Microsoft Research delves into economics

You might think Microsoft’s research centers would be all about software, security, mobile technology and the like, but the company’s New England research group highlights in its year-end wrap-up the work it has done in areas such as economics, biology and maybe less surprisingly, social media.

Jennifer Chayes, the head of Microsoft Research New England, writes: “Economics has grown substantially at our lab this year. We’ve welcomed our first full-time economist, Markus Mobius. We’ve seen tremendous growth and success in our Empirical Economics program, headed by our chief economist, Susan Athey, and Mobius. We now have many Empirical Economics projects concerning our online-services data—from the effects of news aggregators on local news consumption to the effects of currency fluctuations on advertising revenue. We also have some exciting ongoing projects in empirical health-care economics. There are more than a dozen external economists actively engaged with us in projects using Microsoft data.”

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Microsoft’s other research group heads have also posted recaps of happenings at their labs in 2011. Among them:

*Microsoft Research Asia highlights its work with Kinect, Bing and a paper on a networking technology called ServerSwitch.

*Microsoft Research Europe writes about its advances in systems assurance, data analytics and a cloud infrastrucure for science called Venus-C.

*Microsoft Research Israel touted its work on computer vision, work that made its way into products such as Kinect and Windows Phone.

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