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Rick Rashid who created and runs Microsoft Research gave the opening keynote for day two. I found it interesting that when they started Microsoft Research they had a hard time recruiting top researchers. Twenty years ago Microsoft was still a relatively small company and there were doubts in some people’s minds that MSR (or even Microsoft) would amount to much. Things sure have changed! Rick also talked about a lot of “new, exciting hardware and software advances that are contributing to a simpler, more natural integration of the physical and virtual worlds”.  And there sure are a lot of cool things going on.

Judith Bishop then presented the annual Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Awards. These awards go to researchers in software engineering.

The goals of the 2012 round of SEIF awards are:

  • To stimulate and advance software engineering practices in the areas of mobile and cloud computing.
  • To continue to support academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices, and teaching methods.

Proposals are invited from but not limited to the following areas of interest:

  • Tools to evaluate performance, reliability, and energy consumption
  • Innovative use of mobile and cloud platforms for teaching of software engineering
  • Metrics and benchmarks for software processes
  • Modeling of programming languages and systems
  • Security and privacy for mobile platforms
  • Software dependability, safety, and reliability
  • Static and dynamic analysis techniques and tools

Heavy stuff!

After the keynote was the Demo Fest. Some great demos of Microsoft research projects from ChronoZoom to Microsoft Academic Search to   TouchDevelop to the Home OS (I love this idea) and much more. 

After lunch I attended a session on Metro which is the user interface for Windows 8. It was interesting and well done. But oh the Twitter activity was all about the session on Big Heritage, Big Quilts, and Big Canvases. Fortunately I believe the talks will be available on the Faculty Summit website today or tomorrow. In any case take a look at the online AIDS quilt and the ChronoZoom look at the history of AIDS. Visualization of lots of data in ways you probably have not seen before.

The closing keynote was David Breashears (from GlacierWorks) on Vanishing Glaciers in the Greater Himalayas and using images to tell a story. He showed some amazing high definition images of the glaciers in the Himalayas and was able to compare how the same places looked a 100 years ago (or more) with how they look today. This is part of a project to create an interactive educational view of a massive area of those great mountains and the glaciers that are there. It is amazing the sort of interactive applications we can create with large image datasets and today’s technology.

Over all I have to say it was a trip worth making. Even doing as much as I could I’m still going to be viewing some sessions on demand over the next couple of days. Check them out and I’m sure you’ll find some interesting sessions and learn things. I know I have/will.