Microsoft takes Manhattan, recruits former Yahoo researchers for new NYC lab

Jennifer Chayes will head up the NYC lab, in addition to her current role as managing director of Microsoft Research New England..

Microsoft Research is opening a new lab in New York City, seeding it with a group of former Yahoo researchers who have made their mark in social networks, computational economics and data-intensive machine learning — hot areas of computer science that Microsoft hopes will ultimately help make its products more competitive.

Fifteen researchers will be brought on board to start the lab. The move follows recent layoffs at Yahoo.

Microsoft announced the news tonight, saying that the new office will be run by Jennifer Chayes, giving her oversight of the New York City lab and the New England lab, which she had previously been running.

One of the Yahoo veterans, computer scientist David Pennock, an economics specialist, will serve as the New York lab’s assistant managing director.

Joining him will be former Yahoo scientists including Duncan Watts, a sociologist who has written books including “Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age” and “Everything Is Obvious*: Once You Know the Answer”; and John Langford, an expert in machine learning.

Yahoo, which partners with Microsoft in web search and advertising, last month laid off 2,000 employees, or 14 percent of its workforce, the first in a series of cutbacks expected under new CEO Scott Thompson.

Microsoft Research now has 13 labs around the world and more than 850 Ph.D. researchers total.

  • andria john

    Microsoft announced the news tonight, saying that the new office will be run by Jennifer Chayes, giving her oversight of the New York City lab and the New England lab

  • Guest

    “Microsoft Research now has 13 labs around the world and more than 850 Ph.D. researchers total.”

    Yet nobody sees them as a leader in innovation, and the company hasn’t had a single significant success in any of the industry waves of the last decade, including web 1.0, web 2.0, social, and mobile.

    • Guest

      That’s because Microsoft Research doesn’t actually do anything meaningful. In all the years and for all the money sunk into them, the only thing that has turned into a real product is Kinect.

      If you need to see how out of touch with reality they are, remember they’re Craig “I think tablets are a fad” Mundie’s pet group.
      Danah Boyd is a good example (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/dmb/). When you look at what she does, you can’t tell who she works for. Nothing she’s done actually helps make better products.