Microsoft researchers look back at 2012

A view from Microsoft’s NERD research center.
A view from Microsoft’s NERD research center. –Adam Hunger for The Boston Globe

As 2012 wraps up, the folks at Microsoft Research New England, housed right on the 11th floor of Microsoft’s CambridgeNERDCenter, took a second to look back at what they’ve accomplished over the past year, and they’ve been pretty busy.

Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft Research New England, writes that the center has continued beefing up the Social Media Collective, adding Nancy Baym, Kate Crawford, and Mary Gray to the roster in addition to the already-pioneering Danah Boyd. Over the past year, the collective has paid particular focus to youth and marginalized populations.

Other highlights include:

— Hosting New England Machine Learning Day and boosting the group’s machine-learning focus under the leadership of Sham Kakade and Adam Kalai.


— Welcoming 350 outside academic visitors to further explore topics from health-care economics to cloud computing.

— A whole slew of awards.

That 350 number really struck me: It seems rare that an evening goes by without some worthwhile event — a hackathons, speaker, or demo night — happening at NERD, and the amount of high-profile visitors the center brings in not only benefits Microsoft, but the whole community., particularly given how open the doors of the center have been. It’s interesting to see how many more high-profile visitors, above and beyond those meetups, Microsoft Research New England brings in to work directly with its researchers.

Microsoft Research also posted a wrap-up of wrap-ups if you’re wondering what they’ve been up to across the world.

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