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TechVista 2014

TechVista is Microsoft Research India's annual research symposium. It brings together the best minds from the scientific and academic worlds onto a common platform. TechVista provides an opportunity for the research community, government, and students to interact and exchange ideas on research and its future directions.

TechVista 2014 was held in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India on January 24, 2014. The symposium featured a number of globally recognized leaders in research. These included:

  • Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Head of Microsoft Research
  • Jeannette Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research
  • Chris Bishop, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research Cambridge
  • Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia
  • Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
  • P. Anandan, Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director, Microsoft Research India
  • Bill Thies, Researcher, Microsoft Research India

Talk titles and abstracts

Speaker     Talk title and abstract 
Peter Lee  

The importance of Basic Computing Research

One of the most exciting aspects of computer science is that the results of basic research so often end up being applied in completely unexpected ways. At Microsoft Research, we actively seek out these surprising outcomes, by building a pipeline that connects long-term, blue-sky research to technological innovations. This talk will provide a glimpse into specific research projects that have had significant impact on many areas of computing.

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Jeannette Wing 

The Impact of Computer Science Research on Science, Technology, and Society

The field of computing is driven by scientific questions, technological innovation and societal demands. There is wonderful interplay—push and pull—among these three drivers. For example, accelerating technological advances and monumental societal demands force us to revisit the most basic scientific questions of computing. These drivers are also measures of the impact of computing research. In my talk I will give examples from Microsoft Research of our impact on science, technology, and society. I will close with pointers to new directions for computing research.

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Hsiao-Wuen Hon 

Datafication of the World: People and Physical Space

While Big Data has become a popular phrase in recent years, in this talk, I will discuss how using data to better model, interpret, and represent the world has been a continual process throughout the ages. Data allows us to build models to understand how the world functions, so that we can make better predictions and decisions and view the world from new perspectives. I will use research projects from Microsoft Research, Beijing in the areas of graphics, human computer interaction, and urban informatics to illustrate how data provide novel and richer ways to engage with people and the physical space. 

Curtis Wong 

From the Edge of the Universe and back again

This talk will cover how the creation of the WorldWide Telescope to visualize the Universe served as the foundation to explore more complex dynamic data sets and its guided tours will help democratize access and understanding of spatial temporal data for people back here on Earth.

 Curtis Wong is a Principal Researcher in Microsoft Research eScience and co-creator of the WorldWide Telescope which has over ten million users around the world. Curtis leveraged the ideas behind WorldWide Telescope to drive the development of high performance interactive spatial temporal data visualization called Power Map in Office Excel that will be released later this year.

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Chris Bishop 

Probabilistic Models and Machine Learning 

The last forty years of the digital revolution has been driven by one simple fact: the number of transistors on a silicon chip doubles every couple of years. Today we are witnessing a second form of exponential growth: in the quantity of data being collected and stored. It is driving a transformation in information technology, from solutions that are explicitly hand-crafted to those which are learned from data. Real-world data, however, is full of complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty and so the data revolution is driving a corresponding transformation from computing with logic to computing with probabilities. This talk will introduce the key ideas of computing with uncertainty, and will be illustrated with tutorial examples and real-world case studies.

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Bill Thies 

Real time audience polling using computer vision

How can teachers, executives, and other public speakers make an interactive presentation to a large audience? Up until now, techniques for polling the audience relied on personal electronic devices, such as smart phones or special purpose "clickers". To enable real-time polling of any audience, we introduce a new technique using computer vision. Each member of the audience is given a qCard: an ordinary sheet of paper with a printed barcode. The speaker asks a multiple-choice question, and audience members respond by holding their qCard in different ways. Using a laptop and digital camera, our software automatically recognizes and aggregates the responses. In this talk, we will describe our experience piloting this technology in Bangalore schools. We will also conduct a live demonstration! 
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P. Anandan 

The Excitement of a Career in Research

One of the most creative intellectual pursuits is scientific research. As a researcher you enjoy a lifetime of exploration in the realm of ideas, set your own agenda and have the opportunity make fundamental contributions that can change the world. In this talk, I will explain how one becomes a researcher in Computer Science, by tracing my own career and that of a few others at Microsoft Research. I will also use examples to illustrate how basic research can lead to exciting technologies and products that we use every day in our lives. I will conclude by discussing some of the main personality traits and skills needed to become a successful researcher.

Siddharth Prakash 

This session will cover 2 community initiatives MSR India is currently driving.

Massively Empowered Classroom

The best engineering jobs in India (and around the world) demand graduates with more than just a degree in CS or EE. The best jobs are going to candidates who can demonstrate that they really understand their discipline. Microsoft Research India is excited to introduce MEC (short for “Massively Empowered Classrooms”), a research project designed to bring the highest quality classroom material to every undergraduate engineering student in India. MEC is geared to be a fun, social, and interactive learning place for students and teachers! Many features distinguish the MEC from a traditional online learning platform. This semester, MEC will be offering Design and Analysis of Algorithms course, aligned to the curriculum of RTU.

Research Connector

Research Connector is a community initiative by Microsoft Research India focused on creating research awareness, opportunities and a bridging platform between researchers, academicians and students currently pursuing CS-related courses in India. In this session, you’ll get to know how you can also get involved and work with other Researchers from the research community. 

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