Microsoft has launched a new umbrella under its Microsoft Research division that aims to be “The future from an alternative perspective”. Aptly called Microsoft ALT, the new website compiles research projects that Microsoft deems as alternative.
It seems the project highlighted on the Microsoft ALT website can come from varying niches considering the range of the initial five projects. According to WalkingCat on Twitter, Microsoft has also trademarked the ALT title.
Microsoft waxes lyrical about the concept of ALT:
“The future is discovered in the unexpected. It’s found where no one has thought to look. And where no one, yet, has had the courage to go.”
Those lofty words essentially mean Microsoft ALT will look to highlight ongoing research projects. There are currently 5 projects on the site: Exploring AI at Scale, Building a Planetary Computer, Fusing Art and Science, Optics of the Cloud and Biological Computing.
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) July 2, 2020
It is worth noting when you head into one of these projects, there is not a specific line of research. Instead, Microsoft is providing an overview of innovations in these areas. For example, the Exploring AI at Scale section highlights how AI and language models are evolving:
“Training AI models of this magnitude requires a massive infrastructure. We’ve built this large-scale infrastructure on the Azure AI platform composed of huge clusters of thousands of Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) for AI acceleration, interconnected with the latest high-bandwidth networks inside each server and across all servers.”
It seems that the projects chart Microsoft’s progress and ongoing research in certain areas of innovation. Still, it’s a nice collection and worth checking out.