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Meet your 2018 Imagine Cup champions – smartARM of Canada!

Satya Nadella with the smartARM team, 2018 Imagine Cup winners, and Chloe Kim, special guest and Olympic snowboarding gold medalist.
Satya Nadella with smartARM team members, the 2018 Imagine Cup World Champions, along with Chloe Kim, special guest and Olympic snowboarding gold medalist.

At its heart, the Imagine Cup is all about bringing students together from across the globe, inspiring them to usher in our collective future using cloud-based technologies of today and tomorrow, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, mixed reality and more. Since its inception 16 years ago, the Imagine Cup has motivated nearly 2 million students from over 190 countries around the world to bring their biggest, boldest ideas to life.

Today, we are excited to announce smartARM of Canada as the 2018 Imagine Cup champions! smartARM created a robotic hand prosthetic, using Microsoft Azure Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Cloud Storage, that uses a camera embedded in its palm to recognize objects and calculate the most appropriate grip for an object. Based on machine learning, the more the model is used, the more accurate it becomes.  As the victors, smartARM wins a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, $85,000 in cash and a $50,000 Azure grant. Team iCry2Talk of Greece earned second place with a low-cost and non-invasive intelligent interface between infant and parent that translates in real time the baby’s cry, and associates it with a specific physiological and psychological state, depicting the result in a text, image and voice message. Third place went to Team Mediated Ear of Japan for its project, Mediated Ear, software for hearing-impaired individuals to focus on a specific speaker among a multitude of conversations. Mediated Ear can relay specific sounds in audio waveforms through deep learning.

For the winners, and for their competitors, the road to the World Finals started with a single idea on how to change the world through innovative use of technology. Tens of thousands of students walked this road, spending months coding their solutions and dreaming up go-to-market plans to bring their ideas to life. From there, and through fierce competition at the national and regional level, 49 teams from 33 countries were selected to compete in the World Finals.

This year, we’ve added special Imagine Cup awards of $15,000 for three key areas of digital transformation: AI, big data and mixed reality. On Tuesday, we crowned the winners. SochWare from Nepal, won the AI award for designing a solution to help farmers identify plant diseases, suggest mitigation strategies, connect with experts and get updated with recent agriculture findings. Drugsafe from India won the big data award for their solution to validate genuine drugs and decrease illness from counterfeit substances. Pengram from the United States won the mixed reality award for allowing engineers from around the world to be holographically “teleported” into a workspace when needed.

The 2018 winners emerged from a strong field of competitors featuring projects that utilized leading-edge cloud technologies with the promise of improving the way we live and work. Throughout it all, the next generation of innovators put their creativity on display in addressing some of humanity’s most pressing issues.

This year’s participants weren’t just developing unique and potentially game-changing technology experiences, but they are also actively sharpening the skills that will boost their success as developers, technologists and entrepreneurs for the next generation. They follow in the footsteps of a long line of dreamers driven to succeed. For example, 2017 year Imagine Cup alumni Declan Goncalves of Canada was featured in Betakit’s “Canada’s Developer 30 Under 30” list for developing a platform which allows medical practitioners to better quantify their patient’s progress and detect neurodegenerative disease onset with the help of AI. Another alumni team, Kobojo, began their journey making Facebook games at Imagine Cup 2008 and has since raised $6 million in venture capital for their startup.

I’d like to thank this year’s championship judges: Co-founder and COO of Bitnami, Erica Brescia; CEO of Glitch, Anil Dash;, and Microsoft’s own Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Microsoft. Special thanks also to Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Azure Compute Corey Sanders, who hosted the championship and announced this year’s winner. Last but certainly not least, on behalf of Microsoft, I’d like to congratulate our new Imagine Cup champion, team smartARM, and all of the students who worked so hard to make this 16th anniversary Imagine Cup the most inspiring one yet. If you haven’t had a chance, be sure to view the championship video above to see some of the best student developers in the world envision a brighter, bolder future for us all.

— Charlotte

P.S. Follow me on Twitter for updates on Imagine Cup and other news and noteworthy information in the cloud and ecosystem space.

The post Meet your 2018 Imagine Cup champions – smartARM of Canada! appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

New team assembled to unlock the innovation potential in healthcare data

Peter Lee, Joshua Mandel and Jim Weinstein
From left, Peter Lee, Joshua Mandel and Jim Weinstein of Microsoft Healthcare. Photo: Dan DeLong for Microsoft

It’s an exciting time to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with our healthcare partners and customers, who represent some of the brightest minds in this important industry. We have been approaching the complexities of the healthcare industry with a growth mindset, and for the past two years our team has worked across Microsoft to accelerate healthcare innovation through artificial intelligence and cloud computing, with our initiative Healthcare NExT (New Experiences and Technologies). We shared some updates earlier this year on our work in cloud architectures, empowering clinicians and care teams, and precision medicine, and I’ve been thrilled to see the progress and reaction across the industry.

Today we are building on that progress. I’m very pleased to welcome two prominent experts in the science, technology and practice of value-based healthcare to the team. Jim Weinstein and Josh Mandel will be joining Microsoft Healthcare – which integrates Healthcare NExT and its research-driven efforts – with an added focus of creating strategic partnerships, and driving the cross-company strategy for healthcare and life sciences.

Jim Weinstein, Vice President, Microsoft Healthcare, Head of Innovation and Health Equity

Jim Weinstein will work closely with organizations on the front lines of healthcare delivery as we aim to support health systems, empower clinicians and enable the systems of care as they move to the cloud. He will be my partner in developing the strategic vision for Microsoft Healthcare, and will provide leadership that is grounded in decades of health industry experience. A widely respected visionary, author, surgeon and leader in the future of healthcare delivery who has advised three administrations on healthcare policy, Jim most recently served as CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system, and is the past director of the Dartmouth Institute, home of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. Jim is also the co-founder and inaugural executive director of the national High Value Healthcare Collaborative, which brings together some of the nation’s top healthcare systems to share data, develop insights and advance the causes of better healthcare outcomes. He recently chaired the “Communities in Action, Pathways to Health Equity” report for the National Academy of Medicine. His book “Unraveled” looks at the broken healthcare system and how it might be repaired with patient-based clinical insights.

