Product Contributions 2007

The technologies featured here are just a small representation of the Microsoft Research technology transfers into Microsoft products that shipped in 2007.

MSN adCenter

  • Ad aggregator pricing algorithm. Pricing of advertisers now takes into account the ads they display on their pages, allowing merchants that sell goods and services to users to compete fairly against ad aggregators and spammers that simply display ads. As a result, the sponsored links will not lead users to an endless series of ads.

BizTalk

  • The schema-driven adapters are software components that enable line-of-business systems to interface with BizTalk. Researchers together with the BizTalk team came up with some ideas for reducing the code that adapter writers have to write, by developing a framework that automates the data parsing and most management activities, and asking the developer to specify the adapter at a higher level of abstraction.

Community technology preview (CTP)

  • The task parallel library uses modern C# features such as delegates and generics to offer an easy way for developers to add parallelism in existing and new code that can take advantage of multicore machines to speed up the program.

“Halo 3”

  • TrueSkill is a skill-based ranking system for Xbox LIVE developed at Microsoft Research. The system identifies and tracks the skills of gamers to be able to assign them into competitive matches.
  • Lighting texture compression algorithm. Microsoft Research designed a compression algorithm based on signal frequency analysis. If the lighting inside a texture chart remains constant or varies smoothly, it can be compressed greatly without losing too much detail.
  • Parameterized Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) under an area light source. Microsoft Research developed an efficient and elegant Cook-Torrance BRDF that can render specular response under an area light source, with nothing more than three tiny global lookup textures required as storage. The area specular component became a backbone of the “Halo 3” specular model that seamlessly tied other components together and with the incoming lighting environment.

Live Search

  • Microsoft Research contributed a ranking algorithm used for both text and image searching.

Live Search Maps

  • Landmark-based distance estimation technology is used in the algorithm that computes driving directions in http://maps.live.com/.
  • Microsoft Research contributed a tool that allows users to import maps, layer them and share them on a Web site using the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform.

Live Search Video

  • Smart thumbnail automatically indexes video by subject matter.

MSN adCenter

  • French entity identification can help the ad delivery engine easily recognize the brand name to solve bad relevance on a brand name query.

MSN Shopping

  • Opinion index. Microsoft Research contributed to the design of a sentiment detector component of the opinionindex, which intelligently crawls review sites and abstracts the pros and cons as well as the topics that drive the online conversation.

.NET Programming Language

  • F# is an advanced Microsoft .NET programming language that provides the much sought-after combination of type safety, performance and scripting, with all the advantages of running on a high-quality, well-supported modern runtime system.

Office Communications Server 2007

  • Answering machine detection identifies whether a person or an answering machine is answering a call.

Office OneNote 2007

  • Phonetic audio search enables users to search for spoken keywords in audio recordings. By means of phonetic speech recognition, the audio search technology allows OneNote 2007 users to locate meeting recordings in which a certain topic is talked about, and to narrow down where exactly in the recording the words were said.

Office Project Portfolio Server 2007

  • Constraint solvers automatically derive prioritization scores and develop intuitive charts to help effectively evaluate competing investments from varying angles utilizing constraint solvers.

Outlook 2007/Exchange Server 2007

  • Computational puzzles for fighting spam. Outlook E-Mail Postmark applies a computational puzzle that acts as a spam deterrent to e-mail messages it sends. The puzzle is read by a receiving Exchange Server 2007 server as a check for the reliability of the incoming message, improving mail legitimacy and security.

RoundTable

  • Active speaker detection accurately and efficiently detects the speaker by integrating the sound source localization technique with visual information.

Microsoft Surface

  • Multitouch and object recognition. A hardware- and software-based method for separately recognizing multiple objects that are placed on a display surface.

Unified Communications

  • The unified communications vision, prototypes and much of the intellectual property are based deeply in Microsoft Research work.

Visual Studio Team System 2008

  • Code metrics is a new tool window that helps users find and act on complex and unmaintainable areas within an application. The feature calculates five metrics: Maintainability Index, Cyclomatic Complexity, Depth of Inheritance, Class Coupling and Lines of Code.

