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Category Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft researchers publish paper on new computer vision system claimed to outperform humans

Gigaom: “Microsoft researchers claim in a recently published paper that they have developed the first computer system capable of outperforming humans on a popular benchmark. While it’s estimated that humans can classify images in the ImageNet dataset with an error rate of 5.1 percent, Microsoft’s team said its deep-learning-based system achieved an error rate of only 4.94 percent. Their paper was published less than a month after Baidu published a paper touting its record-setting system, which it claimed achieved an error rate of 5.98 percent using a homemade supercomputing architecture. The best performance in the actual ImageNet competition so far belongs to a team of Google researchers, who in the 2014 built a deep learning system with a 6.66 percent error rate.”

  • See Delving Deep into Rectifiers: Surpassing Human-Level Performance on ImageNet Classification. Kaiming He, Xiangyu Zhang, Shaoqing Ren, Jian Sun (Submitted on 6 Feb 2015)

    “Rectified activation units (rectifiers) are essential for state-of-the-art neural networks. In this work, we study rectifier neural networks for image classification from two aspects. First, we propose a Parametric Rectified Linear Unit (PReLU) that generalizes the traditional rectified unit. PReLU improves model fitting with nearly zero extra computational cost and little overfitting risk. Second, we derive a robust initialization method that particularly considers the rectifier nonlinearities. This method enables us to train extremely deep rectified models directly from scratch and to investigate deeper or wider network architectures. Based on our PReLU networks (PReLU-nets), we achieve 4.94% top-5 test error on the ImageNet 2012 classification dataset. This is a 26% relative improvement over the ILSVRC 2014 winner (GoogLeNet, 6.66%). To our knowledge, our result is the first to surpass human-level performance (5.1%, Russakovsky et al.) on this visual recognition challenge.”

Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

By SPIEGEL Staff: “…Software giant Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, said in a statement: “We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.” The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011, the service has been under order from the secret US ForeignContinue Reading

Irish Government Joins Microsoft Against US Govt Access to Cloud Based Servers

The Register: “The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world. Microsoft has garnered serious backing from the technology industry in its case against American investigators. The Feds believe they have the right to access emails stored onContinue Reading

Law Enforcement Without Borders

CDT – “A critical case is now working its way through the US courts—one that raises important questions for users and providers of cloud services in both the US and Europe. As part of a US criminal investigation, a US federal court has ordered Microsoft to hand over a customer’s files that the company holdsContinue Reading

Reflections on How Designers Design With Data

Reflections on How Designers Design With Data – Alex Bigelow, Steven Drucker, Danyel Fisher, and Miriah Meyer. Microsoft Research. May 2014. “In recent years many popular data visualizations have emerged that are created largely by designers whose main area of expertise is not computer science. Designers generate these visualizations using a handful of design tools and environments.Continue Reading

Paper – The Grey Web

The Grey Web – Dataveillance Vision Fulfilled through the Evolving Web. Richard Gomer, University of Southampton; Natasa Milic-Frayling, Microsoft Research; m.c. schraefel, University of Southampton. 2014. “Over the past three decades, Web has evolved from an information medium to an intricate economic ecosystem. Initially focused on supporting the transition from traditional business practices to e-commerce, the Web has given rise to new,Continue Reading

EFF – Reforming Terms of Service: Microsoft Changes Its Policy on Access to User Data

News release: “Last week we wrote about initial news reports that Microsoft had searched and disclosed the contents of a blogger’s Hotmail account as part of an internal investigation into the alleged theft of Microsoft source code and other trade secrets. Since then, EFF has been in touch with Microsoft to discuss our objections to the company’sContinue Reading

Report – How Google Is Trying to Protect Your Drug Supply

“Illegal online pharmacies play a major role in the growing problem of counterfeit drugs, with regulation often challenging because they sell directly to consumers. As National Journal Correspondent Sophie Novack reports, though, some major internet players are working with the federal government to combat the problem. Writes Novack: “Google is now a member of the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies,Continue Reading

Microsoft Research adopts Open Access policy for publications

Microsoft Research Connections Blog: “In a recent interview with Scientific American, Peter Lee, head of Microsoft Research, discussed three main motivations for basic research at Microsoft. The first relates to an aspiration to advance human knowledge, the second derives from a culture that relies deeply on the ambitions of individual researchers, and the last concerns “promotingContinue Reading

Microsoft releases global survey on Internet users around the world

“A new global survey of Internet users conducted by Microsoft Corp. reveals distinct regional findings and differing viewpoints between the developed and developing world. However, overwhelmingly the more than 10,000 people surveyed from 10 nations said they embrace personal technology, particularly in emerging markets, and see it as the foundation of innovation and economic empowerment.Continue Reading

Microsoft – Create strong passwords

“A strong password is an important protection to help you have safer online transactions. Here are some steps to create a strong password. Consider using some or all to help protect yourself online: Length. Make your passwords at least eight (8) long. Complexity. Include a combination of at least three (3) upper and/or lowercase letters, punctuation, symbols, andContinue Reading

Tech Giants Call for Global Government Surveillance Reform

“The undersigned companies believe that it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information. While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need toContinue Reading