Microsoft Faculty Summit 2010


I am in Seattle attending the Microsoft Faculty Summit 2010. It is an awesome gathering of leading researchers and scholars from throughout the world, brought together by the trailblazing Microsoft Research unit. The goal is to inform the academic community about Microsoft’s latest technologies and projects–and not just “boring” behind the scenes coding stuff, but also some cool social, scholarly, intellectual, and user driven design challenges.

The plenary session this morning focused on Kinekt, the new natural motion capture and control system that will be used to control Xbox in the future.

Kinect for Xbox 360—The Innovation Journey—Andrew Fitzgibbon, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research, Cambridge; Kudo Tsunoda, Creative Director – Kinect, Microsoft

Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways—no controller required. Easy to use and instantly fun, Kinect (formerly known as “Project Natal”) gets everyone off the couch. Want to join a friend in the fun? Simply jump in. And the best part is Kinect works with every Xbox 360. When technology becomes invisible and intuitive something special happens—you and your experience become one. No barriers, no boundaries, no gadgets, no gizmos, no learning curves. With Kinect you are the controller. It’s just the magic of you—your movement, your voice, your face, all effortlessly, naturally and beautifully transforming how you play and experience entertainment. This session will introduce you to Kinect, and explain the technology behind it.

Also on the agenda:

Bing Dialog Model: Intent, Knowledge, and User Interaction

Session Chair: Evelyne Viegas, Microsoft Research

Harry Shum, Microsoft

With Internet users growing ever more sophisticated, the decade-old search outcomes, manifested in the “ten blue links,” are no longer sufficient. Many studies have shown that when users are ushered off the conventional search result pages, their needs are often only partially met. To tackle this challenge, we optimize Bing, Microsoft’s decision engine, to not just navigate users to a landing page through a blue link but to continue engaging with users to facilitate task completion. Underlying this new paradigm is the Bing Dialog Model that consists of three building blocks: an indexing system that systematically and comprehensively harvests task knowledge from the web, an intent model that statistically infers and matches users’ needs to the task knowledge, and an interaction model that elicits user intents through mathematically optimized presentations. In this talk, I’ll describe Bing Dialog Model in details and demonstrate it in action through the innovative features recently introduced in Bing.

Software Ecosystems: A New Research Agenda

Session Chair: Judith Bishop, Microsoft Research

Anthony Finkelstein, University College London; Fred Wurden, Microsoft

The software development scene is transforming from unitary system, through component market places to supply chains, and now increasingly complex ecosystems of interoperating, systems, services, and environments held together by networks of partnerships and commercial relationships. Anthony Finkelstein will set out a research agenda for work in this new setting. In particular, it calls for empirical research and suggests some ways in which it can be conducted. Some early data is discussed. Fred Wurden will follow with an overview of the recent efforts of more than 500 engineers at Microsoft aimed directly at increasing the interoperability of Windows with open source and commercial software ecosystems.

Here is a clip that demos a game controlled by Kinekt, which even my girl might enjoy.

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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei – Professor of Communication at Purdue University – studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei’s teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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