In late March 2016, the company demonstrated a machine reading system capable of answering arbitrary questions about J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Maluuba's natural language understanding technology is used by several consumer electronic brands for over 50 million devices.
|Industry||Artificial Intelligence, Natural language processing|
Maluuba was founded by two undergraduate students from the University of Waterloo, Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman. Their initial proof of concept was a program that allowed users to search for flights using their voice.
In February 2012, the company secured $2 million in seed funding from Samsung Ventures.
Since 2013, Maluuba has partnered with several companies in the smart phone, smart TV, automotive and IoT space.
By 2016 the company employed more than fifty people, and had published fifteen peer-reviewed research papers focused on language understanding.
On January 13, 2017, Maluuba announced they had been acquired by Microsoft for $140M. In July 2017, according to the reports, Maluuba closed its Kitchener-Waterloo office and moved employees to its Montreal office.
Maluuba's research centre opened in Montreal, Quebec in December 2015. The lab is advised by Yoshua Bengio (University of Montreal) and Richard Sutton (University of Alberta). The lab has published fifteen peer-reviewed papers discussing some of its recent research. The lab also partners with the University of Montreal MILA lab and McGill University.
Maluuba has achieved 80% accuracy on the machine reading benchmark MCTest, outperforming other word-matching approaches by 8%, and surpassed the previous benchmark set for deep learning techniques, the DSTC2, by 3%, bringing it to 83%.
In June 2016, the company demonstrated a program called EpiReader which outperformed Facebook and Google in machine comprehension tests. Several research teams were able to match Maluuba's results since the paper was released. EpiReader made use of two large datasets, the CNN/Daily Mail dataset released by Google DeepMind, comprising over 300,000 news articles; and the Children's Book Test, posted by Facebook Research, made up of 98 children’s books open sourced under Project Gutenberg.
The company has published research findings into dialogue systems which comprises natural language understanding, state tracking, and natural language generation. Maluuba published a research paper on policy manager (decision maker) where the system is rewarded for a correct decision. In 2016, Maluuba also freely released the Frames dataset, which is a large human-generated corpus of conversations.
The company conducts research into reinforcement learning in which intelligent agents are motivated to take actions within a set environment in order to maximize a reward. The research team has also published several papers on scalability.
Numerous applications for Maluuba's technology have been proposed in industry with several applications being commercialized.
One of the first applications of Maluuba's natural language technology has been the smartphone assistant. These systems allow users to speak to their phone and get direct results to their question (instead of merely seeing a sea of blue web links that point to possible answers to their question). The company raised $9M in 2015 to bring their voice assistant technology to automotive and IOT sectors.
Maluuba also offers a Google Chrome extension, NewsQA, that uses deep learning algorithms to read through news articles in order to answer questions posed by the user.
Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. It is a primary goal of some artificial intelligence research and a common topic in science fiction and future studies. Some researchers refer to Artificial general intelligence as "strong AI", "full AI" or as the ability of a machine to perform "general intelligent action"; others reserve "strong AI" for machines capable of experiencing consciousness.
Some references emphasize a distinction between strong AI and "applied AI" (also called "narrow AI" or "weak AI"): the use of software to study or accomplish specific problem solving or reasoning tasks. Weak AI, in contrast to strong AI, does not attempt to perform the full range of human cognitive abilities.
As of 2017, over forty organizations worldwide are doing active research on AGI.AutoCollage 2008
AutoCollage 2008 is a Microsoft photomontage desktop application. The software creates a collage of representative elements from a set of images. It is able to detect faces and recognize objects.The software was developed by Microsoft Research labs in Cambridge, England and launched on September 4, 2008.
An update, named Microsoft Research AutoCollage 2008 version 1.1, was released on February, 2009. The software update adds the ability to select images for the AutoCollage, a richer integration with Windows Live Photo Gallery, support for network folders and the ability to define custom output sizes.
