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Inventing the Future of Computing

Since its founding in 1991, Microsoft Research has grown into one of the largest, and most respected software research organizations in the world. Today, more than 1,100 brilliant scientists and engineers — among them the brightest minds in computer science — work in 13 labs, across four continents, on a mission that has stayed the same for over 20 years: to advance the state of the art in computing through a combination of basic and applied research.

The reason is simple: innovation is the lifeblood of Microsoft’s products and services. As our researchers solve the toughest problems in computing, share their ideas with the greater research community, and collaborate with Microsoft product groups, they’re ensuring that the company — and the industry — will continue to find new ways for technology to enhance our world for years to come.

To be successful, basic and applied research depends on three practices essential for any venture: building mutually beneficial relationships, maintaining effective two-way communication, and nurturing bonds of trust. We carry out these practices through collaboration with internal product teams, and external researchers.

Our labs are unique among corporate research facilities in that they balance an open academic model with an effective process for building research results into product development. This approach, unique among corporate research facilities, pays off for Microsoft as enhancements to virtually every product and service it offers and as entirely new lines of business for the company. At the same time, it produces significant technological and intellectual advances across the spectrum of computer science.

Our contributions to Microsoft are reflected in the company’s sustained investment in research and development. Unlike other companies, where research projects must be funded by individual product groups, Microsoft funds its research at the corporate level to ensure that we are looking beyond immediate product considerations to problems further in the future.

We are excited to be developing technologies that weave software, hardware, and services into every aspect of our lives, thereby advancing toward the goal of making computers genuinely useful — We see a future in which computers interact with people the way we interact with each other, think ahead to anticipate and meet our needs, and support us as we make the most of our ideas, efforts, and intellect. Developing next-generation software that improves people’s lives is stimulating work, and we look forward to the breakthroughs we’ll make in the years ahead.