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Research at Google
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Academics at Google: The Power of Scale

Last December, the Google Research Blog highlighted a collaboration between Google Research Scientist Kai Kohlhoff (, Stanford University, and Google engineers, in which detailed molecular simulations using hundreds of millions of core hours were carried out on Google’s infrastructure (

In The Power of Scale presentation from our Academics at Google series, Kai and Google Software Engineer +David Konerding discuss the development of experimental architecture that enabled the computation of hundreds of thousands of simulations of molecular dynamics across Google's data centers. 

Watch the short introduction video, linked below, to learn more about the scientific benefits of massive parallel computing  in the cloud. To see the full presentation by Kai, where he outlines the computationally expensive application of Newton’s laws of motion to molecular simulations, visit
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Lens Blur in the new Google Camera app
Posted by Carlos Hernández, Software Engineer

One of the biggest advantages of SLR cameras ( over camera phones is the ability to achieve shallow depth of field effects (also known as bokeh,, which makes the object of interest "pop" by bringing the foreground into focus and de-emphasizing the background. 

Achieving this optical effect has traditionally required a big lens and aperture, and therefore hasn’t been possible using the camera on your mobile phone or tablet. That all changes with Lens Blur, a new mode in the Google Camera app ( 

Lens Blur  replaces the need for a large optical system with computer vision algorithms and optimization techniques that are run entirely on the mobile device, simulating a larger lens and aperture in order to creating a 3D model of the world. 

To learn more about the algorithms and optimization that makes Lens Blur  possible, head over to the Google Research Blog, linked below. We hope you have fun with your bokeh experiments!
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Please fix the autoupload bug for lense blur images
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”...a mathematical or algorithmic endeavor could have the same variety as, for example, painting. It is an art; [a programmer’s] tools are just different from those of traditional artists.”
-+Bartholomew Furrow, Google Software Engineer, on the creative process involved in Computer Science
Two months ago, we posted ( about the Digital Revolution exhibit at London’s Barbican Centre (, designed to explore the impact of technology on art and the creative possibilities offered by technology through digital media. 

DevArt, a competition hosted in a collaboration between Google and the Barbican, recently presented the Top 10 Finalists from the entries that utilized creative coding and technology as a canvas, exploring the connection between science and art.

Head over to the DevArt gallery, linked below, to see the art projects made with code and let us know which one is your favorite!
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No offense, but this site is VERY hard to follow and read.  Can't open anything in new tabs, hard to navigate.  I want to learn about these pieces, and I'm finding it quite tough.  The site is pretty rather than useful.
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Telling Breaking News Stories with Wikipedia and Social Multimedia 

Last year at the World Wide Web (WWW) conference in Rio de Janeiro, Googler +Thomas Steiner, +Seth van Hooland of Universite ́ Libre de Bruxelles, and  +Ed Summers of the U.S. Library of Congress presented MJ no more: Using Concurrent Wikipedia Edit Spikes with Social Network Plausibility Checks for Breaking News Detection (, in which they outline the development of the Wikipedia Live Monitor application (, which examines the realtime article edits on different language versions of Wikipedia.

When a major event in the world occurs, the number of concurrent edits to Wikipedia and Wikidata spikes, reflecting the active changes being made in order to generate new articles, or update the information in currently existing ones. By treating these concurrent edit spikes as signals for potential signals for breaking news events, the authors show that the application successfully detects breaking news candidates automatically. 

As social network sites commonly allow their users to publicly publish and share photos and videos, the ubiquity of devices like smartphones or tablets enables the potential of broad multimedia coverage of breaking news events. Exploring that fact, Steiner recently extended the Wikipedia Live Monitor  with the capability of automatically creating media galleries that illustrate the breaking stories with the Social Media Illustrator application.

Published via Twitter at, the Social Media Illustrator  looks at the possibility of automatically creating media galleries that illustrate breaking news stories at scale, using the 2014 Winter Olympics as a test event. To learn more, read the full paper, Telling Breaking News Stories from Wikipedia with Social Multimedia: A Case Study of the 2014 Winter Olympics, at (, and check out the Twitter feed, linked below. 
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Your welcome!:)
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Sawasdeee ka Voice Search
Posted by +Keith Hall and +Richard Sproat, Staff Research Scientists, Speech

Typing on mobile devices can be difficult, especially when you're on the go. Google Voice Search gives you a fast, easy, and natural way to search by speaking your queries instead of typing them. In Thailand, Voice Search has been one of the most requested services, so we’re excited to now offer users there the ability to speak queries in Thai, adding to over 75 languages and accents in which you can talk to Google.

