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Sensors, search and sleep apnea on Microsoft Research confab's line-up

Microsoft has spread itself pretty thin, as of late. But did you know the company is working on helping to remedy sleep apnea? That's just one of the research projects Microsoft execs and invited researcher guests are slated to discuss at next week's Faculty Summit 2009
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Microsoft has spread itself pretty thin, as of late. But did you know the company is working on helping to remedy sleep apnea?

That's just one of the research projects Microsoft execs and invited researcher guests are slated to discuss at next week's Faculty Summit 2009, its annual conference for scientists, researchers and educators.

Energy sustainability, climate change and the evolution of healthcare are among the main themes of this year's two-day summit, according to the agenda. In previous years, the summit also touched on these kinds of themes -- to a degree. But there was a lot more emphasis on products and technologies than on global agendas.

But there are a few more tangibly technological presentations on the docket, including the "Monitoring and Diagnosing Sleep Apnea in the Home" one that will focus on Microsoft Research's sensor technology under development by its hardware team. The "Beyond Search with Data Driven Intelligence" session on July 13 will focus on the future of search, the agenda says, but with a twist. The emphasis will be on how "data-driven research can help advance the state of the art in the online world and present a vision for humane computing."

Tablet computing gets its own session during next week's Faculty Summit, with "demos from Microsoft’s Education Product Group — showing how many of the advanced technologies that stemmed from these (tablet/pen computing) investments have now been incorporated into the forthcoming release of Microsoft Office." Microsoft Research is calling the tablet "software plus form factor" (a derivative of Software+Services, I guess).

The Softies are also slated to provide more details about Microsoft's own ThinkWeek and Quest programs during the conference. In a presentation entitled "Technical Direction and Strategy at Microsoft – How ThinkWeek & Quests Work," Microsoft officials are going to explain Microsoft's "business-experience-technology-strategy alignment" via ThinkWeek and Quests and how Microsoft Research fits into these programs.

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