Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2005





Microsoft Tablet PC
The Tablet PC is being heavily adopted by academia, both as a teaching and note taking tool. Come try out the latest Tablet PCs and talk with developers about Tablet PC technologies. It�s a great opportunity to see the Tablet PCs and get answers to your technical questions about the platform. For more information about Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, see


Windows Mobile
Test drive current and next-generation Windows Mobile devices, and see the new Windows Mobile 5.0 in action.


Virtual Earth
Virtual Earth is a platform, experiences, and community for capturing, connecting, sharing, and visualizing information based on location. Virtual Earth extends current mapping experiences into real world immersive search, browse, navigation, and discovery of local information across all devices and experiences.


PlayAnywhere with Surface Computers
PlayAnywhere is a prototype interactive display surface that transforms any ordinary surface, such as a table or whiteboard, into an interactive input/output surface. We use computer vision technology to sense when the user touches the surface and to reason about other objects placed on the surface, such as game pieces. The PlayAnywhere configuration and unique form factor opens up many new possibilities: consider a combined sensor, projector, computation pod that a child can set up on the floor or imaginary playfield! For more information about the Microsoft Research Adaptive Systems and Interaction group, see /adapt/.


Detecting Spyware, Trojans, and Rootkits
See demos of how real-world spyware, Trojans, and rootkits hijack Windows and how our tools can detect them and help eliminate them. Learn more about the Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group at /sm/.


Quickly Learn Unfamiliar Code
Here we demo a prototype tool that helps developers come up to speed with unfamiliar code by using new visualizations, with code instrumentation and model checking behind the scenes. This prototype tool is a collaboration between the Software Productivity Tools (SPT) and Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) groups. For more information about the Software Productivity Tools group, see /spt/.


The Spec# programming system is a new attempt at a more cost effective way to develop and maintain high-quality software. The Spec# programming language, an extension of C#, extends the type system to include non-null types and checked exceptions and provides method contracts in the form of pre- and postconditions as well as object invariants. The Spec# compiler, integrated into the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment, statically enforces non-null types, emits run-time checks for method contracts and invariants, and records the contracts as metadata for consumption by downstream tools. The Spec# static program verifier translates Spec# programs into logical verification conditions. Internally, it uses an automatic theorem prover that operates on the verification conditions deduced from the Spec# contract. This system also includes an interface to the Spec Explorer tool for test generation and model-based testing, which guarantees the maintenance of invariants in object-oriented programs in the presence of callbacks, threads, and inter-object relationships. For more information about Spec#, see /projects/specsharp/.


Come and see the Robotic Puppet Show! This booth shows an undergrad built puppet show from Texas A&M University. It highlights what students can achieve when the curriculum is integrated with Research and Industry. The project leverages Microsoft Invisible Computing software from Microsoft Research and the reconfigurable computing project from Microsoft Research and Texas A&M University. The demo also breaks ground in using XML Web services for robot control.

The puppet show is controlled by a low-cost microcontroller and an FPGA. The micro-movements are programmed into the FPGA while the XML engine on the microcontroller board provides the high-level instructions. The client end connects to a Minority Report Glove and a music tempo analyzer, allowing the puppet dance routine to automatically adapt to the right dance.

While the puppet is physical hardware to the extreme, the booth also shows how to use novel simulation techniques to quickly develop sophisticated software hardware co-designs.


Microsoft Research Design Expo 2005—It�s All About Time
The Design Expo is a Microsoft Research forum where the top graduate design institutions showcase their prototype interaction design ideas. Microsoft Research sponsors a semester long class at six interdisciplinary leading design schools and invites the top class projects to present their ideas as part of the Faculty Summit. This years topic is �time.� Future interaction concepts will illustrate how people want and need better access to various time facets of their life and how they best want to share this with others will be demonstrated. Included in the media-based presentations will be concept prototypes, as well as visual and industrial designs that are supported with ethnographic results. This years schools include participants from NYU, RISD, UCLA, Brazil, Delft, and Sweden with a breadth of social and cultural aspects. Prototypes showing social, shared, scalable, worn, and circular designs will be shown for use by families and friends in a variety of environments.


MIT iCampus: Disseminating Innovations, Sharing Technology, Building Community
iCampus, supported by Microsoft Corporation, is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The iCampus program supports faculty and student initiatives in educational technology. iCampus sponsors innovations, helps incubate them through classroom use, and promotes their adoption, evaluation, and continued evolution through worldwide multi-institutional cooperation. The central theme behind all MIT iCampus projects is the support and encouragement of active learning in a constructivist approach to education. Over the past six years, creative approaches to fostering active learning leverages technology in a variety of disciplines. An initial set of these research projects has been selected and freely distributed through iCampus. Successful dissemination of technology in education requires more than just making it easily available. The MIT iCampus Affiliates Program seeks to share tools, build community, and evaluate the impact of this work. For information about the iCampus Outreach Program, see


Autostereoscopic Hardware and Software Technology
Autostereoscopic displays and associated software provide a compelling 3D experience. With improvements in the software and new display technology from both Microsoft Research and a unique third party, up to eight users can now experience 3D from the same display. Additionally, each user can see a different view of the scene. Using our own internal software capabilities, we will show these multiple-user capabilities on our own parallax barrier hardware, as well as on the third-party equipment.


Teddy: Consumer Robotic Platform
Teddy is a mobile robot with motors, stereo vision with pan/tilt head, array microphone, wireless network connection, and a software platform written on .NET and using Microsoft technologies. We demonstrate telepresence, learning and autonomous behaviors, sensor fusion between audio and computer vision, and discuss the many possible futures for Teddy, including scenarios as an entertainment robot. Teddy is the result of collaboration with Microsoft Research, Microsoft Hardware, and the New Consumer Product Group.


VIBE: Visualization and Interaction Research
See the demos of Summary Thumbnails, Collapse-to-zoom, and Snap-and-go. Summary Thumbnails allows users to view Web pages on a small screen browser in their original layout by scaling the page down to a thumbnail, yet keeps readability. Collapse-to-zoom is an interaction technique for navigating thumbnail-based browsers. And Snap-and-go is a interaction technique that allows users to align graphical objects that do not require deactivation.


HealthGear: Real-Time Wearable System for Monitoring and Detecting Sleep Apnea
HealthGear is a real-time wearable system for monitoring, visualizing, and analyzing physiological signals. HealthGear consists of a set of non-invasive physiological sensors wirelessly connected via Bluetooth to a cell phone that stores, transmits, and analyzes the physiological data and presents it to the user in an intelligible way. We have developed a first prototype using a blood oximeter to monitor the user’s blood oxygen level and pulse while sleeping. We have developed two different algorithms for automatically detecting sleep apnea events, and we have evaluated the performance of the overall system (HW and SW) in a sleep study with 22 volunteers. For more information about HealthGear, see /~nuria/healthgear/healthgear.htm.


A Spreadsheet Toolkit for Managing Sensor Networks
We demonstrate a spreadsheet tool that enables novice users to manage sensor networks and process the resulting streams of information. We expect the simplicity of spreadsheet will ease programming difficulties faced by novice users nowadays. This approach builds upon a service-oriented architecture that we propose for abstracting the low-level system details and providing semantic meanings to support optimizations at the middleware layer. We demonstrate our results by showing how we use the toolkit to manage and process data streams from our indoor test bed. For more information about the Networked Embedded Computing group, see /nec/.


Remote Photo Browsing via Smartphone
With the Smartphone Photo Browsing software, you can browse photos from your computer via the cellular GPRS network. We will show how you can access, view, browse, annotate (with voice or keywords), and share any of the thousands of digital photos on their computer from anywhere. This project is related to the Interactive Media Display work. For more information about the Next Media group, see /nextmedia/.


SMART: Service Migration And Replication Toolkit
SMART lets you easily build fault-tolerant services. You write a service as if it could only run on a single computer, and then SMART automatically adds fault tolerance. The improved service runs on multiple computers simultaneously, continuing to work seamlessly even if some of them fail. It can even, without stopping, change the set of computers it’s running on. So, you can add new computers for more fault tolerance, retire slow or dead computers, or even switch over to an entirely new hosting site. Not only will we show how your service can benefit from SMART, we’ll also showcase some of the technologies that make it work. We’ll show how view-specific replicas and shared execution modules enable straightforward migration of services. We’ll also demonstrate our methods for quickly and efficiently transferring service state between computers.


External Research and Programs
Previously known as Microsoft Research University Relations, this Microsoft Research group engages with academia through initiatives intended to further the state of the art through research collaboration related to the emerging computing environment. These initiatives include Programming Systems, Embedded Systems, Trustworthy Computing, Mobile Computing, and Robotics. Emphasis on the transformation of science by computing is reflected by initiatives in eScience and Bioinformatics. The advancement of the computer science curriculum is addressed by specific learning initiatives in Software Engineering, Technology-Enabled Curriculum, Gaming and Robotics (Emerging Curriculum), and Trustworthy Computing, and through a hosted Curriculum Repository. In addition, the group supports additional initiatives that address critical issues transcending specific subject areas. These include the New Faculty Fellowship, Gender Equity, iCampus, ConferenceXP, Service Learning, and Regional Programs in Latin America and India. For more information, see: /ur/us.


Scalable Exploration of Physical Database Design
In recent years, physical database design has received considerable attention as a research topic, resulting in approaches that, in order to accommodate a variety of physical design structures and to scale to large workload sizes, combine a large number of heuristics, shortcuts, and special cases. In this demo we present a new architecture for physical design tuning that utilizes additional optimizer-interfaces to drastically reduce the dependence on heuristics, while at the same time producing recommendations of comparable and sometimes superior quality. Moreover, our approach is able to provide probabilistic guarantees on the quality of tuning for workloads that are too large to be evaluated exhaustively. This work is part of the AutoAdmin project at Microsoft Research. For more information, see: /dmx/autoadmin/.


Visual Studio 2005 Team System
Visual Studio 2005 Team System is a suite of extensible lifecycle tools that help software teams collaborate to reduce the complexity of delivering modern service-oriented solutions and to increase the predictability of their software development process. Visit this booth to hear from leading experts, overview product demonstrations, and more. For more information about Visual Studio 2005 Team System, visit


The Community Bar: Enriching the Browsing Experience
In current Web browsing, each page is viewed in isolation, not showing additional information that could be used to evaluate its claims, clarify its meaning, or even make the browsing experience more fun. We will demonstrate the Community Bar, a plug-in�based system that allows Web users to discover such information and interact with others by chatting and posting notes associated with a Web site. The community bar also allows users to “tag” a Web page and share these tags with other users, view links to a page, read blog postings about it, perform site-specific searches, and find other pages that are similar. These interactions are helpful for information exchange, social interaction, and entertainment. For more information about the Text Mining Search and Navigation Research group, see /tmsn/.


Slam: Real-time Communication and Media Sharing for the Smartphone
Slam is a prototype application for the Windows Smartphone that supports group-centric social interactions. The core concept is a �slam,� or group of people such as a number of friends, family, coworkers, or even people attending a conference. Slams are created in just a few clicks right from the mobile device, enabling group-wide messaging and media sharing. Usage scenarios target social coordination, instant photo sharing, and broadcast communication for mobile devices. For more information about the Social Computing Group, see /scg/.


Memex is a project focusing on advanced visualizations for browsing the data stored in MyLifeBits and VibeLogger (digital personal data storage and logging tools). Scenarios focus on novel user experiences around a timeline of all digital activity for a particular user, such as browsing a Web archive or your photos. For more information about the Media Presence group, see /barc/MediaPresence/.


Information-Centric Search
We present two projects that focus on improving the user’s experience with search and navigation of large text collections. These projects exploit the collaborative expertise of millions of users, as captured in search query logs.

  • Encarta Answers Generator—An approach that uses question answering and mining technologies that exploit Web data, trusted resources, and the collaborative expertise of millions of users.
  • User-driven Spell Checker—An approach that uses an iterative transformation of the input query strings into other strings that correspond to more and more likely queries according to statistics extracted from search query logs.

The prototypes are built with the Text Mining, Search, and Navigation Toolkit. For more information about the Text Mining Search and Navigation Research group, see /tmsn/.


Phlat: Faceted Personal Search and Organization
Phlat is a prototype interface for intuitive search and organization of personal information. Phlat is designed to optimize iterative search across full text and a wide variety of metadata properties. In particular, Phlat emphasizes the use and application of user-authored metadata tags to keep all your stuff organized. Best of all, you can download Phlat and use it today! Phlat uses the same back-end indexer that powers MSN Desktop Search. If you already run MSN Desktop Search, you can start using Phlat immediately, or you can download the indexer together with Phlat! For more information, see /adapt/sis/phlat.htm.


Social Sorting for E-Mail Triage
E-mail triage is the process of going through unhandled e-mail and deciding what to do with it. E-mail triage can quickly become a serious problem for users as the amount of unhandled e-mail grows. We will present our findings on how people handle e-mail and demo the SNARF (Social Network and Relationship Finder) prototype showing how social metrics calculated for a person’s e-mail can be used for triage. For more information about the Community Technologies group, see /community/.


Epitomic Analysis of Images and Biology and Machine Learning
Epitome is a condensed representation of array data that captures the variability in the data in terms of small constitutive elements. It has natural applications on summarizing visual and genetic data, but could also find many other applications. We will show how epitomes can be used to decode regulatory signals in genes or as vaccines against viruses such as HIV. We will also show how it can be used to browse images and video. For more information, see /~jojic/.


