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Microsoft's research arm is opening a lab in India - it's third centre outside the US.

The facility will investigate computer science and the social context of technology. It will carry out long-term basic and applied research and improve Microsoft's links to academic and scientific communities. The lab will start by looking at multilingual systems, technologies for emerging markets, geographical information systems and sensor networks. Microsoft Research employs about 700 people and has facilities in Beijing, Cambridge and the US.

The lab is scheduled to open in January 2005 and will initially employ about 24 scientists and support staff. P Anandan is managing director of the facility. He is originally from Chennai(Madras) but has worked at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters for the last seven years. He specialises in computer vision and video analysis.

Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research, said: "The diversity of India's languages and culture, its deep respect for education, and its rich humanitarian tradition make India uniquely suited for investigations into areas of computing that can help the global community gain better connectivity, promote literacy and define the technology experience for decades to come."

P Anandan, MD of the new lab, said: "With a population of over 1 billion, India recognizes more than 20 national languages, and a majority of its citizens have no access to computing or the Internet. No other country has this diversity. This makes it a fascinating backdrop for some of computer science's most challenging problems."

The press release is here. ®

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