Microsoft Research: where computing changes the world

MSR@PDC: Learn more

At the keynote this morning at PDC 2008 Rick Rashid talked about Microsoft Research and how an inspired decision 17 years ago has led to the premier research facility in the field of computer science.

With my background having graduated with a degree in computer science, it’s fascinating to see the scale they have achieved.  For instance, over 20% of PHD students in the US will either work for or with Microsoft research in their careers and they have the largest number of academic and scientific accolades in the world.  Impressive stuff. 

All this work goes on in Microsoft Research facilities, government labs, university campuses across the globe and results can be seen in every single Microsoft product out there on the market.

This is an organisation who’s goal is to drive innovation in an agile way that can change the world. 

One of the demonstrations shown was on Sensor devices and visualisation to help people understand complex energy efficiency problems relating to datacenters, global warming, ecological issues and more. You can see the results and feedback from some of these sensors at this website:

Sensor Maps online

Img0440 by Long Zheng.

We also witnessed Boku which makes programming accessible for children so that programming can become a life skill.  This is simply stunning, stunning, stunning. This will be available early next year.

More info on Boku here

Img0481 by Long Zheng.

Last but not least was Second Light – the next gen Surface that allows multi-tiered projection where different images can be separated onto various layers.  Difficult to explain but more here:

Photography hat tip to Long.