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Online Services and Advertising

We conduct research in the areas of machine learning, game theory, information retrieval and knowledge representation and reasoning. Our interdisciplinary team, including members from several product groups, applies these technologies to four key areas of our business: computational advertising, search, social networks and gaming. Our mission is to create the computational intelligence that will underpin the success of the next generation of these online services.

Research Directions


Machine Learning and Graphical ModelsHow can we learn dependecies from the vast amount of data available on the web and make predictions that enable advanced web services and improved user experience?  

Information Retrieval and Data Mining: How can we satisfy the diverse information needs of people interacting with the web and other collections of information?

Knowledge Representation and Reasoning: How can we extract knowledge from the web and organise it to support rich interactions that go beyond the current paradigm of keyword based search?

Game Theory and Mechanism Design: How can we model the interactions among self-interested agents in the web and design mechanisms that provide the right incentives for agents to behave in the desired way.



 Application Areas

Computational Advertising and RecommendationWe address the problem of matching users and items such as ads, content, products, and services to the benefit of users, advertisers and content providers. 

Web and Enterprise Search: We improve the search experience both on the web and within the enterprise drawing from various information sources including implicit relevance feedback and semantics.

Social Networks and Streams: We help users manage their social networks and deal with the ever increasing flood of information from sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and other media at work, at home and on the move.

Gaming: We apply methods of computational intelligence to problems arising in games. Past work includes developing artificial intelligence for Go and Forza Motorsport, and the TrueSkill ranking and matchmaking system. 


 Embedded Product Groups

OSA is a federation of Cambridge-based researchers, applied researchers and developers from both Microsoft Research Cambridge and several key product groups. Many of these product groups are active in several of the OSA application areas and technologies. For example, applied researchers from Bing, SharePoint and AdCenter collaborate on search.


Microsoft Research Cambridge



We are looking for outstanding interns, postdoc researchers, developers and full-time researchers. Visit our career opportunities page