Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share by email
Agenda with Abstracts

Microsoft Research Asia Faculty Summit 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010




All day

Arrival and check-in

Hyatt on the Bund Hotel


Buffet dinner (optional) 


Monday, October 18, 2010






Hyatt on the Bund Hotel – Grand Ballroom I, 1F West Tower




Welcome and Academic Collaboration Overview

Lolan Song, Senior Director, University Relations, Microsoft Research Asia

While representing Microsoft Research Asia University Relations, I will welcome attendees from the most influential research institutions in the Asia-Pacific region and provide a high-level update on the key programs in the region. These programs include research collaboration with universities, curriculum development with faculty, and opportunities provided to students as well as areas where we will focus in the upcoming years.


Microsoft Research Update

Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Research

Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia

Rick Rashid leads the worldwide operation of Microsoft Research. He will give an overview and discuss the main technical achievements of the six research labs worldwide. He will also illustrate Microsoft’s vision on the trend of technical development, and update the academic collaboration with the top universities in the world.


As managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, Hsiao-Wuen Hon will summarize the academic achievements of the basic research lab Microsoft invested in for Asia-Pacific region in the past 12 years. Hon will also introduce the main research areas and leading researchers based in Beijing. He will showcase some sample projects to explain the focuses of this lab’s research in the future years.


RARE: Rethinking Architectural Research and Education

Chuck Thacker, Turing Award winner, Technical Fellow, Microsoft Research

By the late '80s, the cost of chip fabrication had increased to the point that it was no longer feasible for university researchers to do architectural experimentation on real systems. Groups could no longer do the sort of experiments that led to the establishment of companies such as Sun and MIPs. Simulation replaced implementation as the experimental vehicle of choice, and papers in the field became much more incremental as researchers focused on improvements to existing techniques, rather than the exploration of new ideas at scale.


The current limits on processor performance improvement provide a strong motivation to rethink the systems that we build and study. Fortunately, the development of better design tools and methodologies, coupled with the rapid progress of field-programmable hardware, may provide a way to change the way that architectural research and education are done.


In our laboratory, we have developed Beehive, a full-system implementation of a many-core processor, as well as its memory, peripherals, and a supporting tool chain for software development. Beehive is simple enough that it can be rapidly understood and modified by individuals with little hardware experience. It enables full-system experimentation at the hardware-software boundary, using inexpensive development boards and tools provided by Xilinx.


I discuss our early experiences with Beehive, including experience with its use as the basis for a short course at MIT in January.


Break and group photo session


Panel Discussion: Internet of Things

Session Chair: Feng Zhao, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia

Panelists: David Culler, UC Berkeley; Guihai Chen, Nanjing University; Hideyuki Tokuda, Keio University; Catharine van Ingen, Microsoft Research

The Internet of Things (IOT) holds the potential to profoundly change people's daily lives. It has become an active topic for not only research but also the global industry. For instance, China has made big investments in IOT in recent years; however, there are still many challenges to overcome because the IOT system is becoming deeply ingrained into individuals' daily lives and will surely continue to do so at an unprecedented scale. We need to research and develop new communication infrastructure, massive data management and discovery, continue sensor node miniaturization, and so forth. We also need new governance and policy, provisioning of security and privacy, and standardization for interoperability. Last, but not least, we need to develop large-scale applications to support the whole system and to advance the ecosystem.


In this panel, we invite speakers to share their views and experiences on different aspects related to the IOT system and to hold an informed debate about what the Internet of Things can do to improve our daily lives and business.




Cloud Computing Paradigm Shift

Enwei Xie, General Manager, Microsoft China

Cloud computing is a sea change that is profoundly impacting the way IT is delivered to customers around the world. This fundamental paradigm shift is impacting every aspect of computing—from hardware and datacenter design, to system software, to application software and beyond. It is also impacting the business model and economics of computing, for both customers as well as vendors. In this talk, I will explore some of these fundamental changes, provide a look into Microsoft’s approach to cloud computing, and examine some interesting areas for research in this context.


