In his keynote Monday morning, Harry Shum, executive vice president of Technology and Research, laid out the impact of Microsoft Research’s efforts on the company and how it helps define the Next Big Thing. One of the projects he demonstrated show the company’s progress in machine learning and artificial intelligence: Project Adam.
The goal of Project Adam is to enable software to visually recognize any object. It’s a tall order, given the immense neural network in human brains that makes those kinds of associations possible through trillions of connections.
Microsoft resesarcher Trishul Chilimbi works on high performance computing and building large-scale distributed systems. His most recent research with three other colleagues focuses on Project Adam and its object classification, culling a massive dataset of 14 million images from the Web and sites such as Flickr, made up of more than 22,000 categories drawn from user-generated tags.
Using 30 times fewer machines than other systems, that data was used to train a neural network made up of more than two billion connections. This scalable infrastructure is twice more accurate in its object recognition and 50 times faster than other systems.
During his keynote, Shum also talked about how this is a new time for Microsoft with CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft Research plays a key role in that future, making advances in science and driving the innovation in Microsoft’s portfolio. In the last 20 years, he said, Microsoft Research saw most of the big trends coming: mobile phones, tablets, search and cloud. Highlights of the past year include cross-company collaborations and advances in computational economics, predictions that show up in Bing and the Catapult project on programmable hardware in datacenters. Microsoft Research has also played a pivotal role in developing Office Mix and Skype Translator, as well as the new Academic Search with Cortana, the personal digital assistant that comes with Windows Phone 8.1.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald