The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature

Scientia its sobriquet

Aritra Bhattacharya
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Aritra Bhattacharya
Scientia is a rather uncommon name for a building. Perhaps you would associate it a science-related establishment, with a pack of geeks working away frenziedly on their equipments. And in that, you will be right, and wrong.

For one, yes, it is a science-related establishment. Scientia, located in the suburbs of Bangalore, houses the Microsoft Research (MSR) Lab. But it is not thronged with compulsive geeks. On the contrary, a heterogeneous crowd, constituting from the dark-skinned to the blonde haired can be found reclining, often on the floor, in the resort like atmosphere.

The whiteboard bears witness to their activity. One message asks, “Have you tried the new mangoes?” A host of apparently baseless replies adorn the board. Queer. And this you thought was a research lab.

‘It’s Socratic’ says P. Anandan, Managing Director, MSR of the way it works. There are no directions, no timings and no formalized status meetings. Researchers amble around at ease, catching a bite here and a chat there, and pray, some of them even sleep while in the lab.

Interns are often at a loss when they come in and see all this around. “What is my task they often ask?” says Vidya Natampally, Director-Strategy, MSR India. ‘Go talk to people around, find out what they are working on, and come back and tell us what you want to work on’ is the standard reply they get.

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