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Collaboration case studies

Looking at projects around the world

Learn how Microsoft Research supports and collaborates with researchers on global projects.

Computer science

Earth, energy, and environment

  • Centralizing national flood data in the cloud
    Researchers from the University of Texas collaborated with other researchers, federal agencies, commercial partners, and first responders to create the National Flood Interoperability Experiment. They used Microsoft Azure to help build a prototype for a national flood data-modeling and mapping system with the potential to provide life- and cost-saving information to the public.
  • Understanding cloud forests through the power of cloud computing
    The Brazilian Cloud Forest Sensing Project is studying how cloud forests function in response to climatic variability. The project deployed more than 700 sensors connected to the Internet of Things through Microsoft Azure and is gathering integrated data on physical and biological processes within the study site.
  • Using ChronoZoom to build a comprehensive timeline of climate change in the cloud
    A professor explores the history of climate change in depth in his graduate-level Earth System Science class. To help students visualize events through the ages, he is using ChronoZoom, an open-source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything.
  • Latin American Researchers Use Data to Raise Awareness, Protect Species
    Loss of habitat, fragmentation, and degradation of the native forests are depleting Latin America’s natural resources. Scientists at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in coordination with Microsoft Research, have developed a tool to improve the interaction between humankind and the region’s wild population: LiveANDES.
  • Eco-Testing a Building Before It Is Even Built
    New civil engineering tools that take advantage of the power of cloud computing on Windows Azure have the potential to reduce the time and cost of energy-efficient building by allowing in-depth simulations of a building’s performance during the design phase.
  • Fire App Fights Wildfires with Data
    The wildfire management application uses Bing Maps, Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Azure to calculate and visualize the risk of wildfire ignition and to simulate fire propagation in the Greek island of Lesvos.
  • Expanding Earth Sciences Research with Layerscape
    From the upper reaches of the atmosphere to Earth's core, Microsoft Research's Layerscape is helping scientists visualize complex data about planet Earth in three-dimensional space and time.
  • Be a Scientist in Your (Spare) Computer Time
    In studies around the world, volunteers are letting scientists use the spare processing power of their personal computers. During idle time (when the volunteers aren't using their computers), the PCs collect data on regional climate information, including temperature, winds, and humidity, which is then used in climate model simulations.
  • Terapixel: Using Microsoft Technology to Create the Largest and Clearest Image of the Sky
    Imagine having the ability to take a virtual tour of the cosmos from your living room. Not just a flat, two dimensional tour, but an experience so engrossing that you have the ability to see the entire sky at once then zoom into detailed views of distant galaxies. The Terapixel project from Microsoft Research makes all of that possible by creating the largest and clearest image of the night sky ever produced—a terapixel image—now available in the WorldWide Telescope and Bing Maps.
  • Graywulf Takes a Byte out of Data Overload
    Astronomers at The Johns Hopkins University and protein scientists at the University of Washington are using inexpensive computer hardware combined with powerful computing and database software to help manage and analyze a growing volume of scientific data.
  • SciScope Helps Scientists in Quest for Environmental Data
    Finding and retrieving relevant data can be a daunting and tedious task for environmental scientists and engineers. Microsoft External Research is developing an online search engine called SciScope that will make the job easier. SciScope enables researchers to search multiple data repositories simultaneously and retrieve information in a consistent format.
  • Wireless Sensor Network Provides Early Flood Detection for Underserved Countries
    Devastation caused by flooding is often more severe in the developing world, where sophisticated flood-detection technologies are neither affordable nor practical. To address this urgent problem, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is designing a low-cost, wireless flood-detection system that meets the needs of communities with limited resources and rudimentary communications infrastructures.
  • Workflow Tool Brings Visual Clarity to Complex Research Data
    A graduate student’s computer graphics project aimed at helping oceanographers visually manage sensor data has evolved into a potentially game-changing approach to scientific workflow. Scientists at the University of Washington are working with Microsoft External Research to demonstrate how combining visualization and workflow technologies can improve how researchers manage, evaluate, and interact with even the most complex scientific datasets.

Education and scholarly communication

  • An Infinite Canvas in Time: Visualizing the History of Everything
    ChronoZoom is a unique online tool that takes viewers on a visual historical journey that is comprised of documents, images, data, and videos—all displayed in chronological order on a vast, zoomable timeline.
  • Project Tuva: Richard Feynman Physics Lectures in Enhanced Player
    Through the technology of the Microsoft Research Project Tuva enhanced video player, you can view historic lectures from the Nobel Prize-winning physicist with searchable video, speaker transcripts, user notes, and interactive extras that provide related information.
  • Researchers Collaborate in Latin America with ConferenceXP
    Academic researchers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean make important contributions to computer science, yet much of their work involves collaboration with project teams on other continents and does not address locally relevant challenges. Several universities have joined forces to change that by using ConferenceXP, a set of web-based videoconferencing tools.
  • The Classroom of Tomorrow, Built with Today's Technology
    Computers can be instrumental in transforming education in underserved communities, but not if they are simply used to facilitate memorization and test-taking. A team of researchers in Chile is exploring affordable and innovative uses of computers in the classroom that promote collaborative learning and nurture intellectual creativity.

Health and wellbeing

  • Aiming to Deliver New Drugs Faster at Less Cost in the Cloud
    A new molecular discovery platform that draws its power from cloud computing with Windows Azure is helping scientists produce drug discovery results on a much larger scale than what was previously feasible.
  • FaST-LMM and Windows Azure Accelerate Genetics Research
    A new algorithm that was developed by Microsoft Research runs on Windows Azure in the cloud and expedites analysis time, helping researchers analyze data for the genetic causes of common diseases.
  • Adjusting Pneumonia Vaccination to Save Lives
    Pneumonia is a leading cause of death in children worldwide, despite the availability of a vaccine. To be properly vaccinated against the disease, children must receive a series of three shots over a period of several months. Researchers are exploring ways to make the vaccine more effective by changing the timing of the shots. New software uses Microsoft technologies to provide full document management support for clinical vaccine studies.
  • Uncovering New Ways the Human Immune System Fights HIV 
    A notable multi-organizational effort is laying the groundwork for testing future HIV vaccine candidates in Durban, South Africa—the location was selected due to the high rate of HIV infection in this area. The researchers are cataloging fragments of HIV that are vulnerable to attack by the immune system. The amount of data generated is enormous, but by using thousands of Microsoft machines working in parallel, researchers are able to make computations in a matter of hours that would take years on a single computer.
  • CellScope Could Offer Low-Cost, Portable Options for Disease Diagnosis
    A college class assignment spawned an invention that could help bring the benefits of modern microscopy to the developing world. Student researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and their professor developed a camera-phone microscope that is powerful enough to diagnose diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.

Natural user interface

  • Kinect Sign Language Translator expands communication possibilities  
    Researchers in China have created a prototype system that uses Kinect technology to translate sign language into spoken language—and spoken language into sign language—in real time.
  • Functional Contact Lens Monitors Blood Sugar Without Needles
    Researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research Connections are working together to develop a non-invasive, technological solution that promises to improve both the health and overall quality of life for people with diabetes: a contact lens that monitors blood glucose levels.
  • Bringing Robotics to the Surface
    Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, have been exploring ways to integrate Microsoft Surface and its natural user interface into search-and-rescue robotics to improve the ease and precision by which the robots can be maneuvered.
  • Technology Brings Chinese Cultural Heritage to Life
    The user-friendly interface of a multimedia exhibition of China’s most famous historic panoramic painting—Along the River During Qing-Ming Festival—enables visitors to experience a period of ancient China in a way that can help them better understand and appreciate Chinese culture and heritage.