To power Voice Search, we teach computers to understand the sounds and words that build spoken language. We trained our speech recognizer to understand Thai by collecting speech samples from hundreds of volunteers in Bangkok, which enabled us to build this recognizer in just a fraction of the time it took to build other models. Our helpers are asked to read popular queries in their native tongue, in a variety of acoustic conditions such as in restaurants, out on busy streets, and inside cars.

To read more about challenges tackled in order to add the Thai language in Voice Search, head over to the Google Research Blog, at
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Go, Keith and Richard!
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Project Tango and SPHERES:  Autonomous navigation aboard the International Space Station

MIT Space Systems Laboratory’s Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) project is a robotic platform consisting of three small satellites designed operate in micro-gravity environments, that can control their relative positions and orientations.

Providing a testbed for technologies critical to the operation of distributed satellite and docking missions, SPHERES explores the possibility of autonomous platforms capable of performing maintenance and providing assistance to astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Over the last year, +Google ATAP has been collaborating with the NASA Ames Research Center to integrate Project Tango ( onto the SPHERES experiment. Scheduled to launch this summer, Project Tango’s 3D mapping abilities will allow SPHERES to autonomously map and navigate the ISS. 

Watch the video below to learn more.
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great going . .
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Academics at Google: Working Together Apart

In the early 1990's, +Gary Olson and +Judith Olson were working on a new idea at the University of Michigan: What if people could use the internet to work on documents at the same time in different locations? Their new tool was called ShrEdit, and it showed the world that collaborative editing could change the way we work and interact. 

Now at the University of California, Irvine, they have spent several years studying the rollout of Google Docs on campus, and how the era of cloud computing and the emergence of group-friendly platforms is changing the nature of collaboration. 

Watch their introductory conversation with close friend and collaborator +Dan Russell, linked below, where they discuss the importance of collaborating with industrial partners and bridging the gap between universities and companies like Google.

Also check out their recent talk at Google, where they presented DocuFlow, a way to generate visualizations of the participation of the members of a group, and Novox, for analyzing the change of voice or style in a collaborative document, at
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interesting conversation...researchers talking about collaboration and technology
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It was the social aspect of coding competitions, developing friendships and reading other’s solutions to problems, that gave me the opportunity and confidence to see what I could do to possibly develop a better solution.
-+Ishani Parekh, Software Engineer

Several weeks ago, Research at Google featured an interview with two of the four founding members of Google’s Code Jam team, Software Engineers +Igor Naverniouk and +Bartholomew Furrow (  With the Qualification Round beginning this Friday, April 11th, we wanted to share another perspective on coding competitions from a newer member to the Code Jam team.

+Ishani Parekh  is a Software Engineer with the Ads Review team sitting in our Mountain View, CA office, who joined Google in 2012 after obtaining her degree in Computer Science at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in India. Code Jam 2014 marks the first time that Ishani has been involved with the Code Jam Team, so we invited Ishani to share her thoughts about Code Jam and about coding competitions in general. Read on to learn more!


My first experiences with programming came during my first year at university, where some of the Teaching Assistants held programming sessions in support of my courses. It was there I was first introduced to the TopCoder ( competitions, where I started reviewing the problems in order to practice my programming skills. I found that the problems were very interesting, a nice mix of mathematical and algorithmic puzzles. Honestly, at first the experience was somewhat daunting, as I was new to coding and needed help to get my programming environment set up properly. It was definitely a new environment that I felt uncomfortable jumping into! 

While practicing with TopCoder, I was also exposed to CodeChef (, a startup in India that was running monthly contests which consisted of both short problems, which took about ~15 minutes to solve, and longer more difficult problems which demanded much more time. It was through CodeChef that I formed a community of friends, and found that not only do competitions allow you to hone your skills as a computer scientist, but they are also a very fun way form new friendships. 

Although it was initially challenging, I found that participating in coding competitions was incredibly useful in allowing me to apply what I was learning in classes by practicing tough problems, but it was also very beneficial in an unexpected way; The social aspect of programming competitions, working as part of a team with fellow students or participants I met online, provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to later have more  confidence in my ability to tackle the very challenging problems. 

