Microsoft Establishes First University-based Research Center in Israel

November 10, 2011
By: Kevin Hattori

The first ever academic research center by Microsoft in Israel is up and running on the campus of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The Academic Research Center for E-Commerce Technologies is a five-year research and education partnership between the Technion, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft Online Services Division. Microsoft is investing $1.5 million in the center, which will explore state-of-the-art issues in e-commerce, such as designing algorithms for online advertising or for multiparty auctions and the use of social networks for commerce.

Prof. Boaz Golany

Prof. Boaz Golany

The central aim of the center is to promote and fund basic research in the areas of computer science, artificial intelligence, game theory, economics and psychology, and the connections between these subjects in the E-commerce domain.

Technion Professor Moshe Tennenholtz, a world-renowned expert in E-commerce, will head the center. He has collaborated with Microsoft Research (MSR) for several years, and is a faculty member of the Technion Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. The research will be conducted by scientists and students from several Technion departments, in collaboration with MSR researchers.

“This joint research center with the Technion is the first of its kind established by Microsoft with Israeli academia – and there are few like it elsewhere in the world,” said David Ku, Corporate VP for Microsoft Advertising R&D. “We believe that this cooperation between Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft Research and the Technion has the potential to help usher in the next generation of technology and customer value.”

Microsoft’s confidence in the Technion is further testament to the university’s place as a driver of Israel’s high-tech growth. More than 70 percent of Technion graduates are employed in the high technology sector, and 59 of 121 Israeli companies on Nasdaq are founded or run by Technion graduates.

“Microsoft’s decision to establish the research center at the Technion is a very strong statement by one of the giants of global technology regarding the position of the State of Israel at the forefront of information and communication technologies, and the strength of the Technion in the areas of science and technology,” said Prof. Boaz Golany, Dean of the Technion Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management.

According to Prof. Golany, the partnership with Microsoft is one that fits well with the Technion’s strategy of cooperating with large international companies. Such companies, he said, have the ability to support large-scale basic and applied research, and very often expose Technion researchers to significant challenges, which when solved help determine the technological agenda for the coming decades.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is consistently ranked among the world’s leading science and technology universities. Home to three of Israel’s five winners of the Nobel Prize in science, the Technion commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, water-resource management, medicine, drug development, and aerospace. Headquartered in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) promotes scientific and technological research and education at the Technion.