Microsoft to Open Research Center near MIT
Microsoft Corporation announced the opening of a sixth research lab in Cambridge, Mass. The new lab, which will open in July, continues the company's dedication to theoretical research, which has increased eightfold since 1997. The Boston area lab is to bring experts in computers and social science together in new interdisciplinary areas of research.
"Microsoft Research New England will create additional opportunities for researchers to pursue their passions in the Cambridge area, one of the world's foremost centers of innovation, setting the stage for new discoveries and scientific breakthroughs," said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research.
Veteran Microsoft researcher Jennifer Tour Chayes has been appointed the managing director of the new lab, the first woman appointed to lead one of Microsoft's international research labs.
"I hope my new role will serve as an inspiration for other women in scientific fields, and particularly for young girls who may be interested in math and science. I want to show them that math and science are cool, that research is creative and exciting, and that there is a path for women in technical fields at companies like Microsoft," Chayes said.
Besides her longtime work at Microsoft, she has also been a professor at the University of Washington and the University of California, Los Angeles. The research center will be located in offices near MIT.
Microsoft already has similar labs set up in Redmond, Wash.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. Microsoft Research was founded in 1991 and its labs are virtually the only expanding corporate theoretical research labs besides those of Google Inc.
This was also remarked by Venkatesh Narayanamurti, dean of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who said most companies, and even government organizations, are shrinking or eliminating these kinds of risky investments, "Microsoft's ongoing commitment to basic research makes it a notable exception."
Nokia, MIT to Open Research Center
Nokia will open a research center near the MIT campus in January to study new areas for mobile technology, the company said on Thursday. The center would be a partnership with the university's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
"For Nokia, this is a fresh approach to our research collaboration with universities," said Dr. Bob Iannucci, head of Nokia Research Center. "Bringing together the collective expertise of MIT and Nokia in mobile computing and communications provides a vehicle for rapidly generating new concepts and bringing innovations to the marketplace on a large scale."
The company says much of the work done by the new research center will center around making handheld wireless devices part of an "ecosystem" of information and services. Work will also be done on interfaces and platforms, and to make devices more intuitive.
In total, 20 researchers from both MIT and Nokia will staff the center. Dr. James Hicks will head the MIT office. Nokia has wasted no time putting the researchers to work; five projects have already been planned.
CSAIL says this partnership with Nokia is different from other industry-university alliances. "The joint laboratory with Nokia will bring a dynamic group of scientists into close physical proximity in an open, creative and dynamic environment," Professor Rodney Brooks, director of CSAIL, said in a statement.
The partnership is not the first time the two groups have worked together. Nokia and MIT also join up for the Oxygen Alliance, a project aimed at creating new types of computers.