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What are 250 top researchers from academia and industry working on at Microsoft Research (MSR)? What attracted them to Redmond, Washington, as well as two new facilities in San Francisco and Cambridge, UK? MSR's appeal to its researchers is that their research will likely be “productized” for the mass market. Each of three metagroups have long-term goals but look for ways to incorporate their research into products shipping now. Their research is already shipping in some form in nearly every Microsoft product. This article gives an overview of the organization and goals of MSR, established in 1991 to look three to five years out to ensure that Microsoft remains well ahead of the technology curve. As a corporate research lab, MSR is unapologetic about its intentions to identify and fund technologies and new applications that are relevant to Microsoft's corporate strategy. Research is tightly coupled to Microsoft's vision of next-generation systems and software development: PCs that are intuitive to even neophytes, programming paradigms and tools that improve programmer productivity and program maintainability, and next-generation systems for the enterprise. Three metagroups-Advanced Interactivity and Intelligent Systems; Programming Tools and Methodologies; and Systems and Architecture-undertake research in roughly 20 areas including speech technology, vision, natural language processing, user interface development and decision theory

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 1 )