Growing Talent

John Hopcroft, Turing Award winner, Cornell University

Session Chair: Baining Guo, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia

In this talk, Professor John Hopcroft focuses on the topic of Growing Talent. He begins with an introduction of the U.S. research model and U.S. science policy, which emphasize features such as competition, mobility, and external review. He then presents the Ph.D. program at Cornell University as a representative example and provides suggestions for growing research talent in Chinese universities. He shares ideas on how to get started in research and offers the following advice: (1) position yourself for the future, (2) ignore well-established open problems, (3) formulate a new direction or area, and (4) start simple. To illustrate the principles of how to start research, he describes the steps taken by Cornell researchers on work in “Clustering Social Networks.”




The WorldWide Telescope: Challenges and Opportunities with Visualizing a Universe of Big Data

Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Chenzhou Cui, National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences

The first wave of work on the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) focused on enabling it to become a tool for educators and astronomers to simplify access and contextualize massive multi-wavelength astronomical image sets aggregated into a single environment for comparative analysis. The second wave of work with WWT is to facilitate the integration of other data sets within the environment, such as NASA’s work hosting more than 100 terabytes of the highest resolution data from their missions to the Moon and Mars that are transparently made available within WWT. The third wave of work with WWT is the integration of interactive data visualization within the spatial temporal environment to enable richer understanding of large spatial temporal data sets.


This talk will cover the past, present, and future of the WorldWide Telescope; the challenges of working with big spatial temporal data sets; and the opportunities for what we hope can happen with this third wave of capabilities for both science and education.


Empowering People with Knowledge: The Next Frontier for Web Search

Wei-Ying Ma, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia

The web is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, with the emergence of cloud computing promising to create a new platform for software development and service delivery. One of the greatest opportunities of this new era is the cultivation of a developer ecosystem that can produce millions of micro-vertical services and applications, working together to serve each and every user information need. In this new world, there is an opportunity to build a more powerful and intelligent search engine that both understands what users are trying to accomplish and co-operates with users as they learn, make decisions, and take actions.


In this talk, I will first discuss some significant trends in cloud computing, before sharing my thoughts on how we can leverage these trends to create both innovative and disruptive technologies for web search.


Panel Discussion: Fourth Paradigm – Exploring Trends and Talents for Data-Intensive Science

Session Chair: Tony Hey, Corporate Vice-President, Microsoft Research

Panelists: Key-Sun Choi, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology; Jinpeng Huai, Beihang University; Jimmy Liu, A*STAR; Junichi Tsujii, University of Tokyo and University of Manchester

The world of science has been changed by the availability of mega-scale data volumes from satellites, telescopes, high-throughput instruments, sensor networks, accelerators, and supercomputers, as well as the tools for managing these massive data sets. The techniques and technologies associated with these data-intensive science efforts, also known as eScience, vastly differ from the theoretical and computational phases of science and present the opportunity for new scientific exploration called the fourth paradigm, based on the vision of computer scientist Jim Gray. While improvements in hardware capabilities enable the ongoing proliferation of data-intensive scientific data across networked computers, a new semantic information infrastructure has become vitally important. This infrastructure, which includes software tools and middleware, leverages the cloud to enable computers to better address the needs for the global research community. This added complexity increases the already growing importance of a multidisciplinary approach to scientific research collaborations as well as computer science related curriculums for fostering future research talent.


A panel of prominent researchers will share their perspectives and offer insights into this exciting partnership in the fourth paradigm.







Transit to dinner

19:00–21:00  Dinner 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010





Breakout sessions

Hyatt on the Bund Hotel

  • Natural User Interaction: Exploring Future Computer Interfaces Today
    Session Chair: Frank Soong, Microsoft Research Asia

    We live in an era in which the traditional Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointing Device (WIMP) desktop paradigm, as well as our interaction devices—including the keyboard, mouse, and monitor—are becoming vastly inadequate. This is especially true given the rapidly evolving ecology of computing devices coupled with the growing information store and computational capabilities offered by the cloud. In fact, the bottleneck of how useful computers can be in our everyday lives is now largely bounded by the efficacy of our ability to interact seamlessly with them. Recent efforts to grow the bandwidth of human-computer interaction have culminated in an explosion of Natural User Interface technologies.

    In this workshop, researchers from Microsoft Research as well as our academic counterparts will present a broad survey of work inventing various pieces that will play key roles in the future of computing interfaces. These include advances in speech, gesture, augmented reality applications, Natural Language Processing, and even further out modalities such as brain-computer interfaces. 