Enabling Personal Supercomputing
Applications and scenarios for high performance computing (HPC) are increasing in automation, speed, and ease of use. The future of HPC lies in integrated workflows, where server clusters and desktops will seamlessly process complex parallel, distributed, and data-driven computations across a large network of solutions. The user will be able to utilize best-of-breed computational models to create complex, multi-stage simulations residing anywhere within an internal network or the Internet. Microsoft will be delivering their first step in making that environment a reality—Windows Server 2003, Compute Cluster Edition. The product is designed to create a “personal supercomputing” solution—a great out-of-the-box experience—surrounded by a wide ecosystem of partners, products, and services to maximize business value. Our booth will show how smaller compute clusters can compliment traditional larger computer clusters, specifically allowing researchers and scientists to obtain faster results. A broad array of partners are building specifically for these kinds of smaller, distributed computing clusters. One example is Wolfram with their GridMathematica product, which we�ll demonstrate in our booth. We�ll also discuss product plans and roadmaps, the competitive landscape and challenges, and highlight the value proposition of the solution. For more information, visit


MessageGrid: Providing Interactivity in a Technology-Rich Classroom
The classroom is changing before our very eyes! More universities are requiring entering students to come with laptop computers with wireless capability. Before being asked, students already arrive on campus with laptop or tablet PCs, PDAs, and smart phones. Powerful technology has become commonplace and a growing number of instructors are eager to take advantage of the tremendous potential that this technology can bring to the classroom. The basic question confronting laptop course faculty is: How can the laptop or tablet computers available to the students be used to deliver course content more effectively in and out of class? How can the instructor turn the computer into a tool that draws the students� attention to the day�s lesson and encourages student participation in class activity? We at Clemson University have been working on a Web-based software tool whose primary objective is to facilitate recitation and classroom interaction in a laptop-enhanced classroom. The tool, called MessageGrid, enables an instructor to design classroom experiences, tailored to support the lesson for the day, and to engage the students by having them respond to questions, assignments, projects, and the like, by posting their responses on the grid. We will demonstrate MessageGrid and explain how several Clemson faculty from different disciplines have used it in their courses during the past year.


ConferenceXP Research Platform
ConferenceXP is a collaborative initiative between Microsoft Research and academic institutions who are interested in exploring how to make wireless classrooms, real-time collaboration, and distance learning a compelling, rich experience by assuming the availability of emerging and enabling technologies, such as high-bandwidth networks, wireless devices, Tablet PCs, and the advanced features in Microsoft Windows XP. For more information about ConferenceXP, visit


Phoenix at Work in Research
We will demonstrate several projects developed inside Microsoft and with various universities that use the Phoenix Optimization Framework. We will demonstrate a UCSD Phase Detection tool; a Harvard-developed register-allocation optimization; an Arizona-developed crash analysis tool; and Check.NET, a Microsoft tool used in validating correctness for .NET applications. For more information about Phoenix, visit /phoenix/.


Your Desktop on Your Keychain
Tomorrow�s mobile computing environment might see a proliferation of public-use (kiosk) machines where users can simply and easily call up their desktop environments. This vision offers an alternative to portable computing that doesn�t require users to carry bulky, fragile and theft-prone laptops. We posit that kiosk machines are capable of hosting user desktops as virtual machines and propose a virtual disk design that allows for an efficient access to per-user state held “in the network.” We use flash-based disks to capture virtual machine memory state and to act as a cache for the virtual disk. We also allow static portions of the virtual disk (for example, binaries for Windows and Office) to be served from the kiosk disk. We will demo a prototype of this system that uses portable flash memory and the VPC2004 virtual machine environment. For more information about Your Desktop on Your Keychain, see /research/sv/keychain.


PowerPoint currently provides two modes: one for authoring and one for presenting. Often, you’ll view a presentation on your computer either at presentation time, such as through Resnet, or after the fact. The Viewer-for-the-Viewer (V4V) provides a third mode designed specifically with the viewer in mind. It provides methods and UI to see the current slide in the context of the overall presentation; sync and un-sync with the presenter�s view; annotate slides by adding textual notes, adding hyperlinks, drawing on virtual tracing paper, and marking a slide as important; and set an alarm to alert the viewer to when the speaker reaches a particular slide. Viewer-for-the-Viewer takes advantage of the 3D graphics power of the computer to provide a smooth animated viewing experience. Integration with OneNote and PowerPoint is intended. For more information about the Graphics group, see


Photo Merge
From the team that brought you the Microsoft Research Shell Stitcher, the Microsoft Research Photo Merge system automatically scans your personal image library, identifies overlapping images of the same scene and aligns them. The user is presented with the found image stacks. A simple UI is available to create an output from the image stack. Examples of outputs you can generate are a panorama from input images or video, a high-dynamic range image from a set of images with varying exposure, a high-dynamic range panorama from images that vary exposure and orientation, a scanned whiteboard, and composing a moving subject in several positions on a stabilized background. For more information about the Interactive Visual Media group, see /vision/InteractiveVisualMediaGroup/.


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