Microsoft opens New England research lab

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Microsoft opens New England research lab

Microsoft Research has announced plans to open a new lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts in July.

The lab will be the company's sixth research centre and its first on the east coast of the US.

The lab will enable Microsoft Research to interact with the large community of scientists in New England, notably the faculty and students at the area's many academic institutions.

It will also provide researchers with the opportunity to interact with people in Microsoft's incubation centres and newly acquired companies in the region.

"Every time the doors of a new basic research facility open, new avenues for research, collaboration and innovation also open up," said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research.

"Microsoft Research New England will create additional opportunities for researchers to pursue their passions in one of the world's foremost centres of innovation, setting the stage for new discoveries and scientific breakthroughs. "

Rashid also announced that veteran Microsoft researcher Jennifer Tour Chayes has been appointed managing director of the new facility.

Chayes is the first woman appointed to lead one of Microsoft's international research labs.

She has extensive experience leading research teams at Microsoft in core areas of computer science, and is a professor at the University of Washington and University of California, Los Angeles.

The New England lab will focus initially on two key areas: core computer science, especially more algorithmically oriented areas; and social sciences, with a particular emphasis on building connections between these two areas.

Research initiatives will use social sciences to understand what people want to do in the online world, as well as develop theoretical computer science to devise algorithms to make that happen, and to add aesthetics and functionality to the process.

The possibilities range from enhanced online social networks to new types of applications such as filter engines and new business models for fraud-resistant monetisation of online activities.

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