A Universal Approach to Synthesizing High Quality Speech and Photo-Real Talking

Frank Soong, Microsoft Research Asia
In this talk, a universal algorithm is presented for synthesizing high quality speech and photo-realistic talking head. A database is first collected first to train a statistical, generative Hidden Markov Model (HMM), where trajectory of speech sound or articulator movement is trained and characterized with corresponding statistical HMM parameters. Thus trained HMM can then be used to predict underlying acoustic or articulator trajectories for given text or speech signals. The predicted trajectory by HMM are in turn to be used for guiding a sample based unit selection based synthesis. Appropriate samples (N nearest neighbors) in the original database are selected to for a “sausage” network and Viterbi algorithm is used to optimize a path search in the network to find the final high quality, speech/articulator movement output. Different training criteria are compared and demos for natural user interfacing will be presented.

Toward Music Listening Interfaces in the Future
Masataka Goto, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
In this talk, Active Music Listening interfaces and speech-recognition interfaces for music information retrieval are presented to demonstrate how end-users can benefit from understanding music and speech interaction technologies. First, Active Music Listening aims at allowing the user to better understand music and to actively influence the listening experience. Secondly, our hands-free music information retrieval systems employ two different speech-recognition interfaces, Speech Completion and Speech Spotter, which exploit intentionally controlled nonverbal speech information in original ways. Even if a user only remembers part of the title and the artist’s name or is talking to another person, the user can retrieve music. Our interfaces thus enrich end-users' music listening experiences and open up new ways of music listening in the future.

Be What’s Next – Context-aware Intelligent Companions (CAIC)
Chin-Yew Lin, Microsoft Research Asia
In Dr. Vannevar Bush’s seminal “As We May Think” article published in The Atlantic in July 1945, he laid out ideas about what scientists should do next to continue their effective partnership in response to a common cause during the Second World War. He constantly brought up the challenge of how people can freely record, store, modify, and consult the inherited knowledge acquired over the ages by humans. In particular, he mentioned a memex device which a user can stores all his books, records, and communications, and is constructed in such a way that instant access and manipulation of these data is possible.

Today, thanks to the invention of the World Wide Web, the rapid digitalization of all kinds of information, and the popularity of social media, we live in a world which Dr. Bush envisioned 65 years ago unfolding in front of our own eyes. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! give their users huge online storage for free to keep their personal data. Digital cameras and HD camcorders are commonplaces. Data recorded by all kinds of mobile devices are pushed online instantly via high speed data links to be shared with people around the world. Search engines such as Bing and Google index almost everything available on the web in an attempt to give users instant access to information relevant to them. However, it is estimated that about 1 trillion queries were left unanswered despite the best efforts of search engine scientists and engineers.

The key challenge is the selection or consultation of the stored knowledge as Dr. Bush rightly pointed out years ago. Bing and Google still rely on simple user queries as the major criterion for selection to fill their search results pages. In this talk, I would like to share with you how context-aware intelligent companions might be able to address this challenge by taking advantage of ready available ambient and contextual information.

Interacting with Face
Jian Sun, Microsoft Research Asia
Face-to-face interaction is the most effective way for the communication between humans. However when users are facing computing devices, the challenge is how the computer can understand (locate, track, recognize, and even read the emotions) our faces. In this talk, I will present several applications related to the interaction between the computer and the human face: face detection, face alignment, face tracking, face recognition/tagging, and face expression capturing.

Natural User Interfaces for Activity-based UbiComp
James Landay, University of Washington
Ubiquitous Computing uses novel technology in physical activity inference and mobile device user interfaces to support people’s high-level, long-lived activities. Target activities include motivating individuals to get fit, reducing a family’s environmental footprint, and learning a second language. The everyday scenarios in which activity-based applications will be used are also better supported by Natural User Interfaces (NUIs). We will demonstrate the activity-based applications we have built as well as show how activity inference can make Natural User Interfaces work better by helping to disambiguate the inherently ambiguous input often used by NUIs.

