Microsoft Research Asia, founded November 5, 1998 in Beijing, is Microsoft’s basic research facility in the Asia-Pacific region. The goal of Microsoft Research Asia is to attract the most talented researchers in the field of computing and be one of the best computer science laboratories in the world.
To date, researchers from the lab have published more than 3,000 scientific papers for top international journals and conferences. More than 300 research results have been transferred to Microsoft products, including Windows, Office, Bing, Xbox, Kinect, Windows Phone, and many other previous Microsoft products. Some technologies from the lab have been adopted by international standards bodies: the MPEG-4 Industry Forum reviewed error-resilient video transmission; the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) reviewed TCP/IP header compression; and the International Telecommunications Union/International Standards Organization (ITU/ISO) reviewed video compression technology.
Since its founding, Microsoft Research Asia has grown to more than 230 research scientists and engineers. Every year it hosts more than 300 visiting scientists and students from China and around the world. Microsoft Research Asia has set an ambitious research agenda highlighting five areas that are central to Microsoft’s long-term vision and strategy:
- Natural user interfaces enable users to interact with a computer using speech, gestures and expressions.
- Next-generation multimedia allows people to search for and to be immersed in interactive online shopping, education, meeting and entertainment activities.
- Data-intensive computing explores the new infrastructures, algorithms, tools and applications to collect, analyze and mine results for data-intensive business in both the consumer and enterprise sectors.
- Search and online advertising takes Web search and online advertising to the next level by applying data-mining, machine-learning and knowledge-discovery techniques to information analysis, organization, retrieval and visualization.
- Computer science fundamentals include areas such as theoretical computer science (theory), systems, networking and machine learning that will have an impact on multiple applications and products.
Microsoft Research Asia is committed to working closely with academics in the region to advance the state of the art in computer science research. Over the past 14 years, the lab has sought broad engagement with the academic community and governments across the Asia-Pacific region to foster innovative research and advanced education, and to promote academic collaborations. Major programs include the following:
Joint research. The initiatives range from joint research labs and joint research projects to innovative research partnerships. Currently the lab has ten joint labs in mainland China and Hong Kong. In 2005, Microsoft established the Microsoft Institute for Japanese Academic Research Collaboration (IJARC) in Tokyo. IJARC is a new type of collaborative framework for fostering fundamental research and promoting partnerships with Japanese academia. The IJARC serves as an umbrella guiding Microsoft Research’s programs in Japan.
Internship. The lab has welcomed more than 3,000 interns, including computer science and electrical engineering Ph.D. candidates from 165 universities in China, the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea and Europe.
Fellowship. The fellowship program supports Ph.D. students in the region who demonstrate great potential as future research leaders. The program is well-known for its rigorous selection process and fierce competition among top universities. Nearly 200 students have been awarded fellowships.
Postdoctoral program. A Chinese government-accredited postdoctoral center in computer science helps train the best minds for China’s academia and IT industry. Microsoft is the first foreign company granted such status.
Faculty summit. Every other year over 200 deans and professors from across the Asia-Pacific region attend the annual faculty summit to listen to Microsoft Research about the state of the art in computer science and exchange ideas on research and education. Research workshops and faculty trainings are held regularly to facilitate community activities and experience sharing.
Computing in the 21st Century Conference. This annual Microsoft Research Asia event has attracted more than 30,000 students and professors since 1999. The conference has invited a dozen recipients of the prestigious Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize in computing, to share their vision on the future of computing. The event has become the largest conference of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and builds a bridge between China and the world in the field of computer science.
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Joy Ann Lo, Microsoft
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