New business offerings unveiled, Microsoft researchers help set DNA storage record — Weekend Reading: July 8 edition

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With the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource, Microsoft on Wednesday took a big step toward achieving its broader vision for the future of business process apps. Available this fall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 evolves Microsoft’s current CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions, including: Financials, Field Service, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Customer Service.

There’s also a number of updates that will enable customers to gain greater intelligence from their data, build apps with embedded intelligence and deliver more predictive analytics. These include Power BI Embedded, Power BI publish to web general availability and a preview of the Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts program.

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We also saw the debut Tuesday of free Skype Meetings, a new online meetings tool that provides small businesses with real-time audio and HD video conferencing. Skype Meetings includes collaboration features like the ability to share screens and content during meetings. You can also quickly set up meetings and share a personalized URL that participants click to join the meeting.

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An early but important milestone in DNA storage has been reached: storing 200 megabytes of data on the molecular strands. Researchers from the Microsoft and the University of Washington say the impressive part isn’t just the amount of data they encoded onto synthetic DNA and then decoded. It’s also the space they were able to store it in.  Once encoded, the data occupied a spot in a test tube “much smaller than the tip of a pencil,” says Douglas Carmean, the partner architect at Microsoft overseeing the project.

Microsoft’s Katja Hofmann and Matthew Johnson say Project Malmo could help speed artificial intelligence research. Photo by Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures.
Microsoft’s Katja Hofmann and Matthew Johnson say Project Malmo could help speed artificial intelligence research. Photo by Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft has also made Project Malmo, a platform that uses the world of “Minecraft” as a testing ground for advanced artificial intelligence research, available for programmers on GitHub via an open-source license. The system, which had until now only been open to a small group of computer scientists in private preview, is primarily designed to help researchers develop sophisticated, more general AI, that can do things like learn, hold conversations, make decisions and complete complex tasks.

Save 35 percent on "Rise of the Tomb Raider" through the Ultimate Game Sale
Save 35 percent on “Rise of the Tomb Raider” through the Ultimate Game Sale

From the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store, we celebrated the beginning of Anime Month, which brings big discounts, free TV episodes and more. Also check out the Ultimate Game Sale, running through July 11. For the first time it will include more than 250 deals from Windows 10 and Xbox, including a savings of up to 35 to 50 percent on Windows 10 Games. The Windows Experience Blog checks out some of those amazing deals.

The WPC 2016 mobile app integrates with your registration info and WPC Connect profile to bring the WPC experience to your mobile device. Build your personalized schedule, access conference maps, submit session evaluations and keep the conference agenda in your pocket at all times. Find other ways to prepare for the Worldwide Partner Conference, which begins July 10.

That’s it for our round-up. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff