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Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2007
Agenda for Monday, July 16, 2007

technology theme key






Continental Breakfast



Opening Plenary Session



Faculty Summit Introduction and Welcome
Harold Javid, Faculty Summit Chair, Microsoft Research

External Research & Programs Overview
Sailesh Chutani, Director of External Research & Programs, Microsoft Research

Presentation: External Research & Programs Overview

Webcast: Faculty Summit Introduction and Welcome



Focusing on Today�s Research Opportunities
Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington
Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Advanced Strategies and Policy, Microsoft
Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Research
Dan Reed, Director, Renaissance Computing Institute, Senior Advisor for Strategy and Innovation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association
Jeannette Wing, Assistant Director for Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation

Webcast: Focusing on Today's Research Opportunities






Break-out Sessions



Community on the Go: the Quest for Mobile 2.0
William Griswold, University of California, San Diego; Evelyne Viegas, Microsoft Research (Chair)

The central characteristic of Web 2.0 is a democratic internet, allowing essentially anyone to author unique content, publish it, and engage the internet community in a conversation about it. Now pundits are talking about Mobile 2.0, context-aware Web 2.0, everywhere and all the time, enabling new phenomena such as "citizen field reporting". However, it is not at all clear how the technological advances that enabled the democratic "desktop" internet will carry over to the mobile web. It is likely that Mobile 2.0 will become something distinct from, and complementary to, Web 2.0, driven more by automatic context sensing than by deliberate authorship. This talk highlights the opportunities, challenges, and recent progress towards Mobile 2.0, motivating possible directions for future research.

Presentation: William Griswold, Community on the Go: the Quest for Mobile 2.0

Webcast: Community on the Go: the Quest for Mobile 2.0


Reinventing Computing
Burton Smith, Microsoft

The many-core inflection point presents a new challenge for our industry, namely general-purpose parallel computing. Unless this challenge is met, the continued growth and importance of computing itself and of the businesses engaged in it are at risk. We must make parallel programming easier and more generally applicable than it is now, and build hardware and software that will execute arbitrary parallel programs on whatever scale of system the user has. The changes needed to accomplish this are significant and affect computer architecture, the entire software development tool chain, and the army of application developers that will rely on those tools to develop parallel applications. This talk points out a few of the hard problems that face us and some prospects for addressing them.

Presentation: Burton Smith, Reinventing Computing

Webcast: Reinventing Computing



Ubiquitous Computing with Mobile Phones
Paul Oka, Microsoft Research; Nuria Oliver, Microsoft Research; Aman Kansal, Microsoft Research; Eric Chang, Microsoft Research

Mobile devices keep increasing in power each year and they present a unique opportunity for researchers to understand users needs for multi-functional computing devices and to evaluate ubiquitous computing applications. This session explores 3 unique examples that are pushing the boundaries of mobile devices towards a ubiquitous computing platform. Nuria Oliver talks about her research on �Wearable Physiological Monitoring on a Mobile Phone�, Aman Kansal explores �Mobile Phones as a Shared Sensing Platform�, and Eric Chang gives an overview of �FonePlus, Connecting Emerging Markets Users to the Net�.

Presentation: Aman Kansal, Mobile Phones as a Shared Sensing Platform

Presentation: Eric Chang,  Fone+: Connecting Millions of New Users to the Net

Webcast: Ubiquitous Computing with Mobile Phones

St. Helens

Microsoft Robotics Studio - The First Year
Tandy Trower, Microsoft; Cynthia Breazeal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Almost exactly one year ago, Microsoft announced plans to launch a software platform for the robotics community, with applicability for researchers, educators, commercial robot developers and even hobbyists. This session provides an update on our exciting first year, including a short introduction to the Microsoft Robotics Studio, what�s available today, and what�s coming next. It outlines the Microsoft interest in robotics in the hobbyist, academic and commercial markets, highlight the Visual Programming Language (VPL) and the 3D physics-based simulation tools, and show how applications can be run on a variety of third-party robotics hardware platforms. The session spotlights just one of the many research projects that are starting to benefit from the technology with a short presentation from our special guest, Cynthia Breazeal, about her latest work in human-robot interaction.

Presentation: Tandy Trower, Cynthia Breazeal, Microsoft Robotics Studio - The First Year

Webcast: Microsoft Robotics Studio - The First Year



Box Lunch Pickup



Lunch and Brown Bag Sessions


Singularity for Academic Research
Galen Hunt, Microsoft Research; Mark Lewin, Microsoft Research (Chair)

Singularity is a Microsoft Research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype called Singularity, extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior. This session gives you a chance to meet the Singularity team and to learn about our plans to make Singularity available for academic research. More information on Singularity can be found at /os/singularity.

Presentation: Galen Hunt, Singularity in a Nutshell

Webcast: Singularity for Academic Research



CS1: Where's It Going, and What Should We Be Thinking About?
Deepak Kumar; Bryn Mawr College; Jane Prey, Microsoft Research; Amy Gooch, University of Victoria; Charles Isbell, Georgia Institute of Technology

What is CS1, and how do we make it more interesting to students have been topics of continuous discussion for many years. We bring together 3 faculty members who are approaching CS1 from very different perspectives to share their visions for CS1 and to provide status reports on the implementations of their programs. The audience is encouraged to participate by sharing the changes going on at their schools, as well as the lessons learned.

Presentation: CS1: Where's it Going, and What Should We Be Thinking About?

Webcast: CS1: Where's It Going, and What Should We Be Thinking About?

St. Helens

Socially Relevant Computing/Technologies for Education
John Nordlinger, Microsoft Research; Devika Subramanian, Rice University; Mike Buckley, University at Buffalo

Socially relevant computing could help mitigate the decline of women and men in the computer sciences. What is socially relevant computing? It is ambiguous. Top down, it is about computer projects to help with societal issues in the news or even to monitor the news. For instance, computing to address water scarcity (using sensor networks etc.), or climate change, or to fix the space station.

Bottom up, it could focus on the topics that are the most relevant to students, and on how computers and programming could become more compelling through addressing these topics. Some possible areas could include MP3 music file management, MySpace enhancements, shopping bots for best price, accessibility, tools for personal finance or health, etc.

Devika Subramian has addressed socially relevant themes from the top down. Mike Buckley has addressed them primarily from the bottom up perspective through the experiences of his own daughter. Together, we hope to propose and discuss a new direction in computer science curricula that could bring more women and men into the classroom.

Webcast: Socially Relevant Computing/Technologies for Education



Break-out Sessions



Information Access, Privacy, and Confidentiality: Challenges and Opportunities
Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research; Frank McSherry, Microsoft Research; Tadayoshi Kohno, University of Washington; Wendy Seltzer, Harvard Law School; Daniel Weitzner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Evelyne Viegas, Microsoft Research (Chair)

Increasingly, researchers have been seeking to leverage new forms of behavioral data in their research. Data is becoming potentially available because of the plethora of programs that now collect data, e.g., personal, network, geophysical. However, there is a need for the data to satisfy strong confidentiality issues before it can be made accessible to researchers. For instance, in the case of search queries, academic search research could be reaching new heights if researchers had access to search assets, at internet scale. Yet, search queries remain confined within the vaults of search companies, and are often under internal confidentiality policies. Opening up the search vaults to the world is not an option today because of confidentiality issues. Moreover, multiple technologies might be enhanced with access to data if the data can be shared in a manner that people are comfortable with. The goal of this panel is to look at the current challenges and opportunities that researchers and internet users face with respect to privacy and data confidentiality, and to discuss  innovative models and approaches to information access which could help to enable research, as well as new user experiences.

Introduction: Evelyne Viegas, Information Access, Privacy, and Confidentiality: Challenges and Opportunities

Presentation: Information Access, Privacy, and Confidentiality: Challenges and Opportunities

Webcast: Information Access, Privacy, and Confidentiality: Challenges and Opportunities


Software Transactional Memory: Panacea or Pandora's Box?
Christos Kozyrakis, Stanford University; Maurice Herlihy, Brown University; Michael Scott, University of Rochester; Nir Shavit, Tel Aviv University; Mark Lewin, Microsoft Research; Tim Harris, Microsoft Research (Chair)

The Software Transactional Memory (STM) is a concurrency control mechanism for controlling access to shared memory in concurrent computing. An alternative to lock-based techniques, STM presents an optimistic, transaction-oriented conceptual model for creating scalable and composable programs. This expert panel examines STM from a number of perspectives, charting its present and future directions and tackling a wide range of issues and challenges facing STM and scalable concurrent computing.

Presentation: Christos Kozyrakis, Software Transactional Memory: Panacea or Pandora's Box?

