By John Roach


Microsoft / Innovation Stories

April 6, 2021

To cool datacenter servers, Microsoft turns to boiling liquid

Quincy, Washington – Ping! Emails and other communications sent between Microsoft employees are literally making liquid boil inside a steel holding tank packed with computer servers at this datacenter on the eastern bank of the Columbia River. Unlike water, the fluid inside the couch-shaped tank is harmless to electronic equipment and engineered to boil at 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Microsoft / Innovation Stories

September 14, 2020

Microsoft finds underwater datacenters are reliable, practical and use energy sustainably

Earlier this summer, marine specialists reeled up a shipping-container-size datacenter coated in algae, barnacles and sea anemones from the seafloor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The retrieval launched the final phase of a years-long effort that proved the concept of underwater datacenters is feasible, as well as logistically, environmentally and economically practical.

Microsoft / Innovation Stories

January 19, 2020

Using AI, people who are blind are able to find familiar faces in a room

Cambridge, United Kingdom – Theo, a 12-year-old boy who is blind, is seated at a table in a crowded kitchen on a gray and drippy mid-December day. A headband that houses cameras, a depth sensor and speakers rings his sandy-brown hair. He swivels his head left and right until the camera in the front of the headband points at the nose of a person on the far side of a counter.

Yale Environment 360

March 3, 2016

Can Data-Driven Agriculture Help Feed a Hungry World?

From Bonneville County, Idaho, to Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, tablet-toting agronomists with Anheuser-Busch InBev — the world’s largest brewer by volume — are visiting farmers who grow the company’s malt barley, a key ingredient in beer. These meetings are a decades-old ritual: Growers review contracts as agronomists offer advice on ways to maximize productivity and profitability.

National Geographic

April 29, 2015

Will Huge Batteries Save Us From Power Blackouts?

Glacier, Washington, is the final stop for coffee and treats on the Mt. Baker Highway, which ends at a ski area holding the world record for most snowfall in a season. The small town in the woods might seem an unlikely spot for a $9.6 million warehouse to store excess energy, but it might prove the perfect testing ground. The area's winter storms routinely knock out power to Glacier.

NBC News

August 4, 2014

Home Solar Panels Make Gains in America, Even in Rainy Seattle

SEATTLE -– Going solar is expensive, but a confluence of plummeting equipment prices, rising utility bills, new financing schemes and a raft of federal, state, and local incentives are encouraging homeowners across America to take the plunge and put photovoltaic panels on their roofs, even in rainy Seattle.

About John Roach

John Roach is a storyteller, writer and editor with two decades of experience as a science and technology journalist. He is curiosity driven, dives into research, ask questions and sculpts answers into narratives that resonate with readers. He currently writes for Microsoft about artificial intelligence and innovation. Earlier, he worked in digital media as a reporter for the Environmental News Network, National Geographic and NBC News.