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Microsoft pays 5M CHF to ETHZ and EPFL for research on flying robots and new memory architectures

February 7, 2014

ETH Zurich and EPFL are jointly entering into a new research partnership with Microsoft Research. Over five years, Microsoft Research will provide five million Swiss francs of funding to support IT research projects. Microsoft researchers will also work closely with the scientists at the two universities.

Microsoft has been investing in Swiss research for years, and now the US technology company is renewing its longstanding collaboration with EPFL and ETH Zurich. Microsoft will provide one million Swiss francs per year in funding for IT-related research projects at the two universities over a period of five years. The collaboration is a continuation of a project launched in 2008 that focused on embedded technology software solutions and prototypes. The new collaboration will now broaden the areas of computer science and deepen the collaboration between the three partners.

Scientists in Lausanne and Zurich submitted 27 proposals, seven of which were selected by the steering committee. Among the successful projects:

Interacting with flying robots

Otmar Hilliges, a 34-year-old assistant professor, is one of the successful project applicants. The young computer scientist from ETH Zurich studies the interaction between people and computers. For his project, he and Dr. Shahram Izadi from Microsoft Research are investigating how flying robots can work and interact with people in active scenarios. Specifically, they want to develop a platform that enables flying robots to do more than just recognise people and navigate their way around them. Thanks to their algorithms, the robots should be able to react to gestures and touch as well.

Energy-efficient memory systems

At the EcoCloud center at EPFL, Dr. Edouard Bugnion and Professor Babak Falsafi are carrying out research into energy-efficient memory architectures for data centres that can handle huge amounts of data. To do this, they are combining thousands of energy-efficient micro-servers in a way that enables them to access the memories of the other servers with a minimal time delay. The two computer scientists are working with Dr. Dushyanth Narayanan and other scientists from Microsoft Research in Cambridge to develop new applications for this system, known as Scale-out NUMA.

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