MICROSOFT IS ENROLLING a team of academic researchers to boost its security efforts and develop new technologies based on its .Net technology.

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The company Monday announced the formation of the Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, which will bring together academics from 12 to 15 colleges and universities to study and contribute to Microsoft's recent effort to improve the security and reliability of its products. Microsoft calls that effort the Trustworthy Computing Initiative.

Universities taking part in the advisory board include Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Maryland in College Park. The final lineup of the board is not complete, although members are expected to represent academic institutions from around the world, Microsoft said.

The new advisory board was announced during a keynote speech by Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, at the company's Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2002. The three-day event has brought nearly 325 researchers to the company's Redmond, Washington, headquarters to discuss a variety of projects under way in the research community.

Gates also discussed projects taking shape based on Microsoft's Shared Source efforts, a program under which the company allows partners in government, research and private industry to view its closely guarded source code, including for the Windows operating system and .Net.

Researchers from Lancaster University in England, for instance, have used Microsoft's Windows source code to implement Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) into Windows CE .Net, its operating system for portable devices, and Windows .Net Server. That project will be detailed this week, according to Microsoft.

The University of Maryland has led another research project, known as DateLens, to build a calendar user interface that can be accessed on a variety of mobile devices such as the emerging Tablet PC and those powered by the Pocket PC operating system. Researchers are building the program using a test version of Microsoft's .Net Compact Framework, a runtime environment necessary for deploying .Net applications on portable computing devices, and the C# programming language.

The Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2002 continues through Wednesday, and will include demonstrations of projects under way through collaborations between Microsoft and university researchers.