Presentation: Maurice Herlihy, Why STMs Need Compilers (a war story)

Presentation: Michael Scott, An Interim Report from the Trenches: Using STM

Presentation: Nir Shavit, Can TM Help in Addressing the �Multicore Software Scaling Problem?�

Presentation: Tim Harris, Software Transactional Memory: Panacea or Pandora's Box?

Webcast: Software Transactional Memory: Panacea or Pandora's Box?



Mobile Location-based Services
John Krumm, Microsoft Research; Mike Seltzer, Microsoft Research; Ivan Tashev, Microsoft Research; Scott Counts, Microsoft Research; Jon Canan, Microsoft

Location-based services get a lot of attention, but there are very few successful ones yet. We�re working to make them successful, both in Microsoft Research and product groups. This session covers the following research projects and one new cutting-edge product:

  • Location Services for Drivers
  • Understanding and Conveying Location using Speech
  • SlamXR: Building Communities around GPS Traces
  • MSN Direct Navigation Services

Presentation: John Krumm, Location Services

Presentation: Scott Counts, SlamXR: Sensors, Routes, Community

Presentation: Jon Canan, MSN Direct Navigation Services

Webcast: Mobile Location-based Services


St. Helens

Solving Environmental Problems with Computer Science
Dan Fay, Microsoft (Chair)

Presentation: Dan Fay, Solving Environmental Problems with Computer Science

The Unknown and the Unexpected: Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest
Mark Abbott, Oregon State University

Climate change underlies the structure and function of the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. Cycles of drought, warm and cool years, strong and weak ocean upwelling are just some of the natural changes that are important to ocean and land ecosystems. However, human activity is now moving the environment far beyond this range of �natural� variability. We can no longer effectively use the past as a good predictor of future environmental conditions. Improved numerical models are being developed with higher spatial and temporal resolution as well as more realistic physics, chemistry and biology. Advances in high performance computing (HPC) are moving this innovation out from the traditional supercomputer centers into labs and offices. On the other hand, assessing and managing risk in an uncertain environmental future presents far more challenges to businesses and governments than be addressed simply by access to better models. It is no longer a matter for the natural sciences; decisions must engage the economic and political spheres as well. Just as globalization of the world economy sometimes has unexpected impacts on the regional scale, global climate change will have regional impacts as well. I will discuss these anticipated (and sometimes unexpected) changes and how information technology may play role in bringing together the diverse sets of data, expertise and insights needed to help human and natural systems prepare and adapt to climate change.

Presentation: Mark, Abbott, The Unknown and the Unexpected: Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

The Ameriflux Project
Deb Agarwal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Presentation: Deb Agarwal, Enabling Carbon Flux Studies at the Regional and Ecosystem Scale

Workflows and the Neptune Project
Roger Barga, Microsoft

Presentation: Roger Barga, Trident Scientific Workflow for Neptune

Webcast: Solving Environmental Problems with Computer Science


Tablet Technology: Tools and Deployment
Jane Prey, Microsoft Research (Chair)

Adaptive Book - A Platform for Interaction, Collaboration, and Analysis
Vince DiStasi, Grove City College; Ananda Gunawardena, Carnegie Mellon University

Despite advances in mobile technology and better reading fonts, students still have not embraced electronic textbooks mainly because electronic books are presented primarily as electronic versions of their static printed counterpart. The Adaptive Book (AB) project at Carnegie Mellon University is designed to enhance the utility of an electronic book by making the book more of a platform rather than just a course reference. Enhanced by a rich tool set designed to increase textbook interaction, Adaptive Book focuses more on collaboration by creating a community of users who can share their markups. Using Adaptive Book markup analysis tool kit, it is also possible to measure the pre-lecture and post-lecture reading comprehension of the material. We present several examples of Adaptive Book use in class and some results from pilot projects.

Undertaking a Large-Scale Tablet PC Deployment for Computer Science & Engineering Education
Joe Tront, Virginia Tech

In the fall of 2006, the College of Engineering became the first and largest public College of Engineering to require all 1,400 incoming freshmen students to own a Tablet PC. The purpose of this program requirement is to better facilitate pedagogical practices that are expected to improve learning, but which were not readily accomplished in the previous teaching/learning environment. In this talk we  discuss our approach to software and hardware decisions, required faculty and staff training, infrastructure support, as well as hardware and software support. We describe how our plan first took shape, and provide information on our successes and failures during the first year of the deployment process.

