Saturday, October 13, 2007
TechVista, Microsoft Research(MSR) India's annual research symposium, was a splendid event held today at New Delhi with focus on "Computing and Technology- Shaping the Future". Six magnificent scientists from diverse technology domains came under one banner to present some of the most marvelous research and developments in computing.
The first session of the event started with a talk by Dr. Rick Rashid, Sr. VP, Microsoft Research. Dr. Rashid's presentation was titled "10 Years into the Future". He started by showing some of the science fiction gadgets which are now real, like the data crystal is now a memory stick. He also displayed the concept of Wallet PC as it was in 1999, which we are using now as Windows Mobile. Rick showcased some of the cutting-edge research projects which would have an impact on the world by 2017. He apprised the advances in ubiquitous I/O and predicted that the standard white boards may soon be replaced by LCD boards. He demonstrated the SkyServer, which is a fabulous astronomy tool enabling you to view space as you view earth from Google Earth or Live Virtual Earth. It also enables you to create video tours of the the space. Other projects demonstrated in the presentation were SenseCam, a virtual black box for humans; Digital Photomontage, a superb tool for photo morping; and a traffic monitoring system in Seattle using data mining for streaming intelligence on mobile devices.
The next speaker at session one was Prof. Eric Grimson of MIT who presented his study on "Computational Applications in Medicine". He showed how image guided surgery could be performed using some advanced computational methods. He explained the construction of structural models using AI. He demonstrated the improvements in MRI technology and Enhanced Reality Visualization.
The last speaker of session one was Prof. Krithi Ramamritham from IIT Bombay. His presentation was "LAB<- ->FIELD : A Challenging Journey". He presented a project named 'AQUA' which is an acronym for 'All QUestions Answered'. It is a project where farmers can get all their questions answered by experts through an online system supported by Government agencies. AQUA features cross lingual info retrieval, suggestive search, offline and mobile versions. Prof. Ramamritham demonstrated how the research at lab went to the field and how the requirements from the field came back to the research labs, which again went to the field and a vicious circle followed.
Session one was followed by a Special Session by Mr. Kapil Sibal, Mr. Craig Mundie, Dr. Rick Rashid and Mr. Srini Koppolu. In this session, Dr. Rahid demonstrated another fabulous software - PhotoSynth, which allows you to create a 3D view from multiple ordinary pictures. Mr. Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation presented some advancements in computing and showed how the computing pendulum is moving towards multicore processors and software+services technologies. Mr Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, appreciated the technologies and suggested how these could be used in public projects in India. Mr. Srini Koppolu, Managing Director, Microsoft IDC gave a small talk about Microsoft in India. This session was followed by PhD poster presentations, where some great research work was presented by Ph.D. fellows.
Session two started with the presentation of Prof. Manuela Veloso, CMU on "Multi-Robot Intelligence". She demonstrated how multi-robots are programmed STP (Skills, Tactics and Plays) Behavioral Architecture. She discussed details about her research project, CMRoboBits. She also gave video demos of the robots which were programmed using some complex algorithms. This was, no doubts, the most exciting presentation of the day.
The next presentation was by Dr. Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President of External Research, Microsoft Research on "The Role of Computing in the Sciences". He demonstrated how advanced computational technologies can solve the problem of data deluge faced by most scientists. He explained that the key steps for information management are data collection; data processing, analysis and visualization; and archiving. He exhibited the use of mashups and eResearch benefiting the scientific community.
The last speaker of the day was Dr. Michael Kass, Senior scientist, Disney/Pixar and technical Academy award winner. His gave presentation on "Pixar's Production Process" and "Clothing Animation at Pixar". He discussed the details of the animation movie production process at Pixar. He then presented Clothing Animation technologies for which he had also won an Oscar.
In the end, MSR presented rewards for the PhD poster presentation. Overall, TechVista was fabulous event showcasing some of the most cutting-edge research and developments.