Microsoft Research Asia Day Highlights Regional Academic Collaboration as Key to Future Innovation

, October 17, 2002, BEIJING — Microsoft Research Asia (MSR Asia) today held an open day for Chinese and international media to showcase its research progress and achievements during the past four years. Senior Vice President Rick Rashid highlighted MSR Asia’s collaboration with universities and scientific organizations in Asia to build a regional software ecosystem to help advance the state-of-the-art in computer science research. Ya-Qin Zhang, Managing Director of MSR Asia also announced, in collaboration with Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a joint high-tech initiative for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to conduct critical technology research and development programs to support the Games of the 29th Olympiad.

“Technology innovation is Asia’s main engine of economic, scientific and social development and collaboration between industry and academia is crucial to deliver on our shared vision for the future of technology and education,” said Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President of Microsoft Research. “Microsoft remains committed to deepening its relationship with the academic and scientific community in Asia, because only by working together can we create the next generation of computing technology.”

Ya-Qin Zhang announced that MSR Asia and Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on October 18 to jointly support critical technology research projects for Beijing’s ‘Digital Olympics’ in 2008. The collaboration combines MSR Asia’s cutting edge technologies in digital media, wireless and networking, together with BUAA’s research specialization in virtual reality.

“I am delighted that MSR Asia and Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics will collaborate on the Digital Olympics Key Technology Research Project for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” said Li Wei, President of BUAA. “This initiative will showcase China’s scientific and technological achievements in computer science.”

Also at MSR Asia Day, Ya-Qin Zhang demonstrated innovative technologies coming out of academic research at MSR Asia, such as digital ink and handwriting recognition technologies, ‘Mulan’ bi-lingual test-to-speech applications, graphics morphing and other computer graphics techniques, SMART video streaming over wireless and IP networks, and ProFITS service architecture that enables seamless, personalized, and intelligent continuous web services for mobile users across wireless networks.

MSR Asia Day is held one day ahead of Microsoft’s “21st Century Computing Event” which has attracted over 2,000 faculty researchers from leading institutions worldwide. Academics will present their latest research projects and findings during breakout sessions, and view presentations and demonstrations from Microsoft that highlight the company’s current research and products in development.

“With the current economic environment, innovation is critical for long-term growth,” said Ya-Qin Zhang. “At MSR Asia, we are focused on conducting fundamental computer science research that will have implications in 5, maybe 10 years time. We’re trying to extend human capabilities, breaking down the barriers between people and computers to allow computers to augment what people can do to enhance their lives in a more direct way. MSR Asia aims to make computers really usable in ways that they haven’t been before.”

MSR Asia has established a number of programs to support basic research of local academia and foster alliance with universities and industry in China and other Asian countries:

  • Joint research labs with 4 Chinese universities – Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Harbin Institute of Technology, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Through MSR Asia’s collaboration with Tsinghua University, the Chinese government-accredited Post-doc Centre in Computer Science helps train the best minds for Chinese academia and IT industry. MSR Asia is the first foreign company independently granted such a status.

  • A software donation program with a value of US$5 million to support teaching and research of 15 Chinese universities.

  • An MSR Asia internship program, which has employed more than 200 computer science and electrical engineering Ph.D. candidates from China, Canada, U.S., Japan and Europe.

  • A fellowship program designed to enrich Chinese Ph.D. studies by offering a monthly stipend, summer internship opportunities, and an annual trip to an international conference. To date, there are 59 recipients of Microsoft Fellowships awarded to the best students in over 25 universities and research institutes.

  • An exchange program that sends 30 MSR Asia researchers to universities as honorary guest professors to collaborate with professors and supervise Ph.D. students in China.

  • A joint research funding program with the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC), to support long-term basic research in the field of applied mathematics, computer science and electrical engineering.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Sydney and MSR Asia signed in December 2001, which provides a framework for a wide variety of research exchange programs including the opportunity for Australian students to undertake a six month internship at MSR Asia.

  • A joint research program with Tokyo University established in March 2002, that provides a collaborative framework for the two organizations to conduct close academic exchanges and perform joint research projects of mutual interests and benefits.

  • In June 2002, Microsoft signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to implement the Great Wall Plan to promote education and basic research in computer science in the Chinese universities. Under the agreement, Microsoft is committed to providing investment, sponsorship and donation totaling 200 million RMB in the coming three years to the universities.

About Microsoft Research Asia

Founded in 1998, MSR Asia is Microsoft Corp.’s main research lab in the Asia Pacific region. Its goal is to attract the most talented researchers in the field of computing and become of the best computer science laboratories in the world. With four years’ development, MSR Asia has about 100 full-time research scientists, who have published over 500 papers in top international journals and conferences. To date over 500 MSR Asia papers have been published. In the coming months and years, MSR Asia work in areas such as speech and language technologies, Asian-language input, wireless computing, and graphics is expected to make its way into a wide variety of Microsoft products. About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

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