Academia and industry unite to teach big data research

Big data—that buzzword seems to dominate information technology discussions these days. But big data is so much more than a clever catchphrase: it’s a reality that holds enormous potential. We now have the largest and most diversified volume of data in human history. And it’s growing exponentially: approximately 90% of today’s data has been generated…


Coping with floods—of water and data

Halloween 2013 brought real terror to an Austin, Texas, neighborhood, when a flash flood killed four residents and damaged roughly 1,200 homes. Following torrential rains, Onion Creek swept over its banks and inundated the surrounding community. At its peak, the rampaging water flowed at twice the force of Niagara Falls (source: USA Today). While studying…


Cloud computing helps make sense of cloud forests

The forests that surround Campos do Jordao are among the foggiest places on Earth. With a canopy shrouded in mist much of time, these are the renowned cloud forests of the Brazilian state of São Paulo. It is here that researchers from the São Paulo Research Foundation—better known by its Portuguese acronym, FAPESP—have partnered with…


Reproducibility as a service: can the cloud make it real?

Research published in academic journals is trustworthy. Or is it? This question is being asked more and more these days. While few doubt the integrity of the researchers, many in the scientific community are concerned about the inability to reproduce experiments. If the work is not reproducible, how can its reliability be judged?   Making…


Empowering the problem solvers

The power of computing can go a long way toward solving some of the world’s most vexing problems. This is why we are committed to fostering the next generation of technology-savvy researchers, through programs such as the Microsoft Research Asia Fellowship Program. Launched in China in 1999 and expanded to the entire Asia-Pacific region in…


New community promotes research in sign language recognition

Sign language has long been a tool used by many of the world’s estimated 360 million people with severe hearing loss. But since the majority of hearing individuals do not understand sign language, the hearing world does not always have the capability to engage in real-time, unwritten communication with people with hearing loss. Now, technology…


Third International Women’s Hackathon continues into December

The Third International Women’s Hackathon is now in full swing, having launched on October 11, 2014. A unique crowdsourcing event designed to empower young women leaders in computer science, the hackathon provides a fun and safe environment in which participants explore computing as a means of solving real-world problems. This year’s hackathon should draw more…


Machine learning in the cloud made easier for researchers—Azure ML grants available

It seems that everybody today wants to employ machine learning in their research. And why not? Machine learning promises to transform our ability to understand, model, and predict the world around us. It is pushing boundaries in areas as diverse as image recognition, cardiac patient risk management, and real-time speech translation. Despite an explosion in…


A year of research in the cloud

A year ago, the Microsoft Azure for Research project began as a small effort to help external researchers and scientists (and even Microsoft) understand how the cloud generally—and Microsoft Azure specifically—could accelerate research insights. Microsoft Azure for Research facilitates scholarly and scientific research by enabling researchers to take full advantage of the power and scalability…


MOOR brings lab research capability to MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become one of the hottest trends in higher education, providing access to high-quality classes from such elite universities as Stanford and MIT. MOOCs thus offer a new opportunity for self-directed learning for millions of students worldwide. However, most MOOC platforms have been designed around the conventional classroom-learning model, with…