Microsoft has rewarded five computer science professors for innovative work and their role in helping to advance the state of the art of computing.
On April 26, Microsoft named five new members of the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Program, which honors young, early-career professors for demonstrating creativity and foresight in their research.
Microsoft officials said each fellow will receive $200,000 over a two-year period to help defray the costs of their research.
In addition, the fellows get the opportunity to work with researchers at Microsoft Research, the company said.
Microsoft selected two women and three men from more than 100 potential choices across North America.
Projects that the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows will pursue include analyzing the basic concepts of perception, searching for connections in text, creating graphics that more accurately model human motion, designing a more elegant human-computer interaction and finding a way to bring all these aspects together in a more refined framework for both the designer and the operator, the company said.
The winners include Regina Barzilay, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is focusing her research on computational modeling of linguistic phenomena.
Aaron Hertzmann, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Toronto, is working on building simulated models for computer animation.
His research indicates that realistic physical models can be created from a small number of precise physical measurements, Microsoft said.
Hertzmanns models can predict human motion and could have an impact on biomechanics research, which could ultimately be useful to doctors and physical therapists.
Scott Klemmer, assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University, is working on bridging the physical and digital worlds by making the computer more accessible and enhancing human-computer interaction.
Eddie Kohler, assistant professor of computer science at University of California, Los Angeles, is working on how to make computer systems easier to program.
His work is based on systems research and component-based programming language techniques.
Fei-Fei Li, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is working on making machines see like humans.
Potential results of Lis work could include new tools for personal photo organization and image searches, and, eventually, assistance for the visually impaired, Microsoft said.
Microsoft Research will formally recognize the new fellows at its annual Faculty Summit, on July 17, 2006, in Redmond, Wash.
Microsofts External Research & Programs group established the Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Program last year to identify and support first-, second- and third-year professors.
"Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows represent the best new professors in computing disciplines today," said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research, in a statement.
"The intellectual curiosity and capacity that each fellow has demonstrated is inspirational, and we will watch their careers develop with interest."
Jeannette Wing, a member of the application review committee and head of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, also in a statement, said: "I was particularly impressed with the strength of all the applicants.
"These young faculty show passion for their research, have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and understand how their work contributes not just to science, but to society."