Presentation: Joe Tront, Undertaking a Large-Scale Tablet PC Deployment for Computer Science & Engineering Education

Webcast: Tablet Technology: Tools and Deployment






Break-out Sessions



Beyond Search - Seeking and Locating Information in Context
Silviu Cucerzan, Microsoft Research; Danyel Fisher, Microsoft Research; Evelyne Viegas, Microsoft Research (Chair)

The near exponential growth of the Web has resulted in the continuously increasing role of the Web and its gateways, the search engines, as providers of comprehensive and unrestricted access to information. Despite this crucial role, the current search engines still perform document retrieval and ranking based on user queries averaging 2.5-words. These search engines remain oblivious to the content of documents opened by users in browsers or text editors at the time they submit their queries, as well as to their previous interactions with Web data and Web search engines.

In his talk �Information-centric Browsing and Search� Silviu Cucerzan covers several new directions in the way we store, share, and interact with information today including deep text analysis, seamless integration of Web resources, automatic caching of user-customized views of documents, context-aware search, contextual and concept-based bookmarking, as well as strategies for learning from users� interactions with Web information.

As we gain more knowledge about information domains, we can build specialized tools and visualizations that allow for more precise searches of large and complex data spaces. In his talk, �Using Metadata to Orient Search: Geography & Faceted Search� Danyel Fisher discusses two such collections of data, the Microsoft Virtual Earth system, and data from his own personal archives, to demonstrate two projects developed in the VIBE group that illustrate specialized search: Hotmap, a heatmap-based visualization that shows where users have looked in the past when they look at Virtual Earth; and FacetMap, a tool for faceted browsing of personal information archives. Finally, Danyel summarizes the implications of these tools and how they might be extended in different directions.

Introduction: Evelyne Viegas, Beyond Search - Seeking and Locating Information in Context

Presentation: Silviu Cucerzan, Beyond Search - Seeking and Locating Information in Context

Presentation: Danyel Fisher, Beyond Search - Seeking and Locating Information in Context

Webcast: Beyond Search - Seeking and Locating Information in Context


Are New Programming Languages Needed to Exploit Manycore Architectures?
David August, Princeton University; David Callahan, Microsoft Research; Saman Amarasinghe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Carol Eidt, Microsoft (Chair)

This trio of presentations addresses one of the important questions facing us as we enter the manycore era: Are new programming languages needed to exploit manycore architectures? Can compiler technology save the day and transform today's applications into scalable concurrent programs? Can a combination of manycore-aware runtime libraries and new concurrency control mechanisms like Software Transactional Memory save the day? Can existing programming languages evolve to provide elegant and effective concurrency abstractions and mechanisms? If new languages are needed, what will they look like, and what are the implications for present and future programmers?

Presentation: David August, Are New Languages Necessary for Manycore?

Presentation: David Callahan, Are New Programming Languages Needed to Exploit Manycore Architectures?

Presentation: Saman Amarasinghe, Escaping the Programming Quagmire Created by the Multicore Menace

Webcast: Are New Programming Languages Needed to Exploit Manycore Architectures?



Social Networking: "Pictures of Traces of People, Places, and Groups"
Marc Smith, Microsoft Research

The Microsoft Research Community Technologies group focuses on the study and enhancement of computer mediated collective action systems. This talk present recent developments in projects that highlight and attempt to enhance computer mediated collective action: Netscan, SNARF, S.L.A.M. and A.U.R.A..

Presentation: Mark Smith, Social Networking: Pictures of Traces of People, Places, and Groups

Webcast: Pictures of Traces of People, Places, and Groups


St. Helens

eScience: Data Capture to Scholarly Publication
Tony Hey, Microsoft Research (Chair)

Research Communication, Navigation, Evaluation, and Impact in the Open Access Era
Stevan Harnad, University of Southampton

The global research community is moving toward the optimal and inevitable outcome in the online age: All research articles as well as the data on which they are based will be openly accessible for free for all on the web, deposited in researchers' own OAI-compliant Institutional Repositories, and mandated by their institutions and funders. Research users, funders, evaluators, and analysts, as well as teachers, general public will have an unprecedented capacity not only to read, assess and use research findings, but to comment upon them, entering into the global knowledge growth process. Prepublication preprints, published postprints, data, analytic tools and commentary will all be fully and navigably interlinked. Scientometrics will generate powerful new ways to navigate, analyze, rank, and evaluate this Open Access corpus, its past history, and its future trajectory. A vast potential for providing services that mine and manage this rich global research database will be open both to the academic community as well as to enterprising industries.