Joshua Mandel, Chief Architect, Microsoft Healthcare

Joshua Mandel will work closely with customers, partners and the open standards community to lay the groundwork for an open cloud architecture to unlock the value of healthcare for the entire health ecosystem. As a tireless evangelist for the importance of open standards, Josh will continue his work to help systems across the industry become more agile and interoperable. Josh’s impressive background as a physician and brilliant software architect has set him apart as a leader in the development of next-generation standards for healthcare data interoperability.  In his most recent role, Josh led the health IT ecosystem work at Verily (Google Life Sciences). He is a member of the research faculty at the Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program where he served as lead architect for SMART Health IT, and is a visiting scientist at the Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics. Josh earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his M.D. from Tufts University of Medicine.

Jim and Josh join us at an exciting time, as healthcare processes undergo a digital transformation. This transformation has created a wealth of healthcare data that has potential to help identify diseases earlier, create and improve treatments and improve the lives of patients across the globe. Unfortunately, even with advances in data protection and governance, healthcare data is not easily accessible by the researchers and doctors who need it to help us all realize the potential. And so, for a variety of regulatory, technological and political reasons, we see what is called the “health data funnel,” which holds back the case of scalable innovation in healthcare.

At Microsoft, we’re confident that many aspects of the IT foundations for healthcare will move from on-premise doctors’ offices and clinics to live in the cloud. We ask the questions: Can we take advantage of this huge sea change in healthcare to unlock the innovation potential in healthcare data? Can we work as a community to ensure that we don’t simply re-create the same data silos that we have today?

We think that together, we can solve these problems. We are taking concrete steps with an initial “blueprint” intended to standardize the process for the compliant, privacy-preserving movement of a patient’s personal health information to the cloud and the automated tracking of its exposure to machine learning and data science, for example to support external audit. This is a small first step, but progress toward an open architecture that ultimately will benefit doctors, nurses and clinicians in how they interact with patients, and also allow more time for patients to spend face-to-face with their care providers. It also opens up research opportunities for this data to be shared, and to be done under the same compliance and regulatory standards which protect your health data today; all with the goal of leading to advancements in medical science.

We have our work cut out for us but know that we have the right team in place. We’re looking forward to sharing more later this year about what we’re doing to help unlock the power of healthcare data and create opportunities for the entire health ecosystem.

The post New team assembled to unlock the innovation potential in healthcare data appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

It’s almost time! Imagine Cup 2018 Championship judges and special guest announced

Last October, I announced the 16th annual Imagine Cup competition, which gives college and university students the opportunity to test their intellectual, creative and teamwork skills while using technology to change the world. Forty-nine teams who have won their National Finals are now well underway in getting their solutions ready to compete at the World Finals, which will be held July 23-25 at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Last year, dozens of teams from nearly 40 countries were present at the World Finals, and this year is setting up to be just as exciting and diverse!

I love overseeing the Imagine Cup because it lets me interact with inspiring talent shaping the future and get to know incredible people along the way. Microsoft cares deeply about fostering careers in STEM, and I can’t think of a better way to give students the opportunity to take an idea from concept to completion, while also helping them acquire marketable skills they’ll be able to use throughout their careers. The work that comes out of Imagine Cup is innovative and life-changing — and often turns into full-fledged products!

Mug shot of Corey Sanders
Corey Sanders

This year’s Imagine Cup host is Corey Sanders, the corporate vice president for Azure Compute.

Corey’s no stranger to innovation — he holds four patents and was the creator of the Infrastructure-as-a-service offering for Azure.

Mug shot of Kate Yeager
Kate Yeager

And, last year’s emcee, Kate Yeager, is making a return appearance to call the action.

Judging the Imagine Cup is a big task, but this year’s judges are up for the challenge — all bringing a unique aspect of thought leadership to the table. The panel includes:

Mug shot of Peggy Johnson
Peggy Johnson

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, who started her career as an engineer and found her way into business development, merging her technical expertise and business savvy to become Microsoft’s “chief dealmaker.”

Mug shot of Anil Dash
Anil Dash

_ CEO of GlitchAnil Dash, who oversees the popular creative community for coders, and whose work as an entrepreneur, activist and writer reckons with the way technology transforms society, media and culture.

Erica Brescia
Erica Brescia

_ Co-founder and COO of Bitnami, Erica Brescia, an entrepreneur through-and-through with a “get it done” approach, she’s also an active investor via X Factor Ventures, funding amazing women founding extraordinary companies.

At the Imagine Cup Finals, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be in conversation with special guest Chloe Kim, the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal when she won the gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at age 17! Chloe is an outstanding example of a young person at the top of her game, much like the Imagine Cup participants are at the top of theirs.

Photo of Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim. Photo credit: Peter Morning

This year’s prize value of cash, travel and Azure credits totals more than $700,000, in addition to a mentoring session with Satya. Artificial intelligence, big data and mixed reality have special award prizes as well.

Want to see which team has the winning solution? You can watch the championship via live stream at ImagineCup.com at 9 a.m. PT, Wednesday, July 25.

I’m so excited to see what these remarkable students create this year. They are only bound by imagination, and as we’ve seen year after year, when given the opportunity to follow their imaginations, people can change the world.

P.S. Follow me on Twitter for updates on Imagine Cup and other news and noteworthy information in the cloud and ecosystem space.

The post It’s almost time! Imagine Cup 2018 Championship judges and special guest announced appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft to acquire Bonsai in move to build ‘brains’ for autonomous systems

Group shot of Bonsai's team members
Bonsai’s team members. Photo courtesy of Bonsai.

