Microsoft Research is the research division of Microsoft. It was formed in 1991, with the intent to advance state of the art computing and solve difficult world problems through technological innovation in collaboration with academic, government, and industry researchers. The Microsoft Research team employs more than 1,000 computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and mathematicians, including Turing Award winners, Fields Medal winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Dijkstra Prize winners.
Microsoft Research is co-led by corporate vice presidents: Peter Lee (formerly the a director of a major technology office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University), and Jeannette Wing (formerly a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the NSF). Lee is responsible for leading Microsoft Research New Experiences and Technologies (NExT); Wing is responsible for the organization’s core research labs.
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 and Artificial Intelligence
- Mobile Computing
- Quantum Computing
- Search, Information 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.
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. The bulk of research on the Redmond, Washington campus focuses on research areas such as theory, artificial intelligence, machine learning, systems and networking, security and privacy. There is also active research focused on HCI and wearable technologies. 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 Christopher Bishop. 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 India, located in Bangalore, was founded in January 2005. The lab conducts long-term basic and applied research in different areas: cryptography, security, and algorithms; digital geography; 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Former research laboratories
- Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, located in Mountain View, California, was founded in August 2001 and closed in September 2014. Silicon Valley research focused on distributed computing and included security and privacy, protocols, fault-tolerance, large-scale systems, concurrency, computer architecture, Internet search and services, and related theory.
Microsoft Research invests in multi-year collaborative joint research with academic institutions at Barcelona Supercomputing Center, INRIA, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the Microsoft Research Centre for Social NUI and others.
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