Building bridges at OSCON

Posted by Tony Hey 
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research

Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak to many passionate members of the open source community at OSCON 2009 (short for ‘Open Source Convention’)  in San Jose, Calif.  While Microsoft was engaged in this event at many levels, the goal of my presentation was to shed light on some of the external research projects Microsoft Research is engaged in, since so much of this work involves collaborating with scientists and academic researchers throughout the world.  Simply put, some challenges are too complex for one entity to tackle alone, and it’s clear we all need to come together in order to drive true innovation to address global -challenges confronting our health, knowledge and environment.


In my talk, I discussed the organic nature of Microsoft’s open collaboration with the external research community, and described how these programs  often surface in response to research needs and the demands of continuing innovation. Recent examples of such collaborative efforts at Microsoft Research are open tools like Project Trident and the Ontology Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007.  In both cases, we contributed our technology and innovation to support the widely shared goals  of fueling scientific discovery and propelling research and education forward.

It’s been an enriching week, and I am inspired by those I have encountered across the industry who share our passion for innovation and groundbreaking research. I believe that to really make a valuable contribution, and to effectively collaborate, one needs to understand and work the way a particular community is used to working. The onus is on all of us to show up with the desire to learn and work together to solve the complex challenges that affect us all.


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