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Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research
Founded1991; 33 years ago (1991)
Key people
SubsidiariesHavok Group
Employees (in 2016)

Microsoft Research (MSR) is the research subsidiary of Microsoft. It was created in 1991 by Richard Rashid,[2] Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold with the intent to advance state-of-the-art computing and solve difficult world problems through technological innovation in collaboration with academic, government, and industry researchers. The Microsoft Research team has more than 1,000 computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and mathematicians, including Turing Award winners,[3] Fields Medal winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Dijkstra Prize winners.

Between 2010 and 2018, 154,000 AI patents were filed worldwide, with Microsoft having by far the largest percentage of those patents, at 20%.[4] According to estimates in trade publications, Microsoft spent about $6 billion annually in research initiatives from 2002 to 2010 and has spent from $10–14 billion annually since 2010.[5][6]

Microsoft Research has made significant advances in the field of AI which it has infused in its products including Kinect, Bing, Holo Lens, Cortana, Microsoft Translator, Linkedin, Havok and Dynamics to provide its customers with more benefits and better service.[5]

The mission statement of MSR is:

  1. Expand the state of the art in each of the areas in which we do research
  2. Rapidly transfer innovative technologies into Microsoft products
  3. Ensure that Microsoft products have a future

Key people

Microsoft Research includes the core Microsoft Research labs and Microsoft Research AI, Microsoft Research NExT (for New Experiences and Technologies), and other incubation efforts all directed by corporate vice president Peter Lee.

Research areas

Microsoft research is categorized into the following broad areas:[7]

Microsoft Research sponsors the Microsoft Research Fellowship for graduate students.

Research laboratories

Microsoft has research labs around the world including the following non-exhaustive list:[9]

Microsoft Research Redmond
Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing
Microsoft Research Cambridge
Microsoft Research Bangalore
  • Microsoft Research Redmond was founded on the Microsoft Redmond campus in 1991. It has about 350 researchers and is headed by Donald Kossmann. The bulk of research on the Redmond, Washington campus focuses on areas such as theory, artificial intelligence, machine learning, systems and networking, security, privacy, human–computer interaction, and wearable technologies.[citation needed]
  • Microsoft Research Cambridge was founded in the United Kingdom in 1997 by Roger Needham and is headed by Christopher Bishop. Antony Rowstron and Abigail Sellen are Deputy Directors. The lab conducts research on topics including machine learning, security and information retrieval, and maintains close ties to the University of Cambridge and the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.[citation needed]
  • Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA or MSR Asia) was founded in Beijing in November 1998. It has expanded rapidly and now has more than 300 researchers and developers, along with approximately 300 visiting scientists and students (including its new satellite office in Shanghai). Its focus includes natural user interfaces, multimedia, data-intensive computing, search and online advertising, natural language processing, and computer science fundamentals.[10] This lab forms part of the Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group (ARD) R&D center, which also has campuses in Suzhou, Shenzhen, Tokyo, and Taipei.[11]
  • Microsoft Research India is sited in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and is headed by Sriram Rajamani.[12]
  • Microsoft Research Station Q, on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was founded in 2006.[13] Its collaborators explore theoretical and experimental approaches to creating the quantum analog of the traditional bit—the qubit. The group is led by Michael Freedman.[14] Its Quantum Architectures and Computation (QuARC) group is based in Redmond,[15] while other Station Q satellite locations exist on the campuses of Delft University of Technology, Purdue University, University of Copenhagen, and University of Sydney.[16]
  • Microsoft Research New England was established in 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts adjacent to the MIT campus by Jennifer Chayes who also managed the New York and Montreal labs. The lab is now managed by Susan Dumais. The lab collaborates with the broader research community and pursues interdisciplinary research that brings together computer scientists and social scientists to develop future applications.[17]
  • Microsoft Research New York City was established on May 3, 2012. Susan Dumais serves as Managing Director of this location as well as the New England and Montreal labs. The lab collaborates with academia and other Microsoft Research labs in computational and behavioral social sciences, computational economics and prediction markets, machine learning, and information retrieval.[18]
  • Microsoft Research Montreal was established after the acquisition of Maluuba by Microsoft in 2017. Susan Dumais serves as Managing Director of this location as well as the New England and New York City labs. The lab collaborates with academia and other Microsoft Research labs in natural language processing (specifically machine reading comprehension), deep learning and reinforcement learning.[19]
  • Gray Systems Lab, in Madison, Wisconsin. Named after Jim Gray, GSL opened in 2008 to research database technologies.[20]

