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Mobility and Networking Research - Research

To invent & research technologies that make Microsoft’s networks, services and devices indispensable to the world

Research Themes

Our research is focused on the following four broad themes. Each theme has numerous projects, and some projects span multiple themes. A partial list of current and past projects is available.

Datacenter Networking & Performance Optimization of Cloud Services
We are pursuing a multi-year cross-lab research prgram that focusses on producing the next generation data center networking and services. We are experimenting with radical new designs in network architecture, programming abstractions, and performance management tools. We care about inexpensive future-proof networking inside the data centers, between globally distributed data centers and to the data centers. Our research includes several projects the cut across various systems and networking research areas that are being pursued in collaboration with Microsoft's Global Foundation Services Team, Windows Azure Team, Bing Team, and the Management Solutions Division.

Mobile Computing & Software Services
We are pursuing a variety of mobility-related projects: studying how the cloud can enhance the user experience on mobile devices (HAWAII); understanding how people use smartphones and the performance characteristics of 3G networks (3GTest & Diversity Studies); building systems to enhance smartphone performance, functionality, and battery lifetime using code offload (MAUI); building infastructure to enable mobile social applications (Virtual Compass); and enhancing mobile device sensors by making their sensor readings trustworthy. In the software services arena, we are pursuing a variety of systems to simplify building scalable and geo-distributed services (PRS/Centrifuge, Volley, and Stout). Another area of emphasis is home networks, where we are pursuing network diagnosis services for the home (NetMedic & NetClinic), as well as new services and abstractions for easily building networked applications for the home (HomeOS).

Continuous Hands-free Mobile Interaction
When combined with high-resolution touch-enabled displays, web access has proven a killer application. Playing games, reading the news or watching Youtube can capture the attention of users for extended periods many times a day. However, if the user has limited attention or the relevant tasks are short and happen many times an hour, e.g., making an appointment, adding a song to a playlist or checking on a bus, pulling the phone out of your pocket for an immersive experience is cumbersome. The newly launched Continuous Mobile Interaction project is developing usages, devices and systems to make such lightweight but frequent actions easy to do. Current efforts are along several directions. (a) an always-available speech accessory, and (b) developer support for natural-language interaction (c) platform for multi-modal interaction in moving vehicles, and (d) an allways-on visual cognition engine 

Cognitive Wireless Networking
The next generation of wireless networks will include software defined radios, cognitive radios, and multi-radio systems which will co-exist harmoniously while operating over a very wide range of frequencies. We are revisiting "classical" wireless networking problems and designing new solutions that incorporate and build upon recent advances in software and hardware technologies. Of interest lately has been our research solutions to problems in white space networking (the KNOWS project). We are working with ploicy makers, business units and acdemia to address the societal needs for providing inexpensive broadband connectivity everywhere.

Enterprise Network Management & Services
We are pursuing several different projects in this area. In particular, NetHealth is a network management research program in which end-hosts cooperatively detect, diagnose, and recover from network faults. Unlike existing products we take a end-host centric approach to gathering, aggregating, and analyzing data at all layers of the networking stack for determining the root cause of the problems. NetHealth includes several on-going projects in the wireless and wired space that are being pursued in collaboration with Microsoft’s Management Solutions Division and Microsoft's Unified Communications Group.