Microsoft Techvista: Goliath strikes back??

Today was a fun day since I decided to attend Microsoft Research - India’s annual symposium TechVista, here in New Delhi.

Well it was quite interesting given Microsoft’s attempts to fight back. Well for first, they had almost all the PhD candidates in India sitting there, plied with coffee and cookies (oooh… Big Company… shiny…). And there were oohs and  aahs for several demos in the  presentation  -  for example PhotoSynth  was demoed  as one of Micrsoft Research’s most shiny newest offering. Well  it was so cool that I could’nt help  oohing and  aahing as well  (shh… my Xubuntu kernel).  But there was one small problem…

errr… Photosynth isnt MSR’s research offering.

Its’ Seadragon‘s.

Oh well, atleast they had the gumption to acquire it - even Scoble agrees… or rather agreed.

But there were some stuff that werent so shiny, but still were the most important and coolest aspects of Microsoft Research - you just had to realize what they were.

In order of my preference they are:

  • SLAM -  I have no *bleep*ing idea what the acronym stands for, but it  is basically a  provable software system infrastructure.


Well remember several people’s ranting and raving about bugs in software? This makes it all go away. Its a safety property prover for Windows Drivers. This is available for production use. Man, that’s so cool, I cant even begin to describe it. Imagine the jump in developer productivity!!

There is also a prover system for system termination - the Terminator project (*cough..cliche…cough*)

Oh and Rick Rashid’s quote that we can store all our live’s conversation’s in 1TB of memory was interesting - I am just interested in what he assumes the average lifespan is and what is the bitrate at which recording should happen (1 min mp3 at 160kbps, 44.1 khz is 1.122 mb roughly. A 60 years lifespan is  31536000 minutes is 28106951 mb - hardly 1TB)

  • The second cool thing was the “open source” HIV software. Bill Gates’ influence at work here (incidentally that reminds me of  Cringeley’s  pointing out of Google’s  entrepreneurial philanthropy - as I like to call it)

  • However the star of the evening’s talk has got to be Arun Jaitley - India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology). Well, let me just say this - he basically put Craig Mundie in a fix by suggesting projects that would put India’s museums and science exhibits on the net - a subtle dig on his demo of a HD quality display of the Seattle waterfront that as the “Hon’ble” Minister put it - “we can have this instead”. Oh and his comment that “Politicians arent too bad wasnt lost on the audience either” - good cause elections are due very soon, because of the India-US partership ruckus.

All in all a very very interesting day - though I missed Dr Michael Kass’ (Pixar, “Ratatouille”) presentation - funny since I thought they used Apple XServe’s and/or Linux!!


Microsoft Techvista: Goliath strikes back??


October 13, 2007

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