Former research laboratories


Microsoft Research invests in multi-year collaborative joint research with academic institutions at Barcelona Supercomputing Center,[22] INRIA,[23] Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the Microsoft Research Centre for Social NUI and others.[24][25]

Since 2016, Microsoft has partnered with Toyota Connected to research technology for telematics, data analytics and network security services.[26]

In October 2019, Microsoft partnered with Novartis to apply artificial intelligence to enhance personalized medicineresearch.[27] Novartis and Microsoft join forces to develop drugs using AI [28]

In 2023, Microsoft signed a multi-year deal to collaborate with Syneos Health in development of a platform to leverage machine learning for the optimization of clinical trials.[29]

AI for Good

Microsoft's "AI for Good" initiative represents a significant commitment to leveraging artificial intelligence technology for social and environmental benefits. This initiative is part of a broader vision by Microsoft to utilize AI in addressing some of the world's most challenging issues, including those related to health, the environment, accessibility, cultural heritage, and humanitarian action.[30] AI for Good includes topics like Microsoft AI for Earth.

See also


  1. ^ Dina Bass, Jack Clark (25 January 2016). "How Microsoft plans to beat Google and Facebook to the Next Tech Breakthrough". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Rick Rashid: Emeritus Researcher". Microsoft.
  3. ^ McCraken, Harry (13 February 2019). "Still Boldly Going". Fast Company.
  4. ^ Louis Columbus, January 6, 2019 Microsoft Leads The AI Patent Race Going Into 2019, Forbes
  5. ^ a b "Microsoft research and development expenses". Notesmatic. 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ Togyer, Jason (7 August 2009). "Still Boldly Going". CMU.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Research – Emerging Technology, Computer, and Software Research". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Microsoft wants to 'read people's brain waves' to mine cryptocurrency". 24 April 2020. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  9. ^ "About Research at Microsoft – Microsoft Research". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 11 December 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  10. ^ "关于研究院 - 微软亚洲研究院".
  11. ^ "Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group". Microsoft.
  12. ^ "About Research at Microsoft – Microsoft Research". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 11 December 2016.
  13. ^ Markoff, John (23 June 2014). "Microsoft Makes Bet Quantum Computing Is Next Breakthrough". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Fabinger, Michal; Freedman, Michael H.; Weyl, E. Glen (2022). "Prospecting a Possible Quadratic Wormhole Between Quantum Mechanics and Plurality". arXiv:2209.08144 [econ.TH].
  15. ^ "Station Q: the Quest for a Quantum Future". Microsoft. 24 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Microsoft's Station Q Sydney investment intensifies global effort to build a quantum economy". Microsoft Australia.
  17. ^ "Microsoft Research New England". Microsoft.
  18. ^ "Microsoft Research New York". Microsoft. 16 November 2023.
  19. ^ "Microsoft Research Montreal". Microsoft.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Class of 18th September 2014". MSR Silicon Valley. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  22. ^ "BSC-Microsoft Research Centre - BSC-Microsoft Research Centre". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Microsoft Research Inria Joint Centre". Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Academic Programs - Microsoft Research". Archived from the original on 14 December 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Microsoft India Development Center - MSIDC".
  26. ^ Lippert, John (4 April 2016). "Toyota, Microsoft Team Up on Connected-Car Technologies". Bloomberg.
  27. ^ Neville, Sarah (1 October 2019). ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  28. ^ Waters, Richard; Neville, Sarah (October 2019). "Novartis and Microsoft join forces to develop drugs using AI". Financial Times.>
  29. ^ Keenan, Joseph (20 March 2023). "Syneos in AI-focused pact with Microsoft to speed up trials". Fierce Biotech.
  30. ^ "Using AI for Good with Microsoft AI". Microsoft. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
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Microsoft Research
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