Presentation: Steven Harnad, The Open Access Research Web Publication-archiving, Data-archiving, and Publications as Scientometric Data

The Digital Data Universe
Chris Greer, National Science Foundation

CyberInfrastructure to Support Scientific Exploration and Collaboration
Dennis Gannon, Indiana University

Funding for experimental and computational science has undergone a dramatic shift from having been dominated by single investigator research projects to large, distributed, and multidisciplinary collaborations tied together by powerful information technologies. Because cutting-edge science now requires access to vast data resources, extremely high-powered computation, and state-of-the-art tools, the individual researcher with a great idea or insight is at a serious disadvantage compared to large, well-financed groups. However, just as the Web is now able to provide most of humanity with access to nearly unlimited data, theory, and knowledge, a transformation is also underway that can broaden participation in basic scientific discovery and empower entirely new communities with the tools needed to bring about a paradigm shift in basic research techniques.   

The roots of this transformation can be seen in the emergence of  on-demand supercomputing and vast data storage available from companies like Amazon and the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid Science Gateways program, which takes the concept of a Web portal and turns it into an access point for state-of-the-art data archives and scientific applications that run on back-end supercomputers. However, this transformation is far from complete. What we are now seeing emerge is a redefinition of  �computational experiment� from simple reporting of the results from simulations or data analysis to a documented and repeatable workflow in which every derived data product has an automatically generated provenance record. This talk extrapolates these ideas to the broader domain of  scholarly workflow and scientific publication, and qualitative as well as quantitative data, and ponders the possible impact of multicore, ubiquitous gigabyte bandwidth and personal exabyte storage.  

Webcast: Data Capture to Scholarly Publication


Research and Development in Pen Computing
Paul Oka, Microsoft; Sashi Raghupathy, Microsoft; Andy van Dam, Brown University

Digital ink and pen/touch user interfaces have moved out of research labs and into our everyday lives. Nearly 5 years ago Microsoft launched the Windows XP Tablet PC edition, in 2006 over 1 million Tablet PCs were sold, and industry analysts are forecasting that this number will double each year for the next several years. What is fueling the adoption of the Tablet PC? It is ultimately the applications.

Come and see the advanced research work at the Pen-Centric Computing center at Brown University where Andy van Dam believes "The Pen can be Mightier than the Keyboard". Then hear about the latest support for Digital Ink in Windows Vista from Sashi Raghupathy, a lead developer in the Windows user experience team.

Presentation: Andy van Dam, When is the Pen Mightier than the Keyboard?

Webcast: Research and Development in Pen Computing


Games First Pedagogy: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Enhance Programming Education
John Nordlinger, Microsoft Research; Andrew Phelps, Rochester Institute of Technology

Recent decreases in enrollment within computing-related fields of academic study demonstrate that a greater need to effectively motivate the study of core computer science and computing technology disciplines exists. This session explores the use of a massively multi-user game environment for such purposes. It details the construction, maintenance, and deployment of the Multi-User Programming Pedagogy for Enhancing Traditional Study (M.U.P.P.E.T.S.) system at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The session begins with a discussion of the technological goals and requirements for the M.U.P.P.E.T.S. system. In particular, it examines the implementation of an industry-comparable game engine as the platform core, the embedding of mainstream programming languages (C# and Java) for end user code development, and the implementation of an IDE feature set within the virtual environment. The technological features are then linked to the pedagogical aspects of the system.

Finally, the session details how the system is used by both lower and upper division students to create both simple and complex games as well as game components, and to demonstrate how the creation of games and the use of a shared virtual world are instrumental in creating a new environment to promote the study of computing.

Webcast: Games First Pedagogy: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Enhance Programming Education






Universal Access to Human Knowledge (Or Public Access to Digital Materials)
Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive

The goal of universal access to our cultural heritage is within our grasp. With current digital technology we can build comprehensive collections, and with digital networks we can make these available to students and scholars all over the world. The current challenge is establishing the roles, rights, and responsibilities of our libraries and archives in providing public access to this information. With these roles defined, our institutions will help to fulfill this epic opportunity of our digital age.

Presentation: Brewster Kahle, Universal Access to Human Knowledge

Webcast: Universal Access to Human Knowledge (Or Public Access to Digital Materials)



Travel to Kirkland



Dinner Cruise from Lake Washington to Puget Sound

Agenda for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

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