With AI’s meteoric rise, autonomous systems have been projected to grow to more than 800 million in operation by 2025. However, while envisioned in science fiction for a long time, truly intelligent autonomous systems are still elusive and remain a holy grail. The reality today is that training autonomous systems that function amidst the many unforeseen situations in the real world is very hard and requires deep expertise in AI — essentially making it unscalable.

To achieve this inflection point in AI’s growth, traditional machine learning methodologies aren’t enough. Bringing intelligence to autonomous systems at scale will require a unique combination of the new practice of machine teaching, advances in deep reinforcement learning and leveraging simulation for training. Microsoft has been on a path to make this a reality through continued AI research breakthroughs; the development of the powerful Azure AI platform of tools, services and infrastructure; advances in deep learning including our acquisition of Maluuba, and the impressive efficiencies we’ve achieved in simulation-based training with Microsoft Research’s AirSim tool. With software developers at the center of digital transformation, our pending acquisition of GitHub further underscores just how imperative it is that we empower developers to break  through and lead this next wave of innovation.

Today we are excited to take another major step forward in our vision to make it easier for developers and subject matter experts to build the “brains”— machine learning modelfor autonomous systems of all kinds with the signing of an agreement to acquire Bonsai. Based in Berkeley, California, and an M12 portfolio company, Bonsai has developed a novel approach using machine teaching that abstracts the low-level mechanics of machine learning, so that subject matter experts, regardless of AI aptitude, can specify and train autonomous systems to accomplish tasks. The actual training takes place inside a simulated environment.

The company is building a general-purpose, deep reinforcement learning platform especially suited for enterprises leveraging industrial control systems such as robotics, energy, HVAC, manufacturing and autonomous systems in general. This includes unique machine-teaching innovations, automated model generation and management, a host of APIs and SDKs for simulator integration, as well as pre-built support for leading simulations all packaged in one end-to-end platform.

Bonsai’s platform combined with rich simulation tools and reinforcement learning work in Microsoft Research becomes the simplest and richest AI toolchain for building any kind of autonomous system for control and calibration tasks. This toolchain will compose with Azure Machine Learning running on the Azure Cloud with GPUs and Brainwave, and models built with it will be deployed and managed in Azure IoT, giving Microsoft an end-to-end solution for building, operating and enhancing “brains” for autonomous systems.

What I find exciting is that Bonsai has achieved some remarkable breakthroughs with their approach that will have a profound impact on AI development. Last fall, they established a new reinforcement learning benchmark for programming industrial control systems. Using a robotics task to demonstrate the achievement, the platform successfully trained a simulated robotic arm to grasp and stack blocks on top of one another by breaking down the task into simpler sub-concepts. Their novel technique performed 45 times faster than a comparable approach from Google’s DeepMind. Then, earlier this year, they extended deep reinforcement learning’s capabilities beyond traditional game play, where it’s often demonstrated, to real-world applications. Using Bonsai’s AI Platform and machine teaching, subject matter experts from Siemens, with no AI expertise, trained an AI model to autocalibrate a Computer Numerical Control machine 30 times faster than the traditional approach. This represented a huge milestone in industrial AI, and the implications when considered across the broader sector are just staggering.

To realize this vision of making AI more accessible and valuable for all, we have to remove the barriers to development, empowering every developer, regardless of machine learning expertise, to be an AI developer. Bonsai has made tremendous progress here and Microsoft remains committed to furthering this work. We already deliver the most comprehensive collection of AI tools and services that make it easier for any developer to code and integrate pre-built and custom AI capabilities into applications and extend to any scenario. There are over a million developers using our pre-built Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of intelligent APIs that enable developers to easily leverage high-quality vision, speech, language, search and knowledge technologies in their apps with a few lines of code. And last fall, we led a combined industry push to foster a more open AI ecosystem, bringing AI advances to all developers, on any platform, using any language through the introduction of the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX) format and Gluon open source interface for deep learning.

We’re really confident this unique marriage of research, novel approach and technology will have a tremendous effect toward removing barriers and accelerating the current state of AI development. We look forward to having Bonsai and their team join us to help realize this collective vision.

The post Microsoft to acquire Bonsai in move to build ‘brains’ for autonomous systems appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft + GitHub = Empowering Developers

Today, we announced an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform. I want to share what this acquisition will mean for our industry and for developers.

The era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge is upon us. Computing is becoming embedded in the world, with every part of our daily life and work and every aspect of our society and economy being transformed by digital technology.

Developers are the builders of this new era, writing the world’s code. And GitHub is their home.

As every industry – from precision medicine to precision agriculture, from personalized education to personalized banking – is being impacted by technology, the developer community will only grow in numbers and importance. Developer workflows will drive and influence business processes and functions across the organization – from marketing, sales and service, to IT and HR. And value creation and growth across every industry will increasingly be determined by the choices developers make.

In short, developers will be at the center of solving the world’s most pressing challenges. However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other’s work. In all walks of life, we see the power of communities, and this is true for software development and developers.

That is why we are so excited about today’s announcement. More than 28 million developers already collaborate on GitHub, and it is home to more than 85 million code repositories used by people in nearly every country. From the largest corporations to the smallest startups, GitHub is the destination for developers to learn, share and work together to create software. It’s a destination for Microsoft too. We are the most active organization on GitHub, with more than 2 million “commits,” or updates, made to projects.

Microsoft has been a developer-focused company from the very first product we created to the platforms and tools we offer today. Building technology so that others can build technology is core to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Chris Wanstrath (left), Github CEO and co-founder; Nat Friedman, Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Services; Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO; and Amy Hood, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer.

Microsoft is also committed to empowering communities, from the world’s professionals to IT professionals to gamers. We believe in the power of communities to achieve much more than what their members can do on their own. It’s our ability to work together that helps our dreams become reality, and we are dedicated to cultivating and growing communities to do just that.

