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Yi-Min Wang

Yi-Min WangDistinguished Scientist and Managing Director
Microsoft Research Technologies

Wang became the Managing Director of the newly created Microsoft Research Technologies (MSR-T) organization in January 2014, which focuses on turning world-class research into world-class innovation that changes the world. Examples include the Skype Translator for real-time speech-to-speech translation and Project Adam for large-scale, brain-like deep learning.

Wang became a Deputy Managing Director for Microsoft Research-Redmond (MSR-R) in August 2011. Together with Peter Lee and Eric Horvitz, they formed the Office of Directors (OOD), which supports all 300+ researchers and engineers in the Lab towards the goals of Agility, Diversity, and Strategy. In November 2012, Wang and Horvitz became the Managing Co-Director of the lab when Lee expanded his responsibility to manage all of the research labs.

Between 2012 and 2014, Wang managed the MSR Gaia Skunkworks Program, which produced the following three world-record successes:

  1. The FDS team broke two MinuteSort records (see article and record page);
  2. The Blackbird team broke the Guinness World Record on fastest texting and set a new record on blind texting (see article);
  3. The Adam team set a record on ImageNet 22K object recognition top-1 accuracy (see article and OSDI paper.

From July 2007 to July 2011, Wang was Director of Internet Services Research Center (ISRC) at the Redmond Lab. ISRC is an applied research center established in July 2007 and dedicated to accelerating innovations in search and ad technologies. In addition to working closely with product team Executives to guide the center’s direction and growth, Wang leads R&D groups in the areas of Internet security and reliability, search and ads quality, scalable online service systems, and web-scale information retrieval and data mining.

Before joining ISRC, Wang was Manager of the Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group at MSR-Redmond, where he developed key security technologies to combat Internet threats including spyware, rootkits, malicious websites, cybersquatting, and search spam. He invented the Strider HoneyMonkeys to hunt down malicious websites that exploit unknown browser vulnerabilities. This technology has become the de facto standard for malicious-website detection across the industry. His work on Strider Typo-Patrol exposed and helped stop cybersquatters’ practice in serving adult ads harmful to minors on typo-squatting domains of children’s websites. He invented the Strider Search Ranger dynamic Web-analysis techniques to shed light on the shady business model of a large-scale search-spam industry and used an interview with John Markoff from the New York Times to educate the broader community and put pressure on legitimate businesses that were helping spammers hide their tracks. This effort significantly reduced spam in search engine results.

Before joining Microsoft in 1998, Wang was a principal member of technical staff at AT&T Labs, where he conducted research on distributed systems fault tolerance. On the theory side, Wang introduced Rollback-Dependency Trackability (RDT) as a fundamental concept in distributed checkpointing, which opened a new line of research in communication-induced checkpointing protocols. On the practice side, Wang introduced Progressive Retry in 1993 – a concept of deliberately introducing program execution non-determinism after a rollback in order to bypass software failures. He is a co-author of the widely-cited ACM Computing Surveys paper: “A Survey of Rollback-Recovery Protocols in Message-Passing Systems.” Wang is an IEEE Fellow, recognized for his contributions to dependable computing and web security. He has published extensively in those areas and was an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Computers from 2007 to 2010. He has served as a member of program committees in several international conferences, including IEEE International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC), International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), World Wide Web Conference (WWW), and Usenix Security Symposium. Wang has more than 40 granted U.S. patents.

Wang received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1986, a Master’s degree in electrical engineering (with a thesis on spectral estimation) in 1990, and a doctorate in computer engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993.