Windows Live Photo Gallery

  • Panoramic image stitching automatically and seamlessly stitches photos into panoramas.

Windows Live Search

  • Search recognition for mobile was enabled by the development of the speech recognition grammars and text normalization.

Windows XP/Windows Vista

  • The Microsoft Windows MultiPoint software development kit helps developers create programs that affordably increase the reach of existing classroom computers. With MultiPoint, a single computer can have multiple mice connected, making it possible for groups of students to work on one computer at the same time.

Windows Vista Network Map

  • Link layer topology discovery enables automatic discovery of all the computers, switches and hubs in a network. It is designed for home- and small-office networks, which typically do not have expensive managed network switches.

Windows Vista/Internet Protocol Television

  • Compound Transmission Control Protocol (CTCP) is a new transport protocol that enhances the standard TCP in very high-speed and long-distance environments.

Xbox LIVE

  • Games platform. Microsoft Research contributed a games platform with persistent user identity that plugs into search.

Product Incubation

Incubation is an important part of the innovation ecosystem at Microsoft. Microsoft Research collaborates with several product incubation teams to deliver cutting-edge technologies through its applied research. Live Labs, the adCenter Incubation Lab and the Internet Services Research Center are three examples of teams that bring together top-notch researchers and product teams to incubate and rapidly prototype technologies for the Internet, advertising and search. With the ever-changing pace of the Internet age, incubation groups allow Microsoft to be more nimble and accelerate the pace of innovation even further, so that we can rapidly deliver Microsoft Research technologies to customers and drive Microsoft’s overall growth.

Following are examples of 2007 incubations.

  • Response Point started as an incubation project in Microsoft Research in 2005, and launched as a product in November 2007.
  • Windows Live Translator translates foreign-language search query results into the user’s native language, and presents them in a unique and attractive bilingual view. Windows Live Translator was a Microsoft Research incubation.
  • Microsoft Robotics Studio was developed by the Microsoft Robotics Group, an incubation team that is now a product group.

IP Licensing

Technologies developed within Microsoft Research are sometimes licensed externally through the company’s IP licensing program. IP licensing is a collaborative approach to bringing great ideas to customers and driving industry innovation, product choice and market opportunity. IP licensing presents a tangible business opportunity to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and government economic development organizations to help stimulate the development of local economies and connect with the global market. By creating empowering new technologies, enhancing our existing products and services, exploring the frontiers of computing and using these technologies internally as well as licensing them externally, we not only are further helping Microsoft, but also are bringing innovative ideas and technology to customers — driving innovation throughout the industry and enabling businesses to realize their full potential.

The following list is representative of just some of the IP that Microsoft Research licensed in 2007.

  • Graphics. Weta Digital Ltd. offers world-class visual effects for international feature films and commercials. Weta licensed graphics technologies developed in Microsoft Research to deliver newer, richer graphics and special effects to audiences around the world.
  • Audio watermarking and identification. Audio watermarking and identification technology licensed to Harper Security Consulting AS of Norway helps its forensic tracking of digitally distributed content. The licensed technology consists of digital audio watermarking and fingerprinting software tools that provide for the marking and decoding of audio files.
  • Mobile video optimization. Blucasa S.r.l., a startup in Italy, licensed mobile video optimization technology developed in Microsoft Research that optimizes the speed of a mobile device so that it can better receive video communications.
  • Detours. Six European companies — Sophos Pic., InfoVista SA, AppSense Ltd., SmartPeak, BioObservation System Ltd. (PixAlert) and MSoft Ltd. — licensed Detours technology to expand systems’ functionality.
  • Digital photo frame. Microsoft Research technology in Samsung’s 8” Digital Photo Frame SPF-83V enables customers to enjoy photos wirelessly in their home and display photos from sharing sites such as Windows Live Spaces or from personal collections on their PC.
  • Worldwide Media Exchange (WWMX). PlanetEye is for travelers looking to experience the world differently. The goal of PlanetEye is to immerse travelers in the essence of a destination. The company took the vision of WWMX and created a business around it.

For more information about Microsoft Research:

http://www.research.microsoft.com

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