Natural User Interactions Research: NUI Opportunities for Collaboration

Stewart Tansley, Microsoft Research
NUI is about rethinking the ways in which people will interact with computers of the future. NUI means reevaluating everything from the computer’s design to human needs and interaction models. NUI will revolutionize the way we think about computers and what they can do on our behalf. NUI represents the dawn of a new paradigm for user interaction. This talk will explore the scope of NUI, and the research challenges and opportunities ahead from the perspective of Microsoft External Research.

Bund Ballroom, 1F East Tower  
  • Mobile Sensing
    Session Co-Chairs: Feng Zhao, Microsoft Research Asia; Jacky Shen, Microsoft Research Asia

    The proliferation of mobile devices, especially sensor enabled programmable mobile phones, is reshaping the whole IT industry profoundly. Ever increasingly more sensors have been integrated into modern smartphones; ecosystems have been formed via various App Markets. These facts have in return triggered new waves of innovative mobile apps and poised sensor enabled smartphones to the center of a next revolution in such as green applications, environment preservation, personal and community healthcare, augmented reality, and so forth.

    In this mobile sensing track, we hope to bring together researchers from related disciplines to share their visions, opinions, and experiences on mobile sensing applications and systems. In particular, we hope to include, but not to limit to, the following topics:
      • Mobile sensor node design (hardware, software)

      • System and platform support

      • Data management and inference

      • Collaborative sensing and inter-operation between stationary wireless sensor networks

      • Security and privacy

      • Novel applications based on mobile sensing systems/technologies 

Challenges in Creating Ubiquitous Services with Mobile Sensing Systems
Hideyuki Tokuda, Keio University
Mobile and ubiquitous computing is the key technology for achieving economic growth, sustainable development, safe and secure community towards a ubiquitous network society. Although the technology alone cannot solve the emerging problems, it is important to deploy services everywhere and reach real people with sensor enabled mobile phones or devices. Using these devices and wireless sensor networks, we have been creating various types of ubiquitous services which support our everyday life. In this talk, we will discuss the challenges in creating ubiquitous services with mobile sensing systems. We first review the ubiquitous network projects in Japan. Then, we discuss applications and architecture for creating various types of ubiquitous services. Several applications such as DIY smart object services, uCare services, follow-me services, real-time ranking service for consumers, and an environmental monitoring service for a city park are described. We then address the challenges in creating ubiquitous services and conclude with the importance of creating social and technological innovation together for future society.

Internet of Things Towards Ubiquitous and Mobile Computing
Guihai Chen, Nanjing University
Recent years have witnessed a dramatic trend towards ubiquitous computing, whereby very large numbers of casually accessible, mobile or embedded computing devices are connected to an increasingly ubiquitous networking infrastructure. However, with advent of the internet of things, people have higher requirements and meet with more challenges. In this talk, we list and analyze the key issues restricting breakthroughs in Internet of Things technologies, especially in direction of ubiquitous and mobile computing. We will also present two demos to explore ubiquitous computing in sensor networks.

Mobile Sensing in UbiComp and Persuasive Technologies
Hao-Hua Chu, National Taiwan University
Mobile sensing is a key technology to realize the vision of ubiquitous computing (UbiComp) and persuasive technology. UbiComp is about how future computing technologies can seamlessly blend into our everyday activities. Persuasive technology is about digital technologies that engage and excite people into active participation of desirable physical and mental activities. Mobile sensing technology provides practical and effective ways of leveraging mobile phone devices and sensors to understand human activities. In this talk, I will present several projects done at the National Taiwan University and also share experiences as a technologist working with human experts in this multi-disciplinary research.

SensorWeb and Its Extension to Support Mobile Sensing
Jacky Shen, Microsoft Research Asia
SensorWeb is a publishing, visualization, and sharing platform for sensor data. It brings in live sensor data to the web, and overlays the data on an interactive map—SensorMap. In this talk, I will introduce the architecture and key features of SensorWeb, and our recent efforts on its extension to support mobile sensing.

Meeting Room 206–207, 2F East Tower  
  • Finding, Keeping, and Nurturing Talent: The Key to Success
    Session Co-Chairs: Baining Guo, Microsoft Research Asia; Weiping Li, University of Science and Technology of China

    The responsibility of identifying and fostering top-quality talent of the future inevitably falls to the academic and industry communities. The rapidly evolving computing world requires innovative thinking and the knowledge and determination to push beyond current-day capabilities. This talent must be identified, trained, and inspired, and universities are particularly well-suited to making such investments in research talent. The outstanding universities will be those institutions that are able to respond to the changes in future generations of students, as well as their demands. They will also need to acquire resources outside the academic environment to foster the best talent. Industry must also be concerned with attracting future research talent to ensure products and services that the world needs, as well as profitability. Collaboration between academics and industries is one way to foster future research talent.

    In this workshop, researchers from Microsoft Research, as well as our academic counterparts, will share best practices and discuss the challenges. 

Overview: Talent Programs at Microsoft Research Asia

Lolan Song, Microsoft Research Asia
Microsoft is committed to cultivating talent in information technology in the Asia-Pacific region by providing opportunities to broaden talents' horizons, enhance their academic knowledge, and hone professional skills. I will introduce MSRA’s talent programs, and highlight our collaboration with the top universities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Requests from Customers, and Our Efforts and Plans to the Requests
HyunWook Park, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Huge amounts of information are being delivered through very fast communication channels that allow humans to easily communicate anywhere in the world. Multiple technologies have been combined and converged to unveil various ways to improve the quality of human life. These changes and pressures from our customers make us think about improving our education system as well. The demand to foster talented engineers and researchers who have various abilities from general humanity to interdisciplinary knowledge has become increasingly important in order for them to be ready to strongly contribute to their company. There may be limitations for each student or one education system to satisfy all demands from customers. We can provide multiple programs rather than one total solution to meet various demands from customers.

This talk introduces several efforts and plans of KAIST, which include small innovations in the department level and large innovations of new programs. Our plans in KAIST can suggest several trials of small and large innovation.

Recruiting, Cultivating, and Retaining Talented Academic Researchers: The Case of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Mounir Hamdi, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Department of Computer Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has recently been ranked by the The Academic Ranking Of World Universities as number 26 in the world and number 1 in Asia in computer science. It has also been ranked number 9 in the world in terms of research publications in the top 20 percent of computer science journals. We do understand that some of these rankings can be disputed. Nonetheless, they can be used as an indication of the quality of academics within a department.

In this talk, we will highlight our experience and best practices in terms of recruiting, cultivating, and retaining talented academic researchers in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as an example of the success stories as well as the challenges that face computer science departments from all over the world in this regard. Then we will draw some suggestions and strategic plans on the best way forward to achieving success in finding, keeping, and nurturing talent.

Reducing Talent Gap
Xiaoning Ling, X-Gainian Foundation
I will briefly analyze research talent requirement, and assess talent gaps between the requirement and the reality. I will then present what we have been practicing at Software School of Hunan University, China, with our intention to reduce the talent gaps. Our core approach is learning-by-doing which leads to a few new innovative curriculums and a couple of startup student projects funded by X-Gainian, an education venture capital firm. We believe our learning-by-doing approach creates an integrated platform environment where students get trained with true know-how knowledge/skills. Finally I would like to share with you my observation about a fun every-day-life training “platform," which has been effective for U.S. education.

Teaching Advanced Software Engineering
Xin Zhou, Microsoft Research Asia
Since 2007, I've been teaching an advanced software engineering course at Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Beihang University for a total of seven semesters. I tried to bring modern software engineering practice into classrooms of Chinese college. Over the course of several semesters, the result was very encouraging. I will outline the curriculum, student's feedback and my observation in this talk.

Meeting Room 201, 2F East Tower  





Transit to afternoon venue (with lunch box)



Innovation Day: Demos

During this special event, participants will see some of the latest work from Microsoft Research and our research partners around the world. There will be more than 20 exciting demo presentations on technologies related to natural user interaction, anticipatory computing, and how technology is helping to solve issues facing our society such as the environment, energy, and healthcare. Participants also have the opportunity to communicate directly with the owners of these technologies and learn about the stories behind the innovations.

Microsoft Zizhu Campus


Wrap-up session

A brief summary of the highlights from the breakout session topics on natural user interaction, mobile sensing, and fostering world-class research talent will be shared with the audience.

16:50–17:00  Conference conclusion 





Subsidiary dinners (optional)



Wednesday, October 20, 2010 (Optional)





Computing in the 21st Century Conference

Shanghai Jiao Tong University