Dinesh C. Sharma
Special to CNET News.com
Microsoft on Wednesday officially opened its research laboratory in Bangalore, India.
The facility, Microsoft Research India, will focus on geographical information systems, multilingual systems, sensor networks and technologies for emerging markets, the company said. This is Microsoft's third research facility located outside the United States.
Microsoft Research India
Situated in South India, Bangalore is already home to a Hewlett-Packard laboratory. IBM has a research facility located in New Delhi. Several other technology companies also have based their engineering and development centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
"The information technology research community in India is really blossoming right now, and the country's Ph.D. programs are poised for strong growth as well," P. Anandan, managing director of Microsoft Research India, said in a statement. "India is also a very active experimental test bed for new approaches to making technology more accessible to rural, underserved communities, which is a major long-term business priority for Microsoft. It just became more and more clear that Microsoft Research should play a larger role in helping India's overall research ecosystem continue to flourish."
Microsoft Research India has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Science and Technology to work on some joint projects.
The first such project aims at bringing nonsensitive government data to the public, by integrating satellite imagery and other geographic data in an indexed database. This data will eventually be made available to the public and could be helpful in responding to natural disasters, the company said.
"This is the first of many alliances we envision in India with the government and other research bodies to help solve some of the toughest problems in computing and accelerate the next generation of innovation in software and computing," Anandan said.
The lab will also finance academic research in communication and technology. Initially, it has awarded $250,000 for projects at the Indian Institutes of Technology and three other centers, Microsoft said.