Microsoft launches a new archival storage option for Azure

 Microsoft introduced a new storage option for its Azure cloud computing platform in preview today: the Azure Archive Blob Storage. This will give developers a cheaper alternative for the long-term storage of large amounts of archival data like logs, raw camera footage, audio recordings, transcripts and medical documents and images. This new tier joins the existing hot and cool blob storage… Read More

Microsoft Brainwave aims to accelerate deep learning with FPGAs

 This afternoon Microsoft announced Brainwave, an FPGA-based system for ultra-low latency deep learning in the cloud. Early benchmarking indicates that when using Intel Stratix 10 FPGAs, Brainwave can sustain 39.5 Teraflops on a large gated recurrent unit without any batching. Microsoft has been pouring resources into FPGAs for a while now, deploying large clusters of the field-programmable… Read More

Microsoft’s speech recognition system hits a new accuracy milestone

 Microsoft announced today that its conversational speech recognition system has reached a 5.1% error rate, its lowest so far. This surpasses the 5.9% error rate reached last year by a group of researchers from Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research and puts its accuracy on par with professional human transcribers who have advantages like the ability to listen to text several times. Read More

Skype’s much-debated redesign hits the desktop

 In June, Microsoft introduced a completely revamped version of its Skype app, designed with a heavier focus on media-sharing, and other social expression tools, like emoji, reactions, and even a Snapchat-like stories feature. Now that new experience is rolling out to desktop users, but in a more limited fashion, Microsoft announced this morning. The new desktop app introduces an updated… Read More

Microsoft launches Azure Event Grid, a fully managed event routing service

 Microsoft announced a new product in its Azure line-up in preview today that will make it easier for developers to build event-based applications. The Azure Event Grid makes events (like uploading a picture or video, clicking a button, updating a database, etc.) first-class Azure objects. Event Grid complements Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft’s existing serverless offerings. Read More

Microsoft’s autonomous gliders seek out thermal updrafts to stay aloft

 Microsoft wants to build autonomous tech for aircraft that require little to no power to fly. It just completed tests in the Nevada desert of gliders equipped with self-guidance systems that help them track regions of rising hot air and predict their movement, with the aim of staying up in the air for as long as possible. These tests showed that Microsoft’s system for riding the wind holds… Read More