A new version, named Microsoft Research AutoCollage Touch 2009, was released on September 2009, and included by some OEMs on machines with Windows 7.Bing Audio
Bing Audio (also known as Bing Music) is a music recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. On Windows Phone 8.1, and in regions where the Microsoft Cortana voice assistant is available, Bing Music is integrated with Cortana and the music search history is a part of Cortana's "Notebook". The service is only designed to recognize recorded songs, not live performances or humming. Xbox Music Pass subscribers can immediately add the songs to their playlists. A unique feature compared to similar services is that Bing Audio continuously listens and analyzes music while most other services can only listen for a fixed amount of time. Bing Research developed a fingerprinting algorithm to identify songs.On March 30, 2016 Microsoft announced that they'll create bots based on Bing features in Skype of which Bing Music was one.Bing Vision
Bing Vision is an image recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. It is a part of the Bing Mobile suite of services, and on most devices can be accessed using the search button. On Windows Phone 8.1 devices where Microsoft Cortana is available, it is only available through the lenses of the Camera app (as the search button now activates Cortana). Bing Vision can scan barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, books, CDs, and DVDs. Books, CDs, and DVDs are offered through Bing Shopping.Encarta
Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. Originally sold on CD-ROM or DVD, it was also later available on the World Wide Web via an annual subscription – although later many articles could also be viewed free online with advertisements. By 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive content, timelines, maps, atlases and homework tools.
Microsoft published similar encyclopedias under the Encarta trademark in various languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Localized versions contained contents licensed from national sources and more or less content than the full English version. For example, the Dutch version had content from the Dutch Winkler Prins encyclopedia.
In March 2009, Microsoft announced it was discontinuing both the Encarta disc and online versions. The MSN Encarta site was closed on October 31, 2009 in all countries except Japan, where it was closed on December 31, 2009. Microsoft continued to operate the Encarta online dictionary until 2011.High Capacity Color Barcode
High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a technology developed by Microsoft for encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels conventionally associated with 2D barcodes or QR codes. Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard, and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application.
The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace conventional barcodes. "'It's more of a 'partner' barcode', he said. 'The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space.'"List of mergers and acquisitions by Microsoft
Microsoft is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions. Established on April 4, 1975 to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems. Microsoft would also come to dominate the office suite market with Microsoft Office. The company has diversified in recent years into the video game industry with the Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One, as well as into the consumer electronics and digital services market with Zune, MSN and the Windows Phone OS.
The company's initial public offering was held on March 14, 1986. The stock, which eventually closed at US$27.75 a share, peaked at $29.25 a share shortly after the market opened for trading. After the offering, Microsoft had a market capitalization of $519.777 million. Microsoft has subsequently acquired 217 companies, purchased stakes in 64 companies, and made 25 divestments. Of the companies that Microsoft has acquired, 107 were based in the United States. Microsoft has not released financial details for most of these mergers and acquisitions.
Since Microsoft's first acquisition in 1987, it has purchased an average of six companies a year. The company purchased more than ten companies a year between 2005 and 2008, and it acquired 18 firms in 2006, the most in a single year, including Onfolio, Lionhead Studios, Massive Incorporated, ProClarity, Winternals Software, and Colloquis. Microsoft has made ten acquisitions worth over one billion dollars: Skype (2011), aQuantive (2007), Fast Search & Transfer (2008), Navision (2002), Visio Corporation (2000), Yammer (2012), Nokia's mobile and devices division (2013), Mojang (2014), LinkedIn (2016) and GitHub (2018).
Microsoft has also purchased several stakes valued at more than a billion dollars. It obtained an 11.5% stake in Comcast for $1 billion, a 22.98% stake in Telewest for $2.263 billion, and a 3% stake in AT&T for $5 billion. Among Microsoft's divestments, in which parts of the company are sold to another company, only Expedia Group was sold for more than a billion dollars; USA Networks purchased the company on February 5, 2002 for $1.372 billion.Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office (or simply Office) is a family of client software, server software, and services developed by Microsoft. It was first announced by Bill Gates on August 1, 1988, at COMDEX in Las Vegas. Initially a marketing term for an office suite (bundled set of productivity applications), the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. On July 10, 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. Office Online is a version of the software that runs within a web browser, while Microsoft also maintains Office apps for Android and iOS.
