|Enhancing IVR Interactivity and Repurposing Digital Markers
Jennifer Pearson and Simon Robinson
Enhancing IVR Interactivity Telephone-based voice systems (e.g., IVRs) are ideal in many situations where factors such as literacy, cost or familiarity affect technology access. However, IVRs lack many of the interactive features of other services, such as support for content sharing, or visual interactivity. This talk will discuss two of our developments in this area. The first uses ‘audio codes’ to let people share their IVR call positions, and allows callers to hold their normal (low-end) handsets together to synchronise. The second allows cameraphone users to interact directly with their own photos of printed media to receive audio feedback or narration on demand. The talk will discuss ongoing deployments of the systems, and explore other potential areas for extending IVR interactivity.
Repurposing Digital Markers Digital markers such as barcodes and QR codes are all around us—on books, groceries and other products—but these everyday markers are typically used for a single focused purpose. In this talk we explore the concept of “piggybacking” on these ubiquitous markers. Two probes in this area will be discussed. The first allows library visitors to scan any nearby book to provide a custom map to the location of a desired item. The second adds a layer of social interaction to codes, allowing users to “tag” any marker in their environment with their own messages. The talk will explore the design of these types of systems, and discuss the potential benefits of designing for digital appropriation.
|The WW Web of Invisible Trackers
Internet advertisers reach millions of consumers through practices that involve real time tracking of users’ online activities. The tracking is conducted by third party ad services engaged by the Web sites to facilitate marketing campaigns and service analytics. At the same time, the applications that facilitate interaction with services, such as Internet browsers, reveal little or no information to the user about the information flow between the devices and services. That leaves the consumers with no insight and no understanding of what data is collected and how it is used. In the broader context of privacy and cyber-security, it is important to consider methods and computing designs that empower users to make well informed decisions and take actions that keep themselves and others safe.
We present research projects that investigated several aspects: (1) characterizing the tracking ecosystem and the value exchange within it, (2) understanding the users’ attitudes, behaviour, and awareness of tracking practices, and (3) designing applications and systems to increase the transparency of the data and value exchange between the user and services. We discuss the findings of three studies. They motivate us to consider alternatives to the privacy invading online practices and urge deeper questions about the design and comprehensibility of computing systems.
|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!
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Research in Education: MSR India Initiatives
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 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.
|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.
|Filling in the Blanks - 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.
|Fast Online Tensor Method for Overlapping Community Detection
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