REDMOND, Wash. — July 18, 2005 — Today at the sixth annual Microsoft® Research Faculty Summit, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Princeton University Dean of Engineering and Applied Science Maria Klawe discussed issues of mutual concern to academic researchers and the technology industry before an audience of more than 350 faculty researchers from 175 academic institutions in 20 countries. Amid challenges that range from dwindling government funding for research to declining numbers of students entering U.S. computer science programs, Gates and Klawe stressed that ongoing collaboration between academia and industry is now more critical than ever.
“These are challenges that affect not only the computer science field but our entire society, and addressing them will require new levels of teamwork among universities, industry and government,” Klawe said. “I deeply appreciate what Microsoft Research is doing through programs like the Faculty Summit to draw more attention to these issues, create a sense of urgency around them and help build consensus about the next steps toward finding solutions.”
As part of the Faculty Summit, Microsoft Research also unveiled a range of new collaboration opportunities and faculty recognition programs designed to help advance the state of the art in computing research. Gates reinforced Microsoft’s commitment to remain a strong champion for the health and vibrancy of computing science in higher education.
“We must capture the imaginations of the next generation of computing innovators by exposing them to inspirational research that bridges multiple disciplines,” Gates said. “That’s exactly the kind of work I’m seeing from so many of our academic colleagues, as well as from Microsoft Research — and why it’s so exciting to take part in the Faculty Summit each year.”
This year’s Faculty Summit is built around the theme “Computing: The Next Decade,” with a focus on research and technical challenges in areas such as security, mobility, software engineering, programming languages, human-computer interaction, embedded computing and technologies for education. Hosted by the External Research and Programs group of Microsoft Research (formerly known as University Relations), the annual conference features keynote presentations, workshops, panel discussions, hands-on technology demonstrations and other interactive sessions, and gives members of the global academic community and Microsoft researchers a lively forum in which to exchange ideas, explore partnering opportunities and showcase their innovative work in diverse areas of computing. A webcast replay of Gates’ and Klawe’s dialogue with attendees is available at http://www.microsoft.com/events/executives/webcasts.mspx. In addition, Faculty Summit activities and presentations will be available for viewing after the event at http://research.microsoft.com/workshops/FS2005/default.aspx.
Academic research projects supported by Microsoft Research that are being showcased at the Faculty Summit include a wide diversity of subject areas, such as Trustworthy Computing in higher education curricula; technology solutions for education; use of sensor networks for early detection of environmental disasters; innovative software architectures; and tool boxes for computational science.
As part of its mission to cultivate talent, encourage new ideas and foster continuous innovation in computer science, the External Research and Programs group today launched the latest round of requests for proposals (RFPs) for academic research funding. This builds on the highly successful RFP program announced at the 2004 Faculty Summit. Microsoft Research will award grants later this year to support projects in three key research domains:
Digital Memories. The Digital Memories (Memex) RFP solicits proposals for research that build on Vannevar Bush’s vision of a “memex,” a device in which an individual stores all his books, records and communications, and which is mechanized so that it can be consulted quickly and flexibly. Today there are storage and capture technologies that can do just that; this RFP aims to explore the potential of these novel capabilities.
Smart Clients for eScience. This RFP focuses on the development of smart clients for scientific research. Smart clients are a collection of tools for data gathering, mining and visualization. These tools free scientists to focus on their research rather than infrastructure, thus increasing their productivity and accelerating scientific discovery.
Trustworthy Computing Curriculum. This RFP solicits proposals to create, test and disseminate new curriculum that introduces advanced topics of Trustworthy Computing into technical, business and legal curricula. Microsoft is focused on advancing Trustworthy Computing by developing innovative technology and policy in five areas: Security, Privacy, Reliability, Business Integrity and Secure Software Engineering.
In addition, Microsoft Research plans to solicit grant proposals in the area of Digital Inclusion, which encompasses an array of efforts aimed at making information technology affordable, accessible and relevant. More details about the External Research and Programs 2005–2006 RFP process and other academic research collaboration opportunities are available at http://research.microsoft.com/ur/us/rfps.
Also today at the Faculty Summit, Microsoft Research announced the nomination process for its 2006 New Faculty Fellowship Program, which recognizes university professors who are in the first three years of their careers and are demonstrating exceptional talent for innovative research in computing. Established a year ago, the program accepts one nominee per university and involves a rigorous, multiround selection process that culminates in the selected finalists presenting their work before a panel of distinguished reviewers from Microsoft Research and the academic community. From there, Microsoft Research selects five New Faculty Fellows who each receive a $200,000 cash award over the course of two years to pursue their research work.
The inaugural group of New Faculty Fellows — Fredo Durand of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Subhash Khot of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dan Klein of the University of California at Berkeley, Radhika Nagpal of Harvard University and Wei Wang of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — are participating in this week’s Faculty Summit and were brought on stage today for special recognition by Gates. They will present summaries of their respective research projects during the conference.
Background information for the 2006 New Faculty Fellowships can be found on the Microsoft Research Web site.