And Microsoft is all-in on open source. We have been on a journey with open source, and today we are active in the open source ecosystem, we contribute to open source projects, and some of our most vibrant developer tools and frameworks are open source. When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today, and in the future.

Given all of this, together with GitHub, we see three clear opportunities ahead.

First, we will empower developers at every stage of the development lifecycle – from ideation to collaboration to deployment to the cloud. Going forward, GitHub will remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code on any cloud and any device.

Second, we will accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services.

Finally, we will bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.

Most importantly, we recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement. We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to developer feedback and invest in both fundamentals and new capabilities.

Once the acquisition closes later this year, GitHub will be led by CEO Nat Friedman, an open source veteran and founder of Xamarin, who will continue to report to Microsoft Cloud + AI Group Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie; GitHub CEO and Co-Founder Chris Wanstrath will be a technical fellow at Microsoft, also reporting to Scott. You can see how Chris, Nat and I envision the opportunity ahead in this public presentation.

Together we will continue to advance GitHub as a platform loved by developers and trusted by organizations.

The post Microsoft + GitHub = Empowering Developers appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft acquires Semantic Machines, advancing the state of conversational AI

Group shot of team members from Semantic Machines.
Team members from Semantic Machines.

AI researchers have made great strides in recent years, but we are still at the beginning of teaching computers to understand the full context of human communication. Most of today’s bots and intelligent assistants respond to simple commands and queries, such as giving a weather report, playing a song or sharing a reminder, but aren’t able to understand meaning or carry on conversations. For rich and effective communication, intelligent assistants need to be able to have a natural dialogue instead of just responding to commands. We call this “conversational AI.”

We are excited to announce today that we have acquired Semantic Machines Inc., a Berkeley, California-based company that has developed a revolutionary new approach to building conversational AI. Their work uses the power of machine learning to enable users to discover, access and interact with information and services in a much more natural way, and with significantly less effort.

The company is led by many pioneers in conversational AI, including technology entrepreneur Dan Roth and two of the most prominent and innovative natural language AI researchers in the world, UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and Stanford University professor Percy Liang, as well as former Apple chief speech scientist Larry Gillick.

Microsoft has driven research and breakthroughs in the fundamental building blocks of conversational AI, such as speech recognition and natural language understanding, for more than two decades. The goal has been to expand our vision of computers all around us to a world where they could see, hear talk and understand as humans. In 2016, we took another big step toward realizing this vision of conversational computing with the introduction of a framework for developing bots and the release of pre-built Cognitive Services for infusing speech recognition and natural language understanding into intelligent assistants. Today, there are more than 1 million developers using our Microsoft Cognitive Services and more than 300,000 developers using our Azure Bot Service, all helping to make computing more conversational.

We are further developing our work in conversational AI with our digital assistant Cortana, as well as with social chatbots like XiaoIce. XiaoIce has had more than 30 billion conversations, averaging up to 30 minutes each, with 200 million users across platforms in China, Japan, the United States, India and Indonesia. With XiaoIce and Cortana, we’ve made breakthroughs in speech recognition and more recently become the first to add full-duplex voice sense to a conversational AI system, allowing people to carry on a conversation naturally.

With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, we will establish a conversational AI center of excellence in Berkeley to push forward the boundaries of what is possible in language interfaces. Combining Semantic Machines’ technology with Microsoft’s own AI advances, we aim to deliver powerful, natural and more productive user experiences that will take conversational computing to a new level. We’re excited to bring the Semantic Machines team and their technology to Microsoft.

For more information on Semantic Machines, visit  http://www.semanticmachines.com/.

The post Microsoft acquires Semantic Machines, advancing the state of conversational AI appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft Quantum helps Case Western Reserve University advance MRI research

Today I’m thrilled to share a new collaboration between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Microsoft’s Quantum team demonstrating the power of quantum computing. With the goal of improving patient care, Case Western Reserve will use Microsoft’s quantum-inspired algorithms to enhance their approach to detecting cancerous tumors. This scenario is a great example of an organization using quantum technology to solve the real-world challenges of today.

Case Western Reserve has been leading groundbreaking research in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a space that previously hadn’t drastically changed in decades. To improve accuracy of MRI results in less time, Case Western introduced an approach called magnetic resonance fingerprinting. Where typical MRI machines use a series of fixed acquisitions to establish a diagnosis, magnetic resonance fingerprinting uses a constantly varying sequence of pulses, resulting in a single, unified exam. The final quantitative maps are generated by comparing the response against a lookup table, resulting in a more rapid and repeatable characterization of tissues.

This approach brings significant improvements over traditional MRI methods, but the remaining challenge is in identifying the best sequence of pulses and readouts in order to achieve the best scan efficiency, or an acquisition optimized for identifying a particular disease. These are problems conventional computational methods will take too long to solve.

Microsoft will help optimize the pulse sequences by mapping the problem to a form suitable for quantum computers and then use a quantum-inspired algorithm, which runs on the classical computers we have today. By generating an optimized pulse sequence, researchers at CWRU will be able to create a solution that improves the diagnostic capability of MRI. This work will lead to an improved patient experience, requiring less time in the MRI machine and providing more accurate, rapid results. Once the scan is complete, Microsoft HoloLens will be used for a 3D, holographic model of the results.

This is an inspiring demonstration of an organization taking advantage of the quantum capabilities offered today with our quantum-inspired algorithms and Microsoft Azure simulator.

We see incredible possibilities to not only improve the quality of healthcare and medical research, but also demonstrate how quantum computing, machine learning, and mixed reality can be combined to turn challenges of the past into solutions of the future.

To learn more about the collaboration between Case Western Reserve University and the Microsoft Quantum team, please visit http://www.case.edu/mrf.

To learn more about quantum computing at Microsoft, visit the Microsoft Quantum website.

