Microsoft Research Cambridge was set up in July 1997 with three researchers. Today over 120 researchers, mostly from Europe, are engaged in computer research at the lab. The city of Cambridge, England, was the clear choice for the location of the facility because of its world-renowned reputation and its rich history as a center of learning.
Advancing the State of the Art
Microsoft Research Cambridge projects focus on advancing computer science and developing novel computational approaches to further scientific research in areas as diverse as machine learning, systems level performance, abstract programming techniques and models through to computer-mediated living at home and at work, and biological, ecological and environmental sciences.
Nearly every Microsoft product on the market today has been influenced by Microsoft Research. Although researchers pursue long-term goals that are distinct from and extend far beyond current product cycles, they also work closely with product development groups at Microsoft to help turn research discoveries into deliverable technology. Cambridge researchers contributed vital machine learning technology to some of Microsoft’s most well-known devices, such as the Kinect for Xbox and HoloLens. Other recent technology transfers that the Cambridge team have been involved in include: The functional programming language F#, as well as security mitigation technology that is helping to protect Windows users from cyber attacks; technology that enables cloud providers to ensure datacentre tenants are not impacted by other tenant usage; models and tools for designing and programing computation in living systems; and prediction and recommender systems used in the Bing search engine and Xbox Live.
Research at the Cambridge lab focuses on systems and networking, programming principles and tools, machine learning and perception, computer mediated living and computational science. No matter how far-reaching or abstract their projects might be, Microsoft researchers consistently strive for results that will eventually provide practical benefit, solving some of the greatest challenges of computer science.
Microsoft Research Cambridge embraces a philosophy of collaboration with academic, government and commercial institutions on a broad range of research programs. These collaborations are fostered in many forms and include joint research institutes; academic grants; and support for the next generation of researchers. The lab maintains close links with universities all over Europe, including the University of Cambridge and its Computer Laboratory, Engineering Department and Statistical Laboratory.
Joint Research Institutes
Microsoft Research has co-founded five research institutes in Europe that serve as centers of excellence in emerging areas of computational science.
- France. The Microsoft Research-INRIA Joint Centre was founded by INRIA (the French National Research Institute for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics), Microsoft France and Microsoft Research Cambridge. The objective of the institute is to pursue fundamental long-term research in formal methods, software security and the application of computer science research to science.
- Spain. The IMDEA Software Joint Research Centre is a collaborative venture between Microsoft Research and IMDEA Software, and was launched in April 2014. At the center, researchers from Microsoft Research and IMDEA Software work on topics of mutual interest that fall into the following broad categories: cloud storage systems and mobile platforms; cloud/web security and malware detection; cryptography and privacy; concurrency, parallelism, and memory models; and programming languages and verification.
- Switzerland. The Swiss Joint Research Center was established in June 2013 and is the renewal of ICES (Innovation Cluster for Embedded Software), a collaborative research engagement between ETH Zurich, École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and Microsoft Research. Their shared vision is that the center undertake the toughest computer science challenges in areas as diverse as human-computer interaction, machine vision, performance and energy scalability, mobile computing, and data center optimization.
- Russia. The Microsoft Research-Lomonosov Moscow State University Joint Research Center was founded in April 2014, this partnership will run three years and cover research in such areas as big data processing/visualization and computer vision, and will offer major research events for students.
- Australia. The Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces, created in December 2013, is a collaborative venture between the University of Melbourne and Microsoft Research, in partnership with the state government of Victoria and Microsoft Australia. The center is a place of interdisciplinary research for creating and understanding innovative interfaces that facilitate human communication, collaboration and social interaction. It is the world’s first joint research center dedicated to studying and perfecting the social applications of natural user interfaces.
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