Microsoft Research Head Talks About Google X, Special Projects, Cortana And More

MSR Strategy

Microsoft Research head Peter Lee spoke to Digital Trends and he discussed about the ongoing projects at MSR, people’s perception about Google X and more. Microsoft Research has 1,100 computer scientists, researchers, and engineers in labs all around the world and combining them with over 1,200 PhD student interns every year, it is one of the largest research organization in the world.

When Peter was asked whether he is frustrated by the tech press focusing on Google X than MSR’s work,

“Frustrating is not quite the right word,” Lee told Digital Trends, in an interview ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for MSR’s New York City office. “I like Google X. The people there are good friends of mine. Astro [Teller, “Captain of Moonshots” with Google X] took classes from me at Carnegie Mellon, he’s a great guy doing great stuff. But the missions are different. We want to make things better and ship them. That will always be primary for us. It will be secondary for them.”

When asked about the recently revealed special projects team at MSR, he points out to the above quadrant which describes the projects at MSR. He said that the special project team falls under the Blue Sky category. Apart from special projects, a MSR group work with specific mandates, tasked by senior management to help different business units with something specific. He revealed the Cortana digital assistant related work was done by special request from Steve Ballmer.

Steve Ballmer himself tasked the team with developing a smart voice-recognition system for the Windows Phone platform, although most such collaborative work isn’t tasked from above. In a few areas there is some high-level company directive, he acknowledged. The research staff in Redmond build a feature called Interactive Classifier into Cortana, which allows a small team of non-expert engineers to do continuous evolution of the system.

He said MSR is focusing on “Using machine learning to extract relationships, entities, key ideas being worked on and bring those to the surface in tools. Maybe even digital-assistant tools to make companies more productive and smarter. That’s one area we’re going at.”

Read his full interview from the link below.

Source: Digital Trends