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Faster Servers, Services with FlashStore

Doug Gantenbein: Memory has its faults—and not only the human variety.

Hard drives, for instance, can hold terabytes cheaply. But they’re slow. Random-access memory (RAM) is fast but expensive, and data in RAM disappear the instant the power goes off. Flash memory is faster than hard drives and cheaper than RAM, and it retains information. But the way it handles data writes handicaps its usefulness in server environments.

Still, the distinct advantages of flash—particularly its ability to retain data when power is off, as well as its speed—led two Microsoft Research scientists, Sudipta Sengupta and Jin Li, to develop what they call FlashStore. It’s a flash-based “bridge” between RAM and a hard drive that helps to overcome the handicaps of each while maximizing flash memory’s capabilities and minimizing its weaknesses...

Project Emporia: The Personal News Page

Ralf Herbrich estimates that more than 250,000 English-language news articles are posted online every 24 hours, and that is a conservative figure.

Herbrich, director of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences Lab (FUSE Lab) in Cambridge, U.K., is well-acquainted with statistics on news feeds, tweets, and traffic volumes, thanks to his work on Project Emporia, an experimental web service that sifts through news streams in real time to bring stories of interest to users, categorized by topic area and ranked for relevance...

Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

Mary Jo Foley: Microsoft Research has made available for download a developer preview of its Windows Phone 7 + Cloud Services Software Development Kit (SDK).

The new SDK is related to Project Hawaii, a mobile research initiative which I’ve blogged about before. Hawaii is about using the cloud to enhance mobile devices. The “building blocks” for Hawaii applications/services include computation (Windows Azure); storage (Windows Azure); authentication (Windows Live ID); notification; client-back-up; client-code distribution and location (Orion)...

Microsoft Research Collaborates With Wikipedia to Enhance Multilingual Content

Microsoft Research today announced the launch of the beta version of WikiBhasha, a multilingual content creation tool for Wikipedia. The WikiBhasha tool enables contributors to Wikipedia to find content from other Wikipedia articles, translate the content into other languages, and then either compose new articles or enhance existing articles in multilingual Wikipedias.

The WikiBhasha beta is available as an open source MediaWiki extension, under the Apache License 2.0 at http://svn.wikimedia.org/viewvc/mediawiki/trunk/extensions/WikiBhasha, and as a user gadget in Wikipedia. The tool is also available as an installable bookmarklet at http://www.wikibhasha.org, which is hosted on the Windows Azure platform from Microsoft Corp. The name WikiBhasha derives from the well-known term “wiki,” denoting collaboration, and “bhasha,” which means “language” in Hindi and Sanskrit.