Jessica Leber of Co.Exist recently wrote, “Since opening in 2003, New York City’s pioneering 311 center for non-emergency questions and complaints has become a massive operation, handling an average of around 60,000 questions a day via phone, text message, website, and mobile app. That’s added up to more than 180 million queries to date, processed by the hundreds of real, live humans that staff a call center in Manhattan 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet it all seems rather antiquated at a time when a quick query to Siri or Google can almost instantly provide answers in other realms of life.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Research’
Larry Greenemeier of Scientific American recently wrote, “Microsoft is also searching for a new chief executive for the first time in nearly 14 years, someone who can help restore at least some of the company’s former luster through skillful management and, perhaps more important, someone who has the ability to develop groundbreaking new technologies. Microsoft Research’s role in the latter is paramount. The organization’s 1,100 researchers across 13 labs around the world—a 14th opens next summer in Brazil—are working on a broad swath of projects that cut across several disciplines, ranging from basic research to software algorithms and computer science theory to more pragmatic examinations of how machine-learning and speech-recognition technologies can improve Windows Phone and Xbox.” Read more
David Talbot of the MIT Technology Review recently wrote, “Microsoft new head of research, Peter Lee, is tasked with helping the company invent the future. His bosses hope that it will be one in which the computing giant has more than just 4 percent of the market for mobile operating systems. Lee’s strategy is to funnel resources toward technologies he believes could revolutionize our relationships with computers, mobile and otherwise. He also faces the challenge of managing an increasingly rare breed in the computer industry: a large and sprawling corporate research division. Microsoft Research currently has 1,100 researchers and engineers in 13 labs around the world, from Cairo, Egypt, to New York City.” Read more
There’s a new Microsoft on the horizon.
In his email and memo to Microsoft employees yesterday about the company’s realignment and transformation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn’t use the word semantic, or the term semantic web anywhere, or point specifically to efforts like the company’s role in schema.org or the work its Research group has conducted in its semantic computing initiative (ProBase, Contextual Thesaurus, and so on).
But to reach the goal Ballmer states of revising Microsoft’s strategy to “focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most,” semantic technologies aimed at deriving meaning from information seem like they’ll have an important role to play.
The Financial reports, “Unlocking the future—that was the theme Rick Rashid, Microsoft chief research officer, used to close his opening remarks April 23 during the first day of the Microsoft Research Machine Learning Summit 2013… ‘This topic of machine learning has become incredibly exciting over the last 10 years,’ [Rashid] said. ‘The pace of change has been really dramatic, so it’s exciting to get so many people from so many different areas to be here today to talk about it.’ Rashid recalled a time in the not-so-recent past when machine learning was in its nascent stage, using rules and pattern recognition to produce results many found less than stellar. But today, he stated, a combination of data, devices, and services has led to newfound respect for the discipline, which is having an increasingly dramatic impact on business and society.” Read more
Quentin Hardy of the New York Times recently discussed Microsoft’s efforts to gain an edge in Big Data analytics. Hardy writes, “Eric Horvitz joined Microsoft Research 20 years ago with a medical degree, a Ph.D. in computer science and no plans to stay… He remained at M.S.R., as Microsoft’s advanced research arm is known, for the fast computers and the chance to work with a growing team of big brains interested in cutting-edge research. His goal was to build predictive software that could get continually smarter. In a few months, Mr. Horvitz, 54, may get his long-awaited payoff: the advanced computing technologies he has spent decades working on are being incorporated into numerous Microsoft products.” Read more
Microsoft Research has published a new paper entitled “Pedagogy: a social networking approach to knowledge discovery.” The summary states, “The construction of semantically structured, accurate, and comprehensive knowledge bases remains an important but difficult problem. Acquiring the wealth of human knowledge in a machine-readable format would have invaluable benefits for semantic web services and AI applications in general. In this report I outline a new approach that aims to address this challenge by harnessing the power of social networking.” Read more
An article from ReadWriteWeb gives a snapshot of Microsoft Research’s current project, Probase, an “ongoing project that focuses on knowledge acquisition and knowledge serving. Our primary goal is to enable machines to understand human behavior and human communication. We do this by injecting certain general knowledge or certain common sense into computing.” Read more
Microsoft Research in partnership with Bing has announced the Speller Challenge. The challenge’s website asks, “Do you have what it takes to build the best speller? Enter the Speller Challenge by developing a speller that generates the most plausible spelling alternatives for a search query.” Entrants have the opportunity to “try out your speller using real world data; see how it compares to the rest of the community’s spellers; [and] be eligible to win a cash prize.” Read more