During my final year of university, I decided to participate in the 2012 Code Jam. I was impressed by the quality of the problems, but also the fact that the problem analyses are uploaded right after the contest, allowing me to see where I could have improved my understanding of both the practical, more algorithmically focused problems, as well as the theoretical and more mathematically based ones. Furthermore, through the Code Jam mailing list I was able to discuss with the wider competition community, in which many Googlers are actively involved. Again, I found that it was social aspect of coding competitions, developing friendships and reading other’s solutions to problems, that gave me the opportunity and confidence to see what I could do to possibly develop a better solution.

Once I joined Google, I decided that I wanted to be a part of the Code Jam team, just to get an inside look at how the top programmers in the world create, what I think, is a great contest.  So in 2014, I became involved in the rating of some of the submitted problems. My first impression was that I was surprised by the fact that inputs from everyone on the team are welcome. Anyone can submit problems ideas and rate others’ proposals, regardless of experience. 

It’s great to work with some of the best programmers in the world to develop puzzles, identify potentially confusing issues in the theory or phrasing of the problem. An area I was surprised by was just how much work the team puts into making sure the competition is accessible and understandable to everyone, regardless of language spoken. A very large part of CJ problem preparation process involves many iterations of the problem statement, and test cases, to make sure it is as clearly understandable as possible, in addition to properly assessing difficulty of the problem in order to assign it to an appropriate round.

It started solely as an avenue to practice my skills to supplement what I was learning at school, but now my involvement in coding competitions like Code Jam enable me to become part of a network of friends and colleagues whom I can learn from, and vice versa.  Additionally, I feel that participating in programming contests helped in preparing me for the interview process, as I gained valuable experience in knowing the basic strategy for solving a large variety of problems. 
Although I am now involved in the development of Code Jam rather than actively participating in competitions, I still appreciate the challenge of a coding problem, and the  nature of the creative process behind the solutions that the community actively discusses. I would encourage people who are hesitant to join Code Jam to sign up, regardless of what you feel your experience level is, and join a community that can help you improve your skills!


Code Jam 2014 registration is currently open, with the Qualification round beginning this Friday, April 11th.  Register at!
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Making Blockly Universally Accessible
Posted by +Neil Fraser, Chief Interplanetary Liaison

We work hard to make our products accessible to people everywhere, in every culture. Today we’re expanding our outreach efforts to support a traditionally underserved community -- those who call themselves "tlhIngan."

Google's Blockly programming environment is used in K-12 classrooms around the world to teach programming. But the world is not enough. Students on Qo'noS ( have had difficulty learning to code because most of the teaching tools aren't available in their native language. Additionally, many existing tools are too fragile for their pedagogical approach. As a result, Klingons have found it challenging to enter computer science. This is reflected in the fact that less than 2% of Google engineers are Klingon.

Today we launch a full translation of Blockly in Klingon. It incorporates Klingon cultural norms to facilitate learning in this unique population:

-Blockly has no syntax errors. This reduces frustration, and reduces the number of computers thrown through bulkheads.

-Variables are untyped. Type errors can too easily be perceived as a challenge to the honor of a student's family (and we’ve seen where that ends).

-Debugging and bug reports have been omitted, our research indicates that in the event of a bug, they prefer the entire program to just blow up.

Get a little keyboard dirt under your fingernails. Learn that although ghargh ( is delicious, code structure should not resemble it. And above all, be proud that tlhIngan maH ( Qapla'!

You can try out the demo below or get involved at
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+Neil Fraser he he ... awesome read ... 
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Celebrating the First Set of Google Geo Education Awardees and Announcing Round Two
Posted by +Dave Thau, Senior Developer Advocate

Google's GeoEDU Outreach program is excited to announce the opening of the second round of our Geo Education Awards, aimed at supporting qualifying educational institutions who are creating content and curricula for their mapping, remote sensing, or GIS initiatives. If you are an educator in these areas, we encourage you to apply for an award ( 

Head over to the Google Research Blog to read brief descriptions of the projects from the first round of awardees, and get a sense of the kind of work we have supported in the past.
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Klo cuma bisa2 aja: wwwww bingung?
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∀x, CS+x
Google is full of smart people working on some of the most difficult problems in computer science today. Most people know about the research activities that back our major products, such as search algorithms, systems infrastructure, machine learning, and programming languages. Those are just the tip of the iceberg; Google has a tremendous number of exciting challenges that only arise through the vast amount of data and sheer scale of systems we build.

What we discover affects the world both through better Google products and services, and through dissemination of our findings by the broader academic research community.  We value each kind of impact, and often the most successful projects achieve both.