the experience?I posed that question to Kate Crawford and Yu Zheng, who will be representing Microsoft Research during the event, sponsored by MIT Technology Review. Each will be speaking during the conference, and each has a distinct expectation for the conference.
How many Likes have you received on Facebook lately? I’ll bet you have a pretty good idea (and that your overall assessment will be “not enough”).How many followers do you have on Twitter? You probably have a pretty good grasp of that number, too, don’t you?That’s understandable. Social media lends itself freely and easily to counting things, and if we start with no Likes and no followers, then each time our numbers lurch upward, we get a corresponding feeling of social success. Our popularity—or lack thereof—now comes with metrics, and they’re irresistible.But what, really, do they signify? That’s the discussion Nancy Baym of Microsoft Research wants to engender with her paper Data not seen: The uses and shortcomings of social media metrics, published Oct. 7 on First Monday, an openly accessible, peer-reviewed journal published on the Internet about the Internet.
When Microsoft Research New England was founded in 2008, the lab’s leadership explained that one of its key goals was to bring together computer scientists and social scientists to pursue new, interdisciplinary areas of research for understanding and enabling the computing experiences of the future.Now, as the lab celebrates its fifth year of existence—with a one-day symposium of talks on mathematics and theory, economics, big data and machine learning, and social media—how have Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft Research New England, and Christian Borgs, deputy managing director, fared?Pretty darned well, it appears.
So, how was your summer?For three Microsoft Research interns, that question has them singing a happy tune.The three—Michelle Agcamaran, Priya Ganesan, and Kat Zhou—spent the summer at Microsoft Research Redmond, working with mentor Alex Cheng. In doing so, they also stamped their names on a cool piece of technology. You can actually download the source code and play with it yourself.
Victor Bahl, research manager of the Mobility and Networking Research Group at Microsoft Research Redmond, recalls a time, nearly 20 years distant, when the idea of a professional organization for those interested in mobile technology was merely a glimmer on the horizon.Computing has come a long way over the past couple of decades, though, and now, Bahl finds himself being honored with the Outstanding Contribution Award from ACM SIGMOBILE, the organization he helped found.The award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Mobility of Systems, Users, Data, and Computing. The honor recognizes the lasting technical contribution made by a person and the influence that person has had on the field.