After working with Apple to put DukeCards on iPhones, Duke announced July 9 it is kicking off a new collaboration with Microsoft for research.

Duke University’s new cooperation with Microsoft will provide accelerated cloud computing services to Duke researchers, according to a press release. Microsoft Azure—a cloud computing service—can be utilized to advance research in healthcare, education and university operations.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask orchestrated the deal. He said he was in Seattle more than 30 years ago when Microsoft was a mere startup.  

“It’s great that Microsoft and Microsoft Research have recognized not only the value that can come from research collaborations with Duke, but also the rise of Durham into a tech hub,” he said

In conjunction, Microsoft will also be building an “Innovation Hub” for Duke's researchers in the University's downtown Chesterfield building space. The space is expected to be completed this fall, although no other details were released. 

Microsoft Azure services are not limited to the Chesterfield building, as Duke students and faculty will have campus-wide access to the services. 

The cloud platform provides many benefits to researchers, from access to essentially unlimited storage and processing power to many essential computing resources. The Azure cognitive services "include speech-to-text, natural language processing and machine vision. "

This partnership also allows Duke to be connected to Microsoft’s most recent and innovative research. 

The release said that researchers can use machine learning algorithms to help solve complicated gene expression problems or learn from electronic health records. Duke can also use the technology to build upon and accelerate Microsoft’s ongoing research, such as improving radiology using data science.

“With Microsoft’s support, we will also enable graduate students in research labs to access the rich set of Microsoft Azure services,” said Lawrence Carin, Duke’s vice provost for research. “The computational power that this will bring to our research endeavor is immense.”