Since Office 2013, Microsoft has promoted Office 365 as the primary means of obtaining Microsoft Office: it allows use of the software and other services on a subscription business model, and users receive free feature updates to the software for the lifetime of the subscription, including new features and cloud computing integration that are not necessarily included in the "on-premises" releases of Office sold under conventional license terms. In 2017, revenue from Office 365 overtook conventional license sales.
The current on-premises, desktop version of Office is Office 2019, released on September 24, 2018.Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store is a chain of retail stores and an online shopping site, owned and operated by Microsoft and dealing in computers, computer software and consumer electronics.
The Microsoft Store offers Signature PCs and tablets like the Microsoft Surface and from third parties such as HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and VAIO without demos or trialware (pre-installed free trials of certain third-party software that expire after a limited time). It also offers Windows (most retail versions), Microsoft Office and Xbox One game consoles, games and services including on-site Xbox diagnostics. The Answers Desk helps to answer questions related to Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products. The stores also offer class sessions as well as individual appointments.
The first two Microsoft Stores opened within a week of the Windows 7 launch, in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California. Additional stores have since opened in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington. At the 2011 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that they intend to open 75 new stores in the next three years.The first store outside the U.S. (and the first of eight stores in Canada) opened in Toronto on November 16, 2012 while the first store outside North America (and first store in Asia-Pacific and second flagship store) opened in Sydney, Australia on November 12, 2015 In September 2017, the company announced a store on Regent Street in London, United Kingdom .Microsoft Student
Microsoft Student is a discontinued application from Microsoft designed to help students in schoolwork and homework. It included Encarta, as well as several student-exclusive tools such as additional Microsoft Office templates (called Learning Essentials) and integration with other Microsoft applications, like Microsoft Word. An example of that is data citations, Encarta dictionary and research Encarta features, which are available in a toolbar in Word.
The product also included Microsoft Math, language and literature resources (book summaries), and research tools (such as access to an online version of Encarta). Student 2006 was the first version of the product and a new version was produced by Microsoft every year until 2009.
Microsoft announced in March 2009 that they will cease to sell Microsoft Student and all editions of the Encarta encyclopedia by June 2009, citing changes in the way people seek information and in the traditional encyclopedia and reference material market as the key reasons behind the termination. Encarta's closing is widely attributed to competition from the larger online encyclopedia Wikipedia.Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is a competitor to services such as Slack and is the evolution and upgrade path from Microsoft Skype for Business.
Microsoft announced Teams at an event in New York, and launched the service worldwide on 14 March 2017. It was created, and is currently led, by Brian MacDonald, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.Satya Nadella
Satya Narayana Nadella (; born 19 August 1967) is an Indian-American business executive. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014. Before becoming chief executive, he was Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms.Surface Studio
The Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC, designed and produced by Microsoft as part of its Surface series of Windows-based personal computing devices. It was announced at the Windows 10 Devices Event on October 26, 2016, with pre-orders beginning that day.The first desktop computer to be manufactured entirely by Microsoft, the Surface Studio uses the Windows 10 operating system with the Anniversary Update preinstalled. However, it is optimized for the Windows 10 Creators Update, which was released on April 11, 2017. The product, starting at $2,999, is aimed primarily at people in creative professions such as graphic artists and designers.Surface Studio 2
The Surface Studio 2 is an all-in-one PC, designed and produced by Microsoft as part of its Surface series of Windows-based personal computing devices. It was announced at the Windows 10 Devices Event on October 2, 2018, with pre-orders beginning that day.The second desktop computer to be manufactured entirely by Microsoft, the Surface Studio uses the Windows 10 operating system with the October 2018 update preinstalled. The product, starting at $3,499, is aimed primarily at people in creative professions such as graphic artists and designers.Voice Mate
Voice Mate formerly called Quick Voice and later on as Q Voice is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which is only available as a built-in application for various LG smartphones. The application uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services. It is based on the Maluuba personal assistant.Some of the capabilities of Voice Mate include making appointments, opening apps, setting alarms, updating social network websites such as Facebook or Twitter and navigation. Voice Mate also offers efficient multitasking as well as automatic activation features, for example when the car engine is started.