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Microsoft bags DARPA boffin to head research unit

But will Redmond balloons take flight?

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Microsoft has hired a former DARPA software security expert to head up the company’s research wing in Redmond.

Dr Peter Lee will join the firm later in the year as Microsoft Research’s new managing director. He will report directly to the division’s senior veep Rick Rashid.

“Peter has long played a strong leadership and service role within the research community, both at DARPA and Carnegie Mellon University,” said Rashid.

“His extensive background in both research and service to the community will allow him to continue the tradition of excellence in research at Microsoft and help lead us to new heights.”

Microsoft said Lee’s highlights at Pentagon’s boffin bureau included the DARPA Network Challenge, which led to millions of people across the globe hunting for red weather balloons.

The software giant described the event as “a unique experiment in social media and open innovation that made an impact on thinking throughout the DoD [Department of Defense]”.

It’s not clear if Lee, who previously headed up Carnegie Mellon’s computer science unit, will have Microsoft’s R&D department in Redmond similarly chase balloons, however.

He also comes armed with a big bundle of computer boffinry credentials, so will fit in nicely with Microsoft’s egghead researchers.

Lee will replace Rico Malvar, who Microsoft has bumped over to a chief scientist role, in the autumn. ®

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