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The research division of Microsoft was created in 1991 and employs computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and mathematicians, including Turing Award winners, Fields Medal winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Dijkstra Prize winners. These 1,100 scientists and engineers collaborate with academic, government, and industry researchers to advance the state of the art of computing, and solve difficult world problems through technological innovation.
The head of Microsoft Research is Peter Lee, formerly the Managing Director of the Redmond Lab, Director at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and head of the computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.
Microsoft research is categorized into the following broad areas:
- Algorithms and Theory
- Communication and Collaboration
- Computational Linguistics
- Computational Science
- Computer Vision
- Computer Systems and Networking
- Data Mining and Management
- Economics and Computation
- Graphics and Multimedia
- Hardware and Devices
- Health and Well-Being
- Human–Computer Interaction
- Machine Learning
- Mobile Computing
- Quantum Computing
- Search, Informaton Retrieval, and Knowledge Management
- Security and Privacy
- Social Media
- Social Sciences
- Software Development, Programming Principles, Tools, and Languages
- Speech Recognition, Synthesis, and Dialog Systems
- Technologies for Emerging Markets
Microsoft Research sponsors the Microsoft Research Fellowship for graduate students and the New Faculty Fellowship for new faculty members.
Microsoft has research labs around the world:
- Microsoft Research Redmond was founded on the Microsoft Redmond campus in 1991. It has about 350 researchers and is headed by Eric Horvitz and Yi-Min Wang. The bulk of Microsoft researchers work out of the Redmond, Washington, campus focusing on research areas such as theory, machine learning and security and privacy, among others. Being near the product teams at Microsoft proved valuable in the early days, and that remains true today.
- Microsoft Research Cambridge was founded in the United Kingdom in 1997 by Roger Needham and is headed by Andrew Blake. The Cambridge lab conducts basic computer science research on a wide variety of topics, including machine learning, security, and information retrieval, and maintains close ties to the University of Cambridge and the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.
- Microsoft Research Asia was founded in Beijing in November 1998. Microsoft Research Asia has expanded rapidly and grown into a world-class research laboratory with more than 230 researchers and developers and more than 300 visiting scientists and students, whose focus includes natural user interfaces, next-generation multimedia, data-intensive computing, search and online advertising, and computer science fundamentals.
- Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, located in Mountain View, California, was founded in August 2001. Silicon Valley research focuses on distributed computing and includes security and privacy, protocols, fault-tolerance, large-scale systems, concurrency, computer architecture, Internet search and services, and related theory. The lab is headed by Roy Levin.
- Advanced Technology Labs Europe, located in Munich, Germany, was founded in 2003, and is headed by Francois Dumas. Advanced Technology Labs Europe connects closely with European industry to incubate, validate, and deliver technologies that provide substantial, near-term impact. Research group focus includes computer systems and networking, machine learning, and hardware and devices.
- Microsoft Research India, located in Bangalore, was founded in January of 2005. The lab conducts long-term basic and applied research in different areas: cryptography, security, and algorithms; digital geographics; mobility, networks, and systems; multilingual systems; rigorous software engineering; and technology for emerging markets. Microsoft Research India also collaborates extensively with research institutions and universities in India and abroad to support scientific progress and innovation.
- Microsoft Research Station Q, located on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was founded in 2005. Station Q's collaborators explore theoretical and experimental approaches to creating the quantum analog of the traditional bit -- the qubit. The group is led by Dr. Michael Freedman, a renowned mathematician who has won the prestigious Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics.
- Advanced Technology Labs Cairo, was founded in 2006 by Tarek Elabbady and is headed by Hussein Salama. Cairo is an applied research lab with focus on explorations and incubations in the areas of natural language, information retrieval, and mobile multimedia, with a high impact potential on Microsoft's products and services. The lab leverages its location in Egypt to establish joint applied research programs with leading research institutes in Egypt and the Middle East and to focus its R&D on opportunities to improve the Internet usage experience in the region.
- Microsoft Research New England was established in 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, adjacent to the MIT campus. The New England lab builds on Microsoft's commitment to collaborate with the broader research community and pursues new, interdisciplinary areas of research that bring together core computer scientists and social scientists to understand, model, and enable the computing and online experiences of the future.
- Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs was founded in 2009 on Microsoft’s Redmond campus as a consolidation of three previously independent research initiatives—the Creative Systems Group, the Startup Lab, and the Rich Media Lab. FUSE Labs is an applied research-and-development team that designs, develops, and releases applications and services that provide new social, real-time, media-rich experiences for home and work, thereby connecting you to the people, information, and ideas that matter most. It is headed by Lili Cheng.
- Advanced Technology Labs Israel, established in 2011 in Herzelia, Israel, built on its original R&D operation in Israel which was founded in 1991 and tapping into Israel's thriving high-tech community. The Israel R&D Center is situated in two main locations - in Herzliya, heartland of Israel's high tech industry, and in Matam, Haifa, home to many graduates of the Technion, Israel's leading technology university. It is headed by Adi Diamant. Advanced Technology Labs Israel is a unique group of engineers, researchers, and user experience (UX) designers who focus on providing new ways to interact, explore, and enhance the online experience. The lab works with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and implement new technologies and solutions for online services, computer vision, natural user interfaces, and social data mining.
- Microsoft Research New York City was established on May 3, 2012. Jennifer Chayes serves as Managing Director of this location as well as the New England lab, with researchers from both labs working in concert. The New York City lab collaborates with academia and other Microsoft Research labs to advance the state of the art in computational and behavioral social sciences, computational economics and prediction markets, machine learning, and information retrieval.
Microsoft Research also invests in multi-year collaborative joint research with world-class academic institutions at Barcelona Supercomputing Center, INRIA, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), and the Microsoft Research Centre for Social NUI to drive scientific advances and technical innovation in computing. See the full list.
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