Research Intern - Systems (NYC)

Last updated 2 days ago
Location:New York, New York
Job Type:Full Time

Research Internships at Microsoft provide a dynamic environment for research careers with a network of world-class research labs led by globally-recognized scientists and engineers. Our researchers and engineers pursue innovation in a range of scientific and technical disciplines to help solve complex challenges in diverse fields, including computing, healthcare, economics, and the environment.