Tag Archives: Harry Shum

Microsoft expands artificial intelligence (AI) efforts with creation of new Microsoft AI and Research Group

Computer vision luminary Harry Shum to lead more than 5,000 people worldwide

REDMOND, Washington — Sept. 29, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. announced on Thursday it has formed the Microsoft AI and Research Group, bringing together Microsoft’s world-class research organization with more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers focused on the company’s AI product efforts. The new group will be led by computer vision luminary Harry Shum, a 20-year Microsoft veteran whose career has spanned leadership roles across Microsoft Research and Bing engineering.

Click image for Harry Shum's bio
Click image for Harry Shum’s bio

Microsoft is dedicated to democratizing AI for every person and organization, making it more accessible and valuable to everyone and ultimately enabling new ways to solve some of society’s toughest challenges. Today’s announcement builds on the company’s deep focus on AI and will accelerate the delivery of new capabilities to customers across agents, apps, services and infrastructure.

In addition to Shum’s existing leadership team, several of the company’s engineering leaders and teams will join the newly formed group including Information Platform, Cortana and Bing, and Ambient Computing and Robotics teams led by David Ku, Derrick Connell and Vijay Mital, respectively. All combined, the Microsoft AI and Research Group will encompass AI product engineering, basic and applied research labs, and New Experiences and Technologies (NExT).

“We live in a time when digital technology is transforming our lives, businesses and the world, but also generating an exponential growth in data and information,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences.”

“Microsoft has been working in artificial intelligence since the beginning of Microsoft Research, and yet we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” said Shum, executive vice president of the Microsoft AI and Research Group. “Today’s move signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratizing AI in a way that changes our lives and the world around us for the better. We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organizations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”

Microsoft is taking a four-pronged approach to its initiative to democratize AI:

  • Agents. Harness AI to fundamentally change human and computer interaction through agents such as Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortana
  • Applications. Infuse every application, from the photo app on people’s phones to Skype and Office 365, with intelligence
  • Services. Make these same intelligent capabilities that are infused in Microsoft’s apps —cognitive capabilities such as vision and speech, and machine analytics — available to every application developer in the world
  • Infrastructure. Build the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer with Azure and make it available to anyone, to enable people and organizations to harness its power

More information about this approach can be found here.

For 25 years, Microsoft Research has contributed to advancing the state-of-the-art of computing through its groundbreaking basic and applied research that has been shared openly with the industry and academic communities, and with product groups within Microsoft. The organization has contributed innovative technologies to nearly every product and service Microsoft has produced in this timeframe, from Office and Xbox to HoloLens and Windows. More recently, Shum has expanded the organization’s mission to include the incubation of disruptive technologies and new businesses.

“My job has been to take Microsoft Research, an amazing asset for the company, and make it even more of a value-creation engine for Microsoft and our industry,” Shum said. “Today’s move to bring research and engineering even closer will accelerate our ability to deliver more personal and intelligent computing experiences to people and organizations worldwide.”

The Microsoft AI and Research Group is hiring for positions in its labs and offices worldwide. More information can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/careers/.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition

From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”

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Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.

Invisible revolution GIF

Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.

“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”

WR Engineer award

Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.

In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.

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In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The  brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.

Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.

In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.

Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.

Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.

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And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Microsoft’s Harry Shum discusses Hackathon and TalkEasy, which helps people with hearing impairment

Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Technology and Research Group, says the excitement at last year’s Hackathon inspired him to do his own hack this year.

“I thought about what I want to hack on,” he says. “Very often, great products come from the things that people really care about.”

For the 2015 Hackathon, he was inspired by his father, who is hard of hearing. Shum assembled a team to develop an app called TalkEasy, which transcribes speech into real-time text to help people with hearing loss communicate.

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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