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Rich Williams: On Computational Ecology and Working at MSR

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Microsoft Research Cambridge turned 10 years old last week. Happy birthday MSRC! I was lucky enough to have been there and was able to conduct several interviews with some of the many unusually intelligent and passionate folks who think about the future of computing and the role computation plays in every aspect of our lives (from new interactive devices that promise to make the business of home life more interesting and less stressful, tools and methodologies that will help Microsoft quickly respond to industry changes (can you say many core?) to understanding, via accurate modeling, incredibly complex biological and ecological systems).

Here, we meet Rich Williams, a Researcher (Computational Ecology) and programmer writing complex modeling algorithms that professional ecologists can use to understand the behavior and dynamics of the systems they study.

Models (or predictive simulations) help real-world scientists get a grasp on complex dynamical systems like ecological systems. Consider all the variables involved in an emergent system with complex interactions between biological and physical/chemical systems... Without computation, understanding ecological systems is not possible. Tune in. Enjoy.

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  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Chadk wrote:
    

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?



    I don't know the gender breakdown, but it seemed to me that there are many more men than women... You will meet one of these women (a mathematician) in an upcoming interview from Cambridge. Computer Science is dominated by males of the species, but this will change over time.
  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    Charles wrote:
    
    Chadk wrote:
    

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?



    I don't know the gender breakdown, but it seemed to me that there are many more men than women... You will meet one of these women (a mathematician) in an upcoming interview from Cambridge. Computer Science is dominated by males of the species, but this will change over time.

    Awesome, im looking forward to that! Cool
  • Jonathan MerriweatherCyonix Me
    Charles wrote:
    
    Chadk wrote:
    

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?



    I don't know the gender breakdown, but it seemed to me that there are many more men than women... You will meet one of these women (a mathematician) in an upcoming interview from Cambridge. Computer Science is dominated by males of the species, but this will change over time.
    Great interviews, are there any videos coming where we "go deep" (white board, demos, etc) with some of the researchers?

    Smiley
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Cyonix wrote:
    
    Charles wrote:
    
    Chadk wrote:
    

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?



    I don't know the gender breakdown, but it seemed to me that there are many more men than women... You will meet one of these women (a mathematician) in an upcoming interview from Cambridge. Computer Science is dominated by males of the species, but this will change over time.
    Great interviews, are there any videos coming where we "go deep" (white board, demos, etc) with some of the researchers?



    Nope.
  • Jonathan MerriweatherCyonix Me
    Charles wrote:
    
    Cyonix wrote:
    
    Charles wrote:
    
    Chadk wrote:
    

    It seems to me like cambridge is where Microsoft puts all the smartest people, but a few of them(Erik Meijer, Anders H, etc).

    How many men vs. women is there, Charles?



    I don't know the gender breakdown, but it seemed to me that there are many more men than women... You will meet one of these women (a mathematician) in an upcoming interview from Cambridge. Computer Science is dominated by males of the species, but this will change over time.
    Great interviews, are there any videos coming where we "go deep" (white board, demos, etc) with some of the researchers?



    Nope.
    I guess it would be hard to do that sort of thing without exposing company secrets..

    Great videos regardless Smiley
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Well, it was more of a time thing. These interviews are all high level, but you will see researchers at the white board in the future. We love MSR and plan on spending more time with our in-house academics Smiley

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