Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Microsoft Talks Up What It’s Calling The First Truly Virtual Personal Assistant

Microsoft cortanaAs The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.

This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”

The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”

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Microsoft Works to Make Office 365 Smarter with Machine Learning

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Juan Carlos Perez of InfoWorld reports, “Microsoft will add new software, developer tools and capabilities to Office 365 in an attempt to make the cloud applications suite a ‘smarter’ product that is better at helping people interact at work. At its SharePoint Conference, which kicks off in Las Vegas on Monday, Microsoft will demonstrate a new machine learning application code-named Oslo designed to understand how employees work in Office 365 and with whom. Oslo will base its insights on a variety of signals gleaned from how people use Office 365′s components, like Exchange Online for email, OneDrive for Business for storage, Lync Online for IM and video conferencing, SharePoint Online for team collaboration and Yammer for enterprise social networking. Microsoft calls this information the Office Graph.” Read more

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Prepared To Lead Microsoft To What May Be A More Semantic Future

01_thMicrosoft – as you’ve no doubt heard by now – has a new CEO. Satya Nadella most recently was Microsoft’s executive VP, cloud and enterprise group. But before that, the man who succeeds Steve Ballmer, he was senior vp, R&D, of online services and before that, the senior vp of search, portal and advertising group. Nadella has been at the company since 1992.

The man who succeeds Steve Ballmer has been referred to as the King of Bing, rebranding the search service from Live Search to Bing and getting kudos for making technical fixes. Announcing his promotion to president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business in 2011, Ballmer wrote in a memo that Nadella “led the overall R&D efforts for some of the largest online services and drove the technical vision and strategy for several important milestones, including the critical launch of Bing, new releases of MSN, Yahoo! integration across Bing and adCenter, and much more.”

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Google Buys DeepMind Technologies, Growing Its Deep Learning Portfolio And Expertise

deepmindGoogle’s letting the cash flow. Fresh off its $3.2 billion acquisition of “conscious home” company Nest, which makes the Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, it’s spending some comparative pocket change — $400 million – on artificial intelligence startup DeepMind Technologies.

The news was first reported at re/code here, where one source describes DeepMind as “the last large independent company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence.” The London startup, funded by Founders Fund, was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman, with the stated goal of combining machine learning techniques and neuroscience to build powerful general purpose learning algorithms.

Its web page notes that its first commercial applications are in simulations, e-commerce and games, and this posting for a part-time paid computer science internship from this past summer casts it as “a world-class machine learning research company that specializes in developing cutting edge algorithms to power massively disruptive new consumer products.”

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Semantic Technology Jobs: Bing

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Bing is looking for a Senior Software Development Engineer in Bellevue, WA. The post states, “The Bing Local Search Relevance Platform team is responsible for building the world best relevance platform to serve the user’s search intent regarding location, business, address on web, mobile and map entry points and ensure the market expansion for Bing local search faster and cheaper crossing the world.  Location and local query understanding is an important part of local search platform and we are looking for the talent who is interested in solving hard relevance problem in the scalable way: mining against large volume of data from web and internal logs; building scalable solution to construct the machine learned query intent classifiers and query parsers and other ranking features based on query and query context; handling the requests from markets about localization experience and design the platform feature to support the search relevance improvements for different cultures.” Read more

HealthCare.Gov: Progress Made But BackEnd Struggles Continue

rsz_hcgovThe media has been reporting the last few hours on the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov. According to these reports, the site is now working more than 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent in October; that pages on the website are loading in less than a second, down from about eight; that 50,000 people can simultaneously use the site and that it supports 800,000 visitors a day; and page-load failures are down to under 1 percent.

There’s also word, however, that while the front-end may be improved, there are still problems on the back-end. Insurance companies continue to complain they aren’t getting information correctly to support signups. “The key question,” according to CBS News reporter John Dickerson this morning, “is whether that link between the information coming from the website getting to the insurance company – if that link is not strong, people are not getting what was originally promised in the entire process.” If insurance companies aren’t getting the right information for processing plan enrollments, individuals going to the doctor’s after January 1 may find that they aren’t, in fact, covered.

