Education Underground Workshop, ‘Future Visions’ and Connect(); – Weekend Reading: Nov. 20 edition

 |   Athima Chansanchai

Welcome back to another installment of Weekend Reading! We had a big week on several fronts, such as education, research and innovations for developers.

Microsoft hosted a group of educators, students and industry leaders on Monday through the Education Underground Workshop, which highlighted the company’s commitment to make learning more engaging and accessible, while empowering every student on the planet to achieve more. The event at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus followed an earlier unveiling of a new “Minecraft” coding tutorial by Microsoft and Code.org. Microsoft also announced a new partnership with edX to create more courses for school leaders and provide greater access to Microsoft’s current resources for principals, superintendents and other school leaders. Read the full story by Vanessa Ho.

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On Tuesday, Microsoft released an anthology inspired by the work Microsoft researchers are doing. “Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft,” is available to anyone as a free download. Check out the story behind the making of the book.

“The idea was to bring authors in to expose them to what some people might think is science fiction. In a way, you could say the world of Microsoft Research turns science fiction into science fact,” says Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft. “We didn’t show them a piece of technology and ask them to please write about that. We showed them technology and introduced them to a group of people, and then asked them, what did it spark in your mind as ideas, where did it inspire you to think the technology may go?”

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Microsoft took a high-profile step at last year’s Connect(); virtual event for developers by unveiling plans to open source .NET on Linux and Mac and introducing the free Visual Studio Community for targeting any device and any operating system. At this year’s Connect();, the company is reinforcing its commitment by adding innovation to tools that existing customers will love, making powerful tools more open and flexible, and providing new ways for more devs to access Microsoft tools. Read Thomas Kohnstamm’s feature story about it. Also check out this story by Suzanne Choney about people who found success by using these collaborative tools.

Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Microsoft Data Group
Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Microsoft Data Group

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Coca-Cola partnered with Microsoft to create an original experience inspired by How-Old.net. Coke fans are invited to upload a photo that includes a glass contour Coke bottle, or simply the bottle itself, to How-Old.net to unlock a surprise.

“We’re onto something that is relatively unique,” says Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Data Group, which includes the team of engineers who built the Machine Learning and Big Data capabilities that are the heart of Cortana Analytics Suite. Developers on his team were the ones who came up with How-Old.net. Sirosh’s team also worked on the challenge issued by Coca-Cola to take the How-Old.net app one step further by recognizing specific objects, such as a contoured glass Coca-Cola bottle, in pictures users upload.

Find out more through the full story behind this collaboration between Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

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On Tuesday, at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington, D.C., Microsoft announced plans to enhance its protection of customer data with the new Cyber Defense Operations Center, and the new Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group. The state-of-the-art Cyber Defense Operations Center brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real time, writes Bret Arsenault, Microsoft chief information security officer. To find out more, read his post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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This week on the Microsoft Instagram channel, we checked in with Estella Pyfrom. Last year, she was featured in Microsoft’s Super Bowl ad with her Brilliant Bus, which brings internet and digital education to schools and community centers. As a CNN Hero, Pyfrom has brought technology to more than 60,000 children in underserved neighborhoods.

That’s it for this edition! See you next week for another Weekend Reading.

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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