Kevin Schofield - Tour of Microsoft Research, Part I (graphic and developer tool research)

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Description

Last year, you might remember, Kevin Schofield gave us a tour of Microsoft Research that was one of our most popular video series.

So, recently he asked us back over for another tour. How could we turn him down?

This one will be three parts, here's the first.

Here you'll meet researchers who work in graphics and in developer-tool research.

In the graphics segment you meet Turner Whitted (the guy running the meeting) and Sylvain Lefebvre and Hugues Hoppe. Graphics gurus. Hugues is famous for developing technology that's used in many video games.

Then we head downstairs to meet Jim Larus. He is working on technologies for developer tools. Boring stuff, right? But his research will reduce the number of bugs and increase the security in all of our code.

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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Minh

    That's a pretty sweet place in MS to work at. Scoble forgot to ask:

    "What type do you need to be to work at Research? A professor type? An out-of-the-box type? A developer type? What?"

  • User profile image
    rhm
    Interesting stuff with the bug finding tool. Sounds like the old idea of programming by contract, but extending that to stateful interfaces (tranditionally specifications just checked individual invocations).

    On the subject of specifying concurrent systems at a higher level, I believe there is a big future for statecharts. These allow the specification of systems with realistic complexity (as compared their more more simplistic cousin the finite state machine) and are a lot clearer than procedural descriptions.

    On the video front: why have the last few videos been in a wide aspect ratio with black bars at the sides?
  • User profile image
    scobleizer
    Sorry about that. I accidentally switched the mode in the camera and didn't realize it until this week.
  • User profile image
    littleguru
    I heard about students that work with the research... I'm sorry that there is nothing like this here. It would be really great and I would always try to get somehow in contact with the guys.

    I heard that Microsoft is going to open a Lab at Trento, that would be nearby. But I have also read that they do not research in the software sector...

    Sad
  • User profile image
    Charles
    For those who may not understand what the concurrency problem is, click here.

  • User profile image
    scobleizer
    Minh: pretty much most of the researchers at Microsoft have PHd's.
  • User profile image
    kevinsch
    Most of the people in MSR have PhD's. We do hire a small number of software developers to work on prototypes, but those jobs are pretty scarce.

    The Trento center is a collaborative effort with MSR Cambridge and the University of Trento to work on computational biology. It's going to be a small effort focused just on that -- nevertheless we're very excited about it.
  • User profile image
    dantheman82
    Awesome presentation.  Could have hoped for more in the graphics  department...

    Great part on the developer tool research.  Seemed to be a great professor in his day.  Here's his recent research article on Formalizing Counterexample-driven Refinement with Weakest Preconditions.
  • User profile image
    androidi
    What kind of work MS is doing on making it more easy to write more robust code that will make use of the multi-core computers of tomorrow? There's a lot of talk about the pitfalls of concurrency today and the message seems to be that even if you're a C# programmer you have to know a ton of very low level stuff and you still are likely to get it wrong or play (lock) too safe and get no benefits.

    I understand that the C++ compiler has some sort of flag that makes the compiler take use of MP on marked code. It would be great if you could give the compiler a better sense of what your up to and have it figure the best places to lock and what not ..
  • User profile image
    IanG

    Usually I play these Channel 9 videos through at 1.4 times normal speed, using the Media Player 'Play Speed Settings' panel.  But it's not letting me do that here.


    It's also not letting my skip to points in the video - it only seems to support playing through sequentially at normal speed.

    Is this deliberate?  Or did you accidently flip some switch on the encoding process too?

  • User profile image
    Minh
    I think they forgot to index the movie.
  • User profile image
    Charles
    We just need to figure out how to use Scoble's nifty new camera. Sorry about the resolution problems of late. We'll figure it out.

    C

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