The post Microsoft Quantum helps Case Western Reserve University advance MRI research appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

The story behind Microsoft earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation

Today, Microsoft announced its third-quarter earnings, including commercial cloud revenue of $6 billion, up 58 percent from last year. As always, this growth is fueled by the innovation and success of our customers and partners. Today, almost every company is a tech company, and below are a few examples of companies working closely with Microsoft to advance their digital business strategies.

Driving efficiencies with applications and infrastructure

Companies across all industries need a trusted cloud infrastructure, a powerful data estate and accessible AI technologies to grow and transform. Toyota Material Handling Europe is using Azure, AI and HoloLens to help drive its vision for the factory of the future. By distributing intelligent logic across the factory and its robotic systems, the company can train “pallet drones” to recognize patterns, automate processes and learn the flow of a manufacturing factory floor.

Bühler AG, a leader in food processing manufacturing, has developed a revolutionary optical sorting system called LumoVision to significantly improve food safety practices. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, this new system creates a faster and more precise grain-sorting solution, eliminating 85 to 90 percent of contaminated and toxic grain, compared to 50 percent for conventional sorting machines.

Enabling better customer engagement with data and AI

Financial services is another space where companies are moving quickly to seize the digital dividend using data and AI. Today, more than 80 percent of the world’s largest banks are Azure customers.

Saxo Bank, a fintech leader, provides “banking as a service” and access to 35,000 financial instruments to banking and brokerage clients in 170 countries. To grow the power and scale of its services, Saxo Bank is moving nearly all its technology stack to Azure. We are also working with Eagle Investment Systems LLC, a BNY Mellon company and financial services tech leader with $21 trillion in managed assets. In partnership with Microsoft, the firm has created a new cloud-based data management platform on Azure to help investment managers capture data, ensure its validity, manage assets and “seek alpha.”

UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, is enhancing its customer service with AI, using Azure Bot Service and Cognitive Services for the UPS Bot, which converses in text and voice with customers about their shipments. UPS developers are also using .NET and Visual Studio to extend its mobile app to more platforms faster, with less code.

Empowering employees in the modern workplace

Helping companies provide a modern workplace to their employees is core to our mission and business. For example, Jaguar Land Rover, the U.K.’s largest automotive manufacturer, sells its iconic vehicles in 130 countries, employs more than 43,000 workers globally and supports around 240,000 more through dealerships, suppliers and local businesses. Jaguar Land Rover has selected Office 365 as part of its effort to foster a creative and modern workplace culture that lets employees communicate and collaborate from the U.K. to the U.S., China, Brazil, Slovakia and Ireland — all while equipping the company with the security features needed to protect its business.

In the consumer space, the Coca-Cola Co. has made digital leadership part of its growth strategy. The company is digitizing its enterprise — from the supply chain and employee collaboration to consumer engagement — and has placed trust and security at the heart of the entire experience. Specifically, Coca-Cola is using Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure to simplify its architecture, drive automation, deliver technology updates with less disruption, improve employee experiences and deliver proactive threat-protection.

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Goldcorp is focused on responsible mining practices throughout the Americas. The mining industry is very dynamic, and Goldcorp needed to manage and harness data from its highly technical mining operations to inform real-time decision making. In addition to Power BI and Microsoft 365, Goldcorp selected Surface Pro for miners to use in the mines because the devices are fan-less. The company also deployed Surface Studio, Surface Book and Surface Pro throughout headquarters. By standardizing on Microsoft hardware and our modern workplace solutions, Goldcorp is gaining performance insights, improving security and building a foundation for the future of technology-enabled mines.

Simplifying processes with business applications

Another focus area for Microsoft and where we see customer innovation is in business applications and the digital simplification of business processes.

24 Hour Fitness, one of the U.S.’s largest privately owned and operated fitness chains, is deploying Dynamics 365 and Adobe Experience Cloud across its network of more than 420 clubs. This deployment will enable 24 Hour Fitness to dramatically enhance its ability to offer more personalized and unified digital experiences for members throughout every touch point in their fitness journey. With native technology integrations across Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Adobe Experience Cloud, 24 Hour Fitness is investing in a combined cloud platform to engage its members and guests with highly personalized experiences, including health and fitness guidance they truly want and need.

Marc Jacobs International, the global fashion house with more than 200 retail stores across 80 countries, is another great retail example. The company uses Dynamics and a partner solution, MediusFlow, on Azure to streamline and automate a key part of its supply chain: Paying the enormous, continuously changing network of special vendors and suppliers it counts on to create and deliver its new collections each season.

As these customer examples highlight, virtually every company, irrespective of the industry in which it competes, is thinking big about data — how to harness it for growth, for efficiency, for greater employee collaboration and for differentiation. Taken together, these ambitions are the very definition of digital innovation and transformation, and here at Microsoft we are proud to serve as a trusted partner committed to helping organizations realize these ambitions.

The post The story behind Microsoft earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

International Women’s Day: Three simple ways we can all #PressforProgress for women in STEM

1976 photo of Mary Snapp
Mary Snapp, promoting science and technology in high schools in 1976.

Women around the world are taking to the streets on International Women’s Day to urge faster progress on gender parity in economic opportunity, education and other important issues. The theme this year, #PressforProgress, is perfectly tuned to the challenges society faces.

I know what’s it’s like to be the “first woman.” It’s really lonely! It feels like all eyes are watching you. I was the first woman hired by an auto company to give science and technology demonstrations at school assemblies in middle schools and high schools, on the road for months at a time. I was the first female attorney hired at Microsoft, supporting the engineering groups, and the “only woman in the meeting” far more times than I could count. Were it not for a few male mentors who took a chance to reach out over the years, I likely would have left my profession as a public relations professional, and later a lawyer. Now it’s an honor to “pay it forward.”

As a society, we have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of female science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leaders. Today’s youngest students – known as Gen Z – are unlike any previous generation. They are digital natives with the creativity and confidence to use STEM to drive to positive change. Yet we are failing to keep them engaged and excited about the possibilities that STEM studies and careers provide. Unless things change much faster, many in this bright, hopeful generation will not enter these fields.

