Microsoft Research (MSR) also is issuing an RFP for the development of Tablet PC-related curricula. And it is launching what its calling the "Phoenix Academic Program," via which it will provide researchers with early access to its "Phoenix" compiler that is being used to build its Longhorn Windows operating system, among other products.
Microsoft made these announcements Monday as part of the kick-off of its fifth-annual faculty summit research conference. About 400 academic researchers from more than 150 educational institutions worldwide are expected to attend this weeks conference.
"A substantial part of what is Microsoft today came out of the work that weve been doing in research," Rick Rashid, the senior vice president in charge of MSR, said during his Monday morning keynote.
He cited as examples a number of the code test and generation technologies developed by MSR, such as PREfix and PREfast, which are now finding their way into commercial and internal Microsoft products.
In his remarks, Rashid focused on three MSR initiatives that are aimed at further fostering cooperation between MSR and academic researchers. He said MSR is focusing on the development of new talent, educational/curriculum development and the development of research platforms that will help accelerate the pace of research.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who also keynoted the opening conference session, told attendees that MSR is focusing on a handful of key areas, including business productivity, software modeling, next-generation user interfaces and improved security/reliability.
"The place youre visiting in a sense is the worlds largest software factory," Gates said. "We constantly try and make this factory more and more productive and, of course, its the tools of software that will allow us to do that.
MSR talked up Phoenix and its plans for a Phoenix Research Development Kit (RDK) at last years Faculty Research Summit. At that time, Microsoft officials said to expect a limited Phoenix beta to be available to researchers by the fourth quarter of 2004, and the final by mid-2005. Microsoft provided no update on Phoenixs timing during the initial faculty summit festivities.
On its Web site, MSR describes Phoenix "a software optimization and analysis framework that will be the basis for all future Microsoft compiler technologies."