If you follow Google's public announcements closely, you will find that each of these messages carry a very subtle "do no evil" message and a certain tone that always makes you feel better about your own life. Today, we have received such a feel-good press release from Microsoft as well.
The company said that it is supporting 10 research projects at universities worldwide to develop breakthrough research "that will potentially have a profound impact on the research community and society as a whole" and help solve "some of today's most challenging problems". Research areas covered are geology, physical chemistry, medical informatics, parallel computing, and synthetic biology. The company said it is providing $1 million in funding from its "A. Richard Newton Breakthrough Research Award".
Microsoft highlighted specifically three projects, including an "A Computational Model to Characterize Effects of Brain Damage and to Plan Rehabilitation" (Harvard), "How to Build a Habitable Planet: Estimating the Physics of Plate-Tectonic Convection on Earth" (Yale), and "Integrated Probabilistic Models of Regulatory and Metabolic Networks for Biofuels Research" (Purdue).
Sounds good to us. It may not only be an expensive marketing project for Microsoft in an effort to highlight that Google isn't the only one investing in this kind of research. It's good to see more industry giants getting involved with academia to find solutions for the most challenging problems of our time. We wonder: Now that Microsoft has learned from Google, perhaps Larry Page and Sergey Brin could sit down with Bill Gates? We are pretty sure the philanthropic experience and ideas of "doing no evil" can flow in both directions.