Celebrating Computer Science Education Week, sharing predictions and empowering professionals — Weekend Reading: Dec. 9 edition

Dec 9, 2016   |   Vanessa Ho

It was an exciting week at Microsoft, with STEM education support, LinkedIn news, WinHEC in China and predictions for the new year. Let’s catch up.

Black-and-white portraits of 17 female Microsoft researchers

To celebrate Computer Science Education Week and counteract the dearth of women in computing fields, 17 female researchers at Microsoft shared their predictions for 2017 and 2027.

They included Kalika Bali in India, who says speech and language technology applications will become more multilingual next year, and Susan Dumais in Redmond, Washington, who says deep learning in search and information retrieval will come of age. A fascinating read, the story is also terrific inspiration for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.

For even more inspiration, a story this week of two women who learned to code highlighted the life-changing nature of computer science beyond ones and zeroes.

Heba Nayef at a desk
Heba Nayef

“Coding teaches you about teamwork, logical thinking and how you can create something out of nothing. You learn how to push through the unknown. Nothing is too big to tackle,” said Heba Nayef, who left Syria in 2012, studied computer engineering and now manages apps and websites for a creative agency.

Microsoft continued its longtime support of Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code this year with a new “Minecraft” tutorial, free workshops at Microsoft Stores and helpful coding resources for students and educators.

Two girls work on Surface devices in a workshop

Microsoft researchers also received major honors this week, with eight computer scientists being named Fellows of the Association of Computing Machinery, the world’s largest computing society. The organization also named five Microsoft researchers to its list of Distinguished Members.

The honors recognize significant contributions and impact to computer science across a range of disciplines, and highlight the “tremendous respect, reputation and visibility of Microsoft researchers in the external scientific and engineering community,” said Jeannette Wing, corporate vice president, Microsoft Research.

Abigail Sellen
Abigail Sellen, deputy director and a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, was one of eight Microsoft researchers honored as a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery. (Photo by Jonathan Banks)

Also this week, Microsoft announced it has completed the acquisition of LinkedIn, the world’s largest and most valuable professional network, in a journey to empower professionals around the world to achieve more.

The acquisition brings together “the world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network to deliver more connected, productive and intelligent experiences for our members and customers,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an Influencer article on LinkedIn.

Satya Nadella and Jeff Weiner
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, left, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner

Over in China, Terry Myerson, Microsoft executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, announced new innovation opportunities in mixed reality, gaming and cellular PCs at the WinHEC conference in the city of Shenzhen. Windows 10 updates and new partnerships with Intel and Qualcomm will empower the next wave of modern devices and creativity.

Microsoft also announced its 2017 event lineup, with Microsoft Build coming to Seattle May 10-12. The Worldwide Partner Conference, now called Microsoft Inspire, will be July 9-13 in Washington, D.C. And Microsoft Envision will become part of Microsoft Ignite, scheduled for Sept. 25-29.

Promo images of “Captain America: Civil War,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Game of Thrones”In app news for the week, the Windows Store has a Best of 2016 collection of the biggest movies and TV shows of the year. “Pinball FX2 Windows 10 Editionadded new environments based on “Fallout,” “DOOM” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” And you can deck the halls with boughs of zombies with “Dead Rising 4” now available for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.

Childish Gambino fans got a treat, with a new 360-degree video of him (real name: Donald Glover) singing “Me and Your Mama.” The video is a preview of an immersive, digital experience that Childish Gambino and Microsoft are creating to take viewers into the three-day “PHAROS” concert he did this year at the Joshua Tree National Park in California.

And finally this week, Microsoft’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages highlighted the company’s “Art of Harmony Holiday” ad campaign, which showcases seven people who overcame adversity to stand up for their beliefs.

Depicted using Microsoft products, including the Surface Studio, the kids, artists, activists and entrepreneurs celebrate the campaign’s message of unity, peace, beauty and hope.

People hold hands in front of a colorful mural of two faces and words "peace" and "love always"

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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