Bing’s March Madness predictor, game development on Azure and Microsoft’s solar energy partnership — Weekend Reading: March 18 edition

Thanks for tuning in for another edition of Weekend Reading. Recent excitement surrounds using Bing to predict your March Madness bracket, Azure as the backend cloud solution of choice for game developers, a Microsoft Research platform that uses “Minecraft” to test AIs applications Microsoft partnering on a solar power project in Virginia and more.

March Madness fans are turning to Bing Predicts to devise their bracket based on machine learning that analyzes social and search signals and more than a decade of extensive NCAA statistical data. Last year, Bing’s smarter bracket picked 73 percent of the games correctly and finished in the top 30 percent of all brackets nationwide. Find out more about the smarter bracket and Bing’s March Madness predictions on Bing Blogs and also learn about the March Madness app.

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Popular adventure and puzzle game “Draw a Stickman: EPIC 2” lets users collaborate to draw and share inventive characters, tools and weapons. Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform is a key component of the game’s functionality, mobility, scalability and performance. For game developers around the world, Azure is the backend cloud solution of choice, helping them launch and grow their games with a reliable, open platform and easy-to-use services for scaling and managing user spikes. Read the full story on Microsoft News Center.

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AIX, a platform developed by Katja Hofmann and her colleagues in Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K., lab and unveiled publicly on Monday, allows computer scientists to use the world of “Minecraft” as a testing ground for improving artificial intelligence. Microsoft researchers are using AIX for their own research, and they have made it available to a small group of academic researchers under a private beta. This summer, AIX will be available via an open-source license. Read more about AIX on Next at Microsoft.

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As part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality, the company has joined a public-private partnership that will bring 20 megawatts of new solar energy onto the grid in Virginia. Microsoft is excited about this innovative partnership model and looks forward to expanding on the new approach. Learn more about this deal and Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing access to renewable power sources on the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Twitter for Windows 10 is now available for your phone, with new features that make connecting with people and expressing yourself more seamless than ever.

From your phone, you can explore Moments, a feature that shows the best of what’s happening on Twitter. You can also send group Direct Messages; shoot, edit and tweet video from your camera; share a tweet and easily add a comment; and see top tweets without logging in. The updated app joins the Twitter Windows 10 app released last year for PCs and tablets.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we traveled to Buffalo, New York, where we welcomed BAK USA to the Windows family. In Buffalo, they’ve started a tech revolution by foregoing the assembly line and building each tablet by hand.

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That’s it for this week. Thanks for joining us. Hope to see you for Weekend Reading again next Friday.

Thomas Kohnstamm
Microsoft News Center