Jeffrey Zients, the man spearheading the website fix, at the end of November did point out that work remains to be done on the backend for tasks such as coordinating payments and application information with insurance companies. Plans are for that to be in effect by mid-January.

As it turns out, among components of its backend technology, according to this report in the NY Times, is the MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL database, which in its recent Version 7 release also added the ability to store and query data in RDF format using SPARQL syntax.

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Semantic Web Jobs: Microsoft

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Microsoft is looking for a Solutions Architect – Data Insights to work anywhere in the US and travel at least 50% of the time. According to the post, this position: “Designs and assembles robust and scalable Data Insights solutions (BigData/Business Analytics/Business Intelligence). Creates and leads architecture design, evaluate and assess technologies, define approach for engineering of productized solution accelerators, and enable industrialized delivery. Leads the creation of proof-of-concept pilots and the development of prototypes to prove solutions, technologies and business process interactions.  Drives the design of user interaction models, workflows and user interfaces, if applicable. Explores and develops new solutions in collaboration with research and product groups to support new analytics initiatives.” Read more

NLP Market Set For Growth; HealthCare Among Leading Early Adopter Industries

rsz_language_pixThe natural language processing (NLP) market is moving ahead at a steady clip. According to the recently released report, Natural Language Processing Market – Worldwide Market Forecast and Analysis (2013 – 2018), the sector is estimated to grow from $3,787.3 million in 2013 to $9,858.4 million in 2018. That’s an estimated 21 percent CAGR.

The report considers the market to factor in multiple technologies — recognition technologies such as Interactive Voice Response, Optical Character Recognition, and pattern and image recognition; operational technologies such as auto coding and classification and categorization technologies; and text analytics and speech analytics technologies; as well as machine translation, information extraction and question-answer report generation.

Driving the uptake, the report notes, is the need to enhance customer experiences, especially in an age when the smartphone rules, and Big Data predominates. Big-time industry adopters of the technology, it cites, are healthcare, banking and financial services, and e-commerce, where a big growth in real-time and unstructured customer data and transaction information can be taken in hand by NLP technology to analyze customer needs and then optimize responses to them, taking out some of the human labor costs of doing so.

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Where Schema.org Is At: A Chat With Google’s R.V. Guha

 

rvg Interested in how schema.org has trended in the last couple of years since its birth? If you were at The International Semantic Web Conference event in Sydney a couple of weeks back, you may have caught Google Fellow Ramanathan V. Guha — the mind behind schema.org — present a keynote address about the initiative.

Of course, Australia’s a far way to go for a lot of people, so The Semantic Web Blog is happy to catch everyone up on Guha’s thoughts on the topic.

We caught up with him when he was back stateside:

The Semantic Web Blog: Tell us a little bit about the main focus of your keynote.

Guha: The basic discussion was a progress report on schema.org – its history and why it came about a couple of years ago. Other than a couple of panels at SemTech we’ve maintained a rather low profile and figured it might be a good time to talk more about it, and to a crowd that is different from the SemTech crowd.

The short version is that the goal, of course, is to make it easier for mainstream webmasters to add structured data markup to web pages, so that they wouldn’t have to track down many different vocabularies, or think about what Yahoo or Microsoft or Google understands. Before webmasters had to champion internally which vocabularies to use and how to mark up a site, but we have reduced that and also now it’s not an issue of which search engine to cater to.

It’s now a little over two years since launch and we are seeing adoption way beyond what we expected. The aggregate search engines see about 15 percent of the pages we crawl have schema.org markup. This is the first time we see markup approximately on the order of the scale of the web….Now over 5 million sites are using it.  That’s helped by the mainstream platforms like Drupal and WordPress adopting it so that it becomes part of the regular workflow. Read more

Should Microsoft Consider Bill Ruh for Its New CEO?

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Anders Bylund of the Motley Fool recently wrote an article for Daily Finance, stating, “Microsoft is looking for a new CEO as current leader Steve Ballmer polishes his golden scepter to a high shine. Ballmer will retire before August 2014, and it’s high time to find a replacement. Reuters claims to have the inside track on a few hot names. The news bureau’s anonymous sources say Microsoft’s headhunters started out with more than 40 external candidates and plenty of insiders on their wish list but have narrowed it down to a handful of internal names and about five outsiders.” Read more

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