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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Microsoft Hackathon 2018

Wei Liu was in college when he came across a website that sparked his imagination. It showed a woman holding what appeared to be a flat piece of cardboard with a three-dimensional little boy standing on it. When she moved the cardboard, the tiny virtual boy moved with it.

microsoft hackathon 2018The example of augmented reality fascinated Liu. The year was 2003. Cellphones that had cameras were the hot buzz, and the first Xbox had just been out a little over a year. The notion of augmented reality (AR) was still little-known to most people.

Fifteen years later, Liu’s passion for AR led him to be among the 15 members of the China-based Microsoft team named as the overall winner of the 2018 Microsoft Hackathon.  

“My dream is to focus on an area in augmented reality and go deeply,” says Liu, now a senior software engineer for Bing Ads in Suzhou, who believes that for success, “interest and passion are your best friends.”

We fundamentally believe as a company that anyone – regardless of their age, gender, role, geographic location or tenure at Microsoft – is capable of having a great idea.

For now, the details of the winning project are still under wraps. What can be said is that the project involves “a new paradigm we’re exploring in advertising,” says Jeff Ramos, who leads the Microsoft Garage, a program that includes the Hackathon as part of its mission to encourage all employees to take their ideas and bring them to life.

The project is “allowing us to use our artificial intelligence capabilities, our machine learning capabilities, our neuro networks – all in a way to open up new opportunities for advertisers and for the people who want to experience really relevant, meaningful ads,” Ramos says.

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