These are among the reasons Microsoft Philanthropies provides grants to nonprofits that prioritize increasing diversity in computer science, and more than half of beneficiaries are female. For the past four summers, we partnered with Girls Who Code, for example, to host high school girls enrolled in the nonprofit’s summer immersion program. Girls spend a portion of the summer on many of our U.S. campuses learning to build apps, games, websites and hardware. Microsoft women mentor the girls and often stay in touch after the program is complete.

Six girls wearing Girls Who Code Tshirts
Microsoft Philanthropies provides grants to nonprofits, including Girls Who Code, that prioritize increasing diversity in computer science. Photo courtesy of Girls Who Code.

Another nonprofit we support is Laboratoria, headquartered in Lima, Peru, which trains, in mere months, young women from low-income backgrounds to become web developers. Companies hired more than three-quarters of Laboratoria’s graduates into technology jobs that rely on computer science skills, and the average graduate triples her income.

“I always had that eagerness to help and advance myself,” Laboratoria graduate Lizeth Kenny Lopez Zamudio said recently about her experience with the program. She took a Microsoft Azure workshop where she learned to use new software platforms, programming languages and artificial intelligence. She now uses those skills at her job in a financial services company by programming customer service chatbots, working remotely on a virtual machine and presenting case studies on Azure.

Our education team also does excellent work around the world helping inspire girls to pursue computer science. Among many examples, a partnership forged with the United Arab Emirates help support girls as they participate in international technology competitions. Our education team also develops STEM curricula such as Minecraft: Education Edition, Hacking STEM and MakeCode, which help educators engage students with hands-on, immersive STEM experiences. The Minecraft tutorials they built for Code.org, a nonprofit that also emphasizes outreach to girls, has reached over 85 million people.

On International Women’s Day, and beyond, I’m calling on everyone – women and men – to take the first steps in encouraging younger women and girls to pursue STEM careers. Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Mentoring: On International Women’s Day, several of our senior leaders will reach out to girls in our local community and elsewhere, to paint a relatable picture of what it’s like to work in STEM. Microsoft will also host more than 125 DigiGirlz events around the world, to give middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. You can volunteer as a mentor through nonprofits such as MillionWomenMentors.com and Girls Who Code’s Clubs Program.
  • STEM workshops and speakers: Microsoft stores will host DigiGirlz workshops and Women in STEM panels throughout March, featuring women in aviation, coding, gaming and space. Learn to code and meet internationally recognized, aspiring astronaut 16-year-old Alyssa Carson, in Garden City, New York and Troy, Michigan. Meet former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, in Bellevue, Washington. Learn more at the Microsoft Store website.
  • Socialize STEM: Please share stories about girls doing amazing things in STEM, using the #MakeWhatsNext hashtag. Participate in the @MicrosoftEDU’s global tweetmeet using #MSFTEduChat, to share your ideas to motivate young women to pursue STEM careers.

Gender disparity in STEM fields is a multi-faceted problem. We should each do a small part, and stand up as proud STEMinists. If we each inspire at least one young woman to see the immense potential in STEM fields, progress will come faster, and we’ll all benefit.

 

The post International Women’s Day: Three simple ways we can all #PressforProgress for women in STEM appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Grow, build and connect with Microsoft for Startups

We’re excited to announce Microsoft for Startups, a new program that delivers access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base.  We are committing $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to our technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.

Microsoft for Startups logo

Grow with unparalleled access to customers. Microsoft for Startups takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners. Microsoft has over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. The program provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem.

Build on a trusted cloud that scales with you. The program provides startups with up to $120,000 in free Azure credits, enterprise grade technical support and development tools – supporting the languages of their choice, such as Node.js, Java and .NET.  In addition, qualified startups also get access to productivity and business applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Connect to the right resources at the right time.  Microsoft for Startups helps startups at every stage in ecosystems around the world:

  • Microsoft Reactors are physical spaces where entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the business community can come together to interact, learn and share. Over the next month, we will open the doors on new Microsoft Reactor spaces in London, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Shanghai and Beijing. These spaces join our existing locations in Redmond, Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
  • Microsoft ScaleUp (formerly Microsoft Accelerators) is an immersive global program that offers late-stage and series A startups who have the greatest propensity to take advantage of Microsoft’s growth programs, such as co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.
  • Microsoft Ventures is Microsoft’s strategic venture capital investment team whose mission is to be an active partner at key stages of a startup’s growth, typically investing between Series A and D.

Startups inspire us by pushing the envelope of the possible and building products that improve our personal and professional lives. Microsoft is excited to partner with startups to empower every person and organization on the planet.

To learn more, please visit Microsoft Startups.

The post Grow, build and connect with Microsoft for Startups appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

First look at Satya Nadella’s new book, Adobe and Microsoft deepen ties while science reveals (yet again) the power of the pen — Weekend Reading: Sept. 8 edition

Time to read, write and “Hit Refresh,” following a brief-but-busy week at Microsoft. We saw an alliance grow, protections reinforced and new chapters emerge.

Let’s take a spin through the news.

Microsoft SEO Satya Nadella in his office reading one of the first arrivals of his new book.

 

This week, the author got a first look at his new creation. Early copies of “Hit Refresh” arrived at the office of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He smiled while leafing through pages packed with reflections, ideas and principles on transformation – the story of Microsoft’s quest to rediscover its soul, as told through Nadella’s eyes and experiences.

In a LinkedIn post published Wednesday, Nadella described “Hit Refresh” as an exploration of the renaissance of a storied company and the implications of the coming wave of technology — artificial intelligence, mixed reality and quantum computing — which will soon disrupt the status quo impacting our lives, communities and economies.”

