Top Minds Explore Evolutionary Horizon Of Disappearing Computers and Bug-free Programs

SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash., July 16, 1999 — Each year, a small assembly of the nation’s leading computer scientists is invited to gather and explore the technologies and special challenges that will spur the evolution of computing. This month, the University of Washington (UW) and Microsoft Research (MSR) continue their tradition of bringing together some of the best minds in academic and industrial computer science research to identify, discuss and solve the technical challenges, problems and barriers facing computer users today.

The UW/MSR Summer Institute will meet July 19-23 to collaborate on this year’s topic, “Technologies of Invisible Computing,” addressing issues and tasks that will bring the benefits of computing to our everyday lives. A second group of participants will meet Aug. 1-6, 1999, to work toward finding solutions in a session titled “Technologies to Improve Software Development.”

“The rich collaboration between Microsoft Research and the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering department has produced many great opportunities such as this to help encourage the development of new areas of computer science research,” said Ed Lazowska, chairman of the UW CS & E department.

Both the university and MSR envision the Summer Institute as an innovative program that will not only help pioneer new and emerging trends, but also ignite ideas across disciplines to broaden the community of researchers working to solve computer science problems. “It’s a model that we hope will assist in technology transfers by helping network great ideas to resources and starting ongoing dialogues between scientists and industry members,” said Dan Ling, director of MSR at Microsoft Corp.

The co-organizers of the institute’s first 1999 session, Turner Whitted of MSR and Gaetano Borriello of UW, see the future of computing including more devices equipped with local intelligence and wireless technologies. Such “smart” technologies, embedded and networked into our environment and appliances, will enable a system to infer a user’s identity and needs automatically and respond accordingly. Said Borriello of the driving vision behind the meeting topic, “People should be spending time doing the things they want to do, not learning arcane and short-lived technology tricks. Technology is ripe for exploring new applications and form factors.”

“We are a bunch of computer scientists and engineers who want to come together to understand the nuts and bolts of what is physically possible in the realm of ubiquitous computing,” Whitted said.

The organizers of the second session, Daniel Weise and James Larus of MSR and David Notkin of UW, will be exploring innovative solutions to utilize tools and technologies supporting the design, construction, analysis, debugging and testing of very large software systems.

“Our goal is to bring together people who have worked on many aspects of computer science, to learn about problems facing real world developers and to facilitate discussions about shared challenges and new approaches,” Larus said.

“In the end, we hope these meetings will serve as a catalyst for ongoing collaborations between managers, developers and scientists to support mutual understanding and help bridge the gap between research and practice,” Notkin said.

The Summer Institute program was created jointly by UW and MSR in 1997 to help bring together leading minds in computer science. The institute aims to apply diverse areas of expertise toward solving some of the most critical technical challenges facing scientists today, identifying new and innovative trends in research, and encouraging the cross-fertilization of ideas and knowledge. The 1997 session of the series focused on issues in data mining. Last year’s meeting tackled some of the possible intersections of intelligence between biological and computer systems. That session resulted in a number of national honors received by University of Washington faculty co-organizer Chris Diorio, and in the development of future coursework curricula to build hardware models to solve some of the interface challenges between “wet” and “wired” systems addressed during the weeklong work sessions.

About the University of Washington

The University of Washington is recognized as one of the nation’s premier research universities, ranking consistently among the top five institutions in annual federal research grants. Among its 3,500 distinguished faculty members there are more than 100 members of national academies and eight MacArthur Foundation Award winners, as well as four Nobel Prize winners in the past decade. The UW department of computer science and engineering, established in 1967, is ranked among the top 10 in the nation for its high caliber of research and teaching.

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. The goal is to develop new technologies to simplify and enhance the experience of computer users, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and facilitate the creation of new types of software. Microsoft Research started with a handful of researchers and has grown steadily to include more than 400 computer scientists and engineers in a wide variety of areas including speech technology, databases, user interface and 3-D graphics.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.


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