Redmond-based Microsoft will be opening a new research lab in New York City. To work on the new lab are a solid, well-experienced group of scientists who have been formerly working for Yahoo. Apparently, the team of scientists, all of 15 of them, was absorbed by Microsoft following the shedding of 2,000 employees – at Yahoo last month. The team includes researchers like Duncan Watts (online social behavior), John Langford (machine learning), and David Pennock (prediction markets). To manage the new lab in New York will be mathematical physicist Jennifer Chayes, who also leads the Microsoft’s research center in Cambridge.
So why Microsoft? “Microsoft is a fantastic place for research because it balances the academic and the product-impact sides,” David Pennock said. Furthermore, he said that his Yahoo colleagues like the combination of unfettered research [at Microsoft] with the huge potential for making an impact in the real world – another vital factor in their decision to work for the software giant. Of course, Microsoft seems to be the perfect place to play. It has a growing portfolio of data sources that provide a fertile ground for research such as the Bing search engine. Microsoft also has the Xbox Live online game network and the recently acquired Internet phone service, Skype.