Microsoft Research's new Special Projects Group is tasked with working on disruptive technologies that could benefit both the company and society.
The Special Projects Group is being led by Norman Whitaker, who previously was the program manager for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Urban Challenge program, which focused on self-driving vehicles and other automated bots.
Although the bulk of Microsoft Research aims to advance the state of the art in computing through a combination of basic and applied research, the Special Projects Group is specifically focused on disruptive next-generation technologies, similar to the Google X research initiative.
Microsoft says the Special Projects Group researchers will focus on hard and interesting problems in the areas of systems, networking, distributed computing, UX design, devices, cloud, mobility, machine learning and artificial intelligence, big data, and data center technologies.
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