“Hit Refresh” goes on sale globally Sept. 26 and is available now for preorder. Nadella is donating all proceeds from the book to Microsoft Philanthropies.

A student in the study wears hundreds of sensors to monitor her brain.

 

Pens down? Not so fast.

New research offers the first electrophysiological evidence that the brain behaves differently when people use a pen versus a keyboard – and that the physical movement of a pen boosts learning.

The finding builds on previous studies that suggest long-hand notetaking with a pen deepens the mind’s ability to retain and process information.

Cognitive neuropsychologists Audrey van der Meer and Ruud van der Weel outfitted participating students with more than 250 sensors that monitored their brain signals.

The students then completed tasks involving typing and note-taking by hand, including with the use of Surface Pro 4 devices. Van der Meer told Microsoft News Centre Europe that many tablet and stylus devices – like the Surface Pen – help people get the most out of ancient and modern technology.

Conducted over two months in Norway and later peer reviewed, the study provides fresh proof that the pen – once seen as an analogue artifact – can be fully appreciated as a key component of our digital learning experiences.

A Nordstrom sign outside a Nordstrom store.

Shoppers know: Nordstrom is synonymous with legendary customer service at its 350-plus stores and online.

During a recent chat between Cho Hwang, technology director at Nordstrom, and Ron Markezich, Microsoft corporate vice president, talk turned to Microsoft Office 365.

Office 365 supports the diverse and ever-evolving workstyles of Nordstrom employees in retail and corporate locations,” Hwang said. “It provides a comprehensive set of tools that enables employees to be more productive and always have the data that they need at their fingertips.”

On Thursday, more Office 365 news broke when Adobe and Microsoft announced they are expanding their strategic alliance to increase workforce productivity and drive more efficient business processes.

Adobe Sign, the market leading e-signature service in Adobe Document Cloud, is now Microsoft’s preferred e-signature solution across the company’s portfolio, including the 100 million monthly active users of Office 365.

A global map shows recent ransomware attacks.

A new Microsoft report details recent ransomware threats and the need for advanced security. You can protect yourself with Windows 10, which integrates next-gen security features that guard against ransomware, including multiple exploit mitigations, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and more.

The upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will make Windows even more secure against attacks through seamless integration of Windows Defender ATP across the entire Windows protection stack plus other updates. You can start taking advantage of these protections now with the Windows Defender ATP Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, now open for public preview.

The Microsoft logo
On Tuesday, Microsoft responded to the administration’s decision to rescind protection under the program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), calling it a “big step back for our entire country,” writes Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, on the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

The administration is giving Congress six months to replace DACA with new legislation. “Congress now needs to reprioritize the fall legislative calendar and move quickly with new legislation to protect these 800,000 Dreamers,” Smith writes.

“This means that Congress should adopt legislation on DACA before it tries to adopt a tax reform bill.” Microsoft will work as needed with other companies and the broader business community to “vigorously defend the legal rights of all Dreamers,” Smith says. “For the 39 Dreamers that we know of who are our employees, our commitment is clear. If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees.”

Several Harry Potter books.

With fall (nearly) in the air, head back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as the complete collection of “Harry Potter” e-books arrives in the Windows Store. Find all seven books in the series in a single title, along with other favorites in this universe such as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

Need more entertainment this weekend?  Get your scare on with the newest chapter in Ryan Murphy’s TV drama anthology, “American Horror Story: Cult.” Buy a season pass now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store – and follow what’s hot, new and trending in the Windows Store on Twitter and Facebook.

That caps our round-up. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading!

Posted by Bill Briggs
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post First look at Satya Nadella’s new book, Adobe and Microsoft deepen ties while science reveals (yet again) the power of the pen — Weekend Reading: Sept. 8 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

New devices and Windows Mixed Reality headsets unveiled at IFA 2017, Cortana and Alexa collaborate and Skype TX wins an Emmy® Award — Weekend Reading: Sept. 1 edition

In this edition of Weekend Reading, you’ll read about IFA 2017 and the vast array of devices revealed at the event, a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Amazon, Skype TX receiving the Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award and more.

Microsoft delivered a keynote at the IFA 2017 consumer electronics show in Berlin on Friday, Sept. 1. You can watch the on-demand video of the keynote on Windows Blogs. Earlier this week at IFA, several companies revealed new Windows Mixed Reality headsets, PCs, laptops and much more.

Dell unveiled a suite of new devices and services at IFA 2017 on Monday, including new Inspiron 7000 2-in-1s and laptops, XPS 13 performance enhancements and the Dell Visor, the company’s first-ever virtual reality headset for Windows Mixed Reality. Dell also announced new gaming PCs powered by Windows 10, new curved gaming monitors and the Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet.

ASUS announced the new ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset, unveiled the brand-new Republic of Gamers (ROG) Chimera gaming laptop and ROG curved monitor, and introduced the latest thin and light ZenBook and VivoBook laptops, all powered by Windows 10.

Acer announced a series of innovative new devices powered by Windows 10, including additions to its premium Predator gaming line; a new all-in-one desktop PC in its Aspire desktop series; and new detachable devices for working on-the-go with the next generation of their Swift, Spin, and Switch models.

Photo shows the words “Hi, I’m Cortana” on the screen of an Amazon Echo Show device next to a laptop that displays the words “Hello, I’m Alexa”

On Wednesday Microsoft announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Amazon between Cortana and Alexa.

“I’m excited that by bringing Cortana to Alexa and Alexa to Cortana, we’re adding more value and choice for consumers and developers alike,” writes Andrew Shuman, Microsoft corporate vice president, Cortana Engineering. “Cortana users will be able to have Alexa shop on Amazon.com and manage their Amazon orders and access many of Alexa’s third-party skills by asking Cortana to open Alexa, just as Alexa users will have access to Cortana’s world knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance and location-based reminders simply by asking Alexa to open Cortana.”

