Newly updated Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit can help speed advances in deep learning

Photo of Frank Seide standing at the top of a stairway at Microsoft

Microsoft has released an updated version of Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, a system for deep learning that is used to speed advances in areas such as speech and image recognition and search relevance on CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. The toolkit, previously known as CNTK, was initially developed by computer scientists at Microsoft who wanted a tool to do their own research more quickly and effectively. It quickly moved beyond speech and … Read more »

Historic milestone: Microsoft researchers achieve human parity in conversational speech recognition

Microsoft researchers from the Speech & Dialog research group include, from back left, Wayne Xiong, Geoffrey Zweig, Xuedong Huang, Dong Yu, Frank Seide, Mike Seltzer, Jasha Droppo and Andreas Stolcke. (Photo by Dan DeLong)

Microsoft has made a major breakthrough in speech recognition, creating a technology that understands a conversation as well as a person does. In a paper published Monday, a team of researchers and engineers in Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research reported a speech recognition system that makes the same or fewer errors than professional transcriptionists.  The researchers reported a word  error rate (WER) of 5.9 percent, down from the 6.3 percent WER … Read more »

Microsoft researchers explore using computer science to help ‘solve’ cancer

Sketch of a man's face with a microscope in front of it

At Microsoft’s research labs around the world, computer scientists, programmers, engineers and other experts are trying to crack some of the computer industry’s toughest problems, from system design and security to quantum computing and data visualization. A subset of those scientists, engineers and programmers have a different goal: They’re trying to use computer science to solve one of the most complex and deadly challenges humans face: cancer. “We’re in a … Read more »

Microsoft HoloLens speeds service for thyssenkrupp Elevator, researchers achieve speech recognition milestone and Old Glory Relay kicks off — Weekend Reading: Sept.16 edition

Man wearing HoloLens looks at hologram of elevator system in front of an open elevator shaft

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories on how Microsoft HoloLens is helping thyssenkrupp Elevator service technicians make quicker fixes, how researchers achieved a major milestone in speech recognition and the beginning of the more than 4,200-mile Old Glory Relay, sponsored by Microsoft. Stairs are great for a workout and a necessity during emergencies. But when you need to get up several floors fast, nothing beats an elevator. … Read more »

A hackathon winner crowned, an entrepreneur’s heartfelt motivation and some inspiring careers — Weekend Reading: Aug. 12 edition

Five members of the InstaFact team pose on bright green chairs.

An innovative idea that takes the tedium out of organizing facts, an entrepreneur who risked bankruptcy to help save the woman he loves, and a man’s difficult journey to a career at Microsoft — it’s been a week of inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up the highlights for this latest edition of Weekend Reading. On Tuesday, a team of Microsoft employees was crowned grand prize winner of this year’s … Read more »

Fighting mosquito-borne diseases, celebrating student developers — Weekend Reading: June 24 edition

Ethan Jackson, a Microsoft researcher who is leading Project Premonition. Photo by Brian Smale.

It was another full week at Microsoft, which was busy trapping mosquitoes, celebrating Imagine Cup World finalists and helping small farmers in Mexico turn animal waste into clean energy. Let’s take a look. To help prevent mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika, health officials in Houston’s Harris County are wielding a new mosquito trap that’s part of Microsoft’s broader Project Premonition research project. The innovative prototype was built to automatically do … Read more »

Summer, Spartans, Spark and Sprightly – Weekend Reading: June 10 edition


“S” is for summer – and for Spartans, Spark and Sprightly, three super subjects this week that you won’t want to have missed. (See what we did there?) But first, let’s talk about the terrific trickle-down effect that’s in full swing in the field of data visualization. Seattle broadcaster KING 5 made Puget Sound voters the first in the nation to get a real-time, in-depth look at their local civic … Read more »

Building global connectivity, making music visual and sharing achievements in research — Weekend Reading, May 27 edition

WR feature

From grants to help spread the power of digital technology to a band that’s turning live music into a vivid visual experience, this week brought some interesting and uplifting news around Microsoft. Check out some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading. Microsoft announced 12 winners of the Affordable Access Initiative grants that will receive seed funding and a range of resources to bring digital technology and … Read more »

Helping build healthy families, teaching digital literacy and empowering educators with technology — Weekend Reading: May 13 edition


Windows is partnering with the nonprofit CARE to help build healthy families in poor communities like Saharsa, India, where the infant mortality rate is among the highest in the country. CARE is working to improve health care for pregnant women, new mothers and babies, with the help of the Windows 10 Upgrade Your World initiative, Office and Microsoft Cloud. Windows PCs and Excel are supporting hundreds of community health care … Read more »

‘Inside the Music,’ an Army vet at Microsoft gets White House props and Windows 10 is now on 300 million active devices – Weekend Reading: May 6 edition

Inside the Music, KEXP, Kinect

This week at Microsoft, music is among our muses, an Army vet and self-described “computer nerd” at Microsoft is honored at the White House, and Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. Let’s get it started: New music, new sounds. Over the years, Microsoft has partnered with alternative nonprofit radio station KEXP through the company’s nonprofit software and grant program. And now a special … Read more »