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Microsoft Research Asia Celebrates Ten Years of Collaboration


Bill Gates Joins Microsoft Research Asia and Academic Leaders at 10th Anniversary Innovation Forum to Recognize Partnerships and Share Vision for Global Innovation.

HONG KONG - Microsoft Research (MSR) Asia hosted its 10th Anniversary Innovation Forum in Hong Kong on Aug. 12 to celebrate a decade of ground-breaking work alongside Asia’s burgeoning IT talents and academic communities.

Highlights: Microsoft Asia Joint Labs
• 2000: MSR Asia establishes a Joint Lab with Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST). The lab, which focuses on multimedia and other IT, represents the fourth MSR Asia Joint Lab and the first established outside of mainland China.

• 2005: MSR Asia establishes its second Joint Lab in Hong Kong, this time partnering with Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The Joint Lab focuses on human-machine interface research.

• 2006: MSR Asia and CUHK jointly host the “First Symposium of Microsoft Joint Labs” on campus. Delegations from eight MSR Asia Joint Labs meet in Hong Kong to discuss progress, present research projects and update attendees on the status of each joint Lab.

• 2008: MSR Asia – CUHK joint lab approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as a key lab of the MOE; bringing project moving collaborations between the two institutions to the second stage.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates joined MSR Asia leaders and prominent members of Hong Kong’s educational institutions this week to highlight the innovative achievements China and Microsoft have shared over the past ten years, and to convey their vision for China’s leading role in global innovation.

Founded in 1998, MSR Asia began with a dozen employees and has since grown into a thriving lab of 350 full-time employees and as many interns. The organization conducts research work in more than 20 different fields, including natural user interface, multimedia, data-intensive computing and search and online advertising. MSR Asia’s headquarters are located in Beijing, China.

During his keynote address, Gates spoke about innovating for the next decade. “In the next ten years, when advances in digital and online technology open up new avenues for contributions in the world, China and Hong Kong will represent a very substantial percentage of the innovation that will take place,” said Gates. “This is why we’re here. In working closely with the best universities [Microsoft Research Asia] brings together the very brightest people from across China and Asia; giving them the expertise, ideas, and resources only Microsoft can offer so they can focus on the new generation of breakthroughs and discoveries.”

Gates’ speech was followed by a panel discussion with the Presidents of Hong Kong’s top universities, moderated by MSR Asia’s Managing Director, Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon. The academic exchange on “Technology and Society” underscored MSR Asia’s strong commitment to work with academic visionaries to identify how technology can help address such issues as poverty and climate change in the future. The panel also fielded questions written by students from each of the universities.

“For a better future in Asia, [Microsoft Research Asia] has worked closely with the top minds of academia to foster stronger knowledge-based economies throughout the region,” noted Hon. “Hand-in-hand with universities and institutions, we’ve made significant strides in helping countries cultivate their next generations of business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs over the past 10 years. We look forward to continuing that winning partnership in China.”

For 2008, China’s Olympic Year, MSR Asia finds itself developing into a great leader within Microsoft Research. Having extensively invested in China’s next generation of computer science talents and establishing winning partnerships with the region’s top academic institutions since 1998, the lab is poised to begin their future legacy of innovation as China gradually becomes a Middle Kingdom of IT innovation.

“The lab has helped China embrace information technology through collaborative links and partnerships with academic institutions,” said Hon. “And now, after a decade of achievement and discovery together, we are committed to China and its academic community more than ever - not only in helping them adapt to the global trends of IT and the digital age – but to adopting it as their own.”

MSR Asia Joint Labs with Hong Kong Universities

Among the more than 100 partnerships with universities and research institutes throughout Asia Pacific, Hong Kong’s top universities exhibited a winning example of MSR Asia’s close relationship with the academic community. During the 10th Anniversary Innovation Forum, Hong Kong Professor Lawrence J. Lau, President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, reflected on how far the lab has traveled alongside Chinese schools. This shared journey is highlighted by the influential Joint Labs established between the two institutions.

“Hong Kong originally didn’t really have much of an industry that handled computer science before, so we’re very fortunate to have Microsoft’s help; especially with the Joint Labs,” said Lau. “Because of the joint labs, Hong Kong’s top schools are taking on the world’s most challenging research projects for a better tomorrow – but more importantly; these labs are bringing the best of minds together in an academic environment.”

“Since 1999, we’ve had 95 students from universities in Hong Kong who have had internships in our research group worldwide.” Gates remarked. “In the US, it’s a challenge to attract the smartest people to go to science – instead, they all want to go to Wall Street. The world needs more scientists and researchers.”

“Microsoft Research Asia and Chinese University of Hong Kong share a long history of collaboration, innovation and unforgettable academic exchanges that have helped foster China’s brilliant minds of tomorrow,” Lau stated. “I hope we can continue working closely with Microsoft in the next decade - we look forward to this very valuable partnership not only for universities but for Hong Kong, Asia, and the world as a whole.”

“Great people like to work with great people – that’s the magic of Microsoft Research.” added Gates. “In China, the excitement of youth in sciences is very high and it’s inspiring to see that. Researchers in academia play an essential role in expanding the boundaries of scientific knowledge and driving progress.”


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