Skype TX, a multiplatform broadcast solution that pushes the boundaries of broadcast television, was honored Tuesday with a Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a deepened, long-term partnership with Pact, a leading nonprofit international development organization working to reduce child labor in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This partnership builds on our existing work with Pact, with whom we’ve worked since 2015,” writes Joan Krajewski, Microsoft general manager of Safety, Compliance and Sustainability. “Through this partnership, the successful Watoto Inje ya Mungoti (Children Out of Mining) project was launched; it uses interventions that are deeply embedded in communities and local institutions to address the economic and social root causes that lead to child labor in mining.”

In Frankfurt, Germany, the Steigenberger Airport Hotel is known for premium customer service. It’s a complex system that requires efficient logistics. To improve communication and back-of-house operations, housekeeping employees are piloting new Trekstor IoT (Internet of Things) wearable devices. Powered by Windows 10 IoT Core and Microsoft Azure IoT, the devices enable up-to-the-minute service and cleaning, so guests can enjoy excellent service, whether they need feather pillows or more flatware.

You’ll find Labor Day sales in the Windows Store and with Groove Music. If you’ve wanted to try out Groove Music, now is a great time to do so. Get seven months of the streaming service for the price of one. This offer is available until Sept. 5. Also save up to 65 percent on hit new releases, movie bundles and TV season passes with the Labor Day Sale in the Windows Store, which runs now through Sept. 4. “Wonder Woman” is now available in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store, three weeks before it arrives on Blu-ray. On the games front, “ReCore Definitive Edition” has launched on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass.

That’s it for our round-up. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

 

The post New devices and Windows Mixed Reality headsets unveiled at IFA 2017, Cortana and Alexa collaborate and Skype TX wins an Emmy® Award — Weekend Reading: Sept. 1 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Gamescom, Hot Chips, Hackathon and inclusivity – Weekend Reading: Aug. 25 edition

This week was awash in news out of gamescom 2017, a European trade fair for digital gaming culture that took place in Cologne, Germany. If your head is spinning from all the announcements, take a deep breath and devote the next three minutes to watching this video, with everything you need to know out of Xbox, including pre-orders of the Xbox One X and the limited-edition Project Scorpio, the Xbox One S Minecraft limited-edition bundle, and news on games such as PlayerUnknown’s “Battlegrounds,” “State of Decay 2,” “Forza Motorsport 7,” “ReCore Definitive Edition,” “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” “Middle-earth: Shadow of War,” Xbox Backward Compatibility and more.

A picture of three different types of Xbox devices and controllers.

Gamescom wasn’t the only big event this week. At the Hot Chips 2017 conference, a cross-Microsoft team unveiled a new deep-learning acceleration platform, codenamed Project Brainwave, that was designed for real-time artificial intelligence. That means the system processes requests as fast as it receives them, with ultra-low latency, according to Doug Burger, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft. “Project Brainwave achieves a major leap forward in both performance and flexibility for cloud-based serving of deep learning models,” Burger wrote.

Speaking of artificial intelligence, it dominated this year’s Microsoft Hackathon last month, with a winning project that’s too hot to talk about. The Hackathon started in 2014 as an experiment to engage employees, and it’s now the world’s biggest private hackathon with more than 18,000 participants who showcase bold new ideas that influence company products and sometimes lead to entirely new services. This year’s winning team put together a project that’s “a compelling and practical use of artificial intelligence that we think our customers will love,” said Jeff Ramos, who leads the Microsoft Garage, the team that runs the Hackathon. “It’s so compelling that we’ve decided to be discreet in the amount of details we want to share.” Taken as a whole, this year’s group of hackers showed how quickly AI is becoming the fabric of how a new generation of technology services is delivered, with projects submitted for everything from self-driving wheelchairs to the prediction of traffic signal times.

A crowd of Hackathon 2017 participants cheer and wave at the camera outside on a sunny day.

It was also a big week for inclusivity at Microsoft. In conjunction with the US Business Leadership Network conference, which focuses on inclusive hiring, Microsoft employees shared personal stories showing the benefits of having a diverse population. Software engineer Swetha Machanavajhala, who was born with profound hearing loss, shared how she uses data and machine learning to help finds ways to enable people who are hearing impaired to better understand and react to the world around them. Amos Miller, who is blind and understands first-hand how important technology is for people with disabilities, said working for Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research team is like “working in a toy store.” Jessica Rafuse, a program manager with Microsoft Accessibility and an employment attorney by trade, shared about her experience being a champion for the inclusive hiring program.

And Beth Anne Katz, a program manager, explained how her long-hidden struggle with mental illness and depression reached a welcome turning point with the assistance of a “most incredible boss” and the Microsoft CARES employee assistance program.

Three Polaroid snapshots of Beth Anne Katz, hung on a red string with clothespins.

Discounted apps will help assuage the back-to-school blues, with savings of as much as 50 percent on heavy hitters such as Movie Edit Pro Windows Store Edition, Stagelight and Complete Anatomy. And don’t forget about next month’s STEM Saturdays workshops, as Microsoft partners with Mattel Hot Wheels® Speedometry™ for free, drop-in sessions that offer a chance to engage in science, technology and math projects hosted by Microsoft Stores. Participants will sensor-monitor cars as they compete on the iconic Hot Wheels orange track, measuring speed and force of impact during collision.

A group of children watch a demonstration of the Hot Wheels orange track game.

This week on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages, we featured the four all-women teams who participated in the #MakeWhatsNext Patent Program. From devices that convert text to braille in real-time to a VR game that can prevent bullying, these extraordinary women are changing the world with their groundbreaking inventions, and the support of the Patent Program.

Two women sit together, looking at a laptop screen.

Whew, summer may be winding down, but there’s still a lot going on. Enjoy this last weekend of August, and we hope to see you back here next week!

Posted by Susanna Ray

Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Gamescom, Hot Chips, Hackathon and inclusivity – Weekend Reading: Aug. 25 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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