Underwater data, Computer Science for All and the NFL of the future — Weekend Reading: Feb. 5 edition

This week at Microsoft takes us to the ocean floor, into classrooms across the nation, and onto the NFL football field for a glimpse of the hyper cool future of fandom. Never a dull moment, right?

Topping this week’s inventory of awesome is some big news: turns out the cloud is waterproof. On Monday, researchers at Microsoft shared details of a fascinating 2015 project in which they temporarily placed a mini datacenter on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

Datacenters are the backbone of cloud computing, and contain groups of networked computers that require a lot of power for all kinds of tasks: storing, processing and/or distributing massive amounts of information. The electricity that powers datacenters can be generated from renewable power sources such as wind and solar, or, in this case, perhaps wave or tidal power. Moving technology under water could solve several problems, including introducing a new power source, greatly reducing cooling costs, closing the distance to connected populations and making it easier and faster to set up datacenters. Read the full story at Microsoft News Center.

Microsoft employees founded Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS, an effort that now enlists tech employees to teach computer science in 170 schools and 18 states, including this one at the public Boston Latin Academy.

Microsoft employees founded Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS, an effort that now enlists tech employees to teach computer science in 170 schools and 18 states, including this past class at the public Boston Latin Academy.

This week, President Barack Obama called for a new national effort to give all American students the opportunity to learn computer science in school – in short, Computer Science for All. Microsoft is totally on board with this, and has already made access to computer science education a top business, public policy and philanthropic priority, writes Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, on Microsoft on the Issues blog.

“Perhaps more than anything else, what we’ve learned is this: Computer science has become foundational for the future across the American economy. This isn’t just a tech issue. This isn’t just an education issue. Computer science education is now an economic and social imperative for the next generation of American students,” Smith writes.

The Microsoft family welcomed a new member this week. The company reached a definitive agreement to acquire SwiftKey, the highly rated, highly engaging software keyboard that powers more than 300 million Android and iOS devices.

“In this cloud-first, mobile-first world, SwiftKey’s technology aligns with our vision for more personal computing experiences that anticipate our needs versus responding to our commands, and directly supports our ambition to reinvent productivity by leveraging the intelligent cloud. SwiftKey estimates that its users have saved nearly 10 trillion keystrokes, across 100 languages, saving more than 100,000 years in combined typing time,” writes Harry Shum, executive vice president of Technology and Research, on the Official Microsoft Blog.

Just in time for this weekend’s Super Bowl, we witnessed the future of the NFL fan experience with HoloLens on the Microsoft Facebook channel. Using virtual reality, fans can step onto the field alongside their favorite teams, without ever leaving their living room.

That’s a wrap for this week’s news highlights from Microsoft. And if you’re the sporting type, a hearty “Go, fight, win!” to whichever team you’re rooting for on Sunday. Me? I’m Team Dachshund.

Jennifer Warnick
Microsoft News Center Staff