Sean James, Senior Research Program Manager, Global Foundation ServicesSean James, Senior Research Program Manager
Global Foundation Services

As Microsoft continues to find ways to transform the energy supply chain toward greater efficiency and reduced environmental impact, we have seen that driving innovation in energy often requires a close partnership between industry and academia. Work like our new partnership with the University of Texas San Antonio's Sustainable Energy Research Institute (SERI) and testing our new rack based fuel cell technology with National Fuel cell Research Center at University of Irvine reflect a few of the ways we are leveraging partnerships to accelerate research breakthroughs.

Each year Microsoft issues a Request for Proposals for the Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF), to research teams across the world to support academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices, and teaching methods. This year we expanded the scope of the contest to include applications related to datacenter innovation and energy efficiency. We received over one hundred proposals from just under 30 countries. Each of the 12 winners will receive a $40,000 grant to fund their research.

These grants will fund teams from four different universities to study innovations in all areas of datacenter operations, among other areas of software engineering and Internet of Things. The subject matter builds on our commitment to energy innovation and sustainability and we see the results of this research benefiting not only Microsoft, but the industry as a whole.

Here is a brief look at the datacenter research grant winners and their topics:


Christoforos Kozyrakis

Stanford University, United States

Project: Resource Efficient Cloud Computing



051414-OnurOnur Mutlu

Carnegie Mellon University, United States

Project: Improving Datacenter Efficiency and Total Cost of Ownership with Differentiated Software Reliability Analysis and Techniques


051414-ThuThu Nguyen

Rutgers University, United States

Project: Cool Provision: Provisioning of Cooling Systems for Datacenters 



051414-Reinaldo051414-WeiReinaldo Tonkoski and Wei Sun

South Dakota State University, United States Project: Reliable and Resilient Microgrids for Datacenters               



I would like congratulate each of the winners and thank all the participants for the considerable effort they put into their work. I am looking forward to sharing the results of these research projects as they progress. Be sure to check out Microsoft Research's annual SEIF Day on June 16, which will bring together this year's winners and other influential researchers to present and discuss existing and future projects in software engineering research, and check back here for more updates on how we are continually evolving our efficient datacenter energy strategies.