Ron in India, Day 4: Microsoft TechVista 2006

India's geography goes digital and a 72 year old pleases the crowd.

January 13, 2006

2 Min Read
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Ron AndersonToday I attended Microsoft's TechVista 2006 symposium in Bangalore. This is the second annual conference; the first coincided with the opening of Microsoft's Indian research office last year. Microsoft Research India started the day by unveiling a prototype of a digital map of India, a project they are working on in conjunction with the Survey of India part of India's Department of Science and Technology. Think of the digital map as a combination of Google street maps overlaid with satellite imagery with a Wikipedia aspect that enables users to annotate specific elements of the map, by adding details about their favorite restaurant for example.

The goal is to emphasize localization by enabling people speaking any of India's 114 languages to have equal access to the site. The prototype unveiled today includes 4 languages and includes general information about India and more detailed information about Bangalore. You can learn more about this project here. The prototype should be available online in a couple of days.

Overall the symposium had a decidedly academic feel. Many of the presentation were made by researchers from major research universities like Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Topics included the Million Book Digital Library (Raj Reddy, Carnegie Mellon), the Aphasia Project (Maria Klawe, Princeton) and the Digital Human (Takeo Kanade, Carnegie Mellon). The content of the symposium was very good. My favorite presenter was Sir Tony Hoare who developed the Quicksort algorithm. His humor and humility won over the entire audience-not an easy feat for a 72 year-old speaking to a group with an average age of 25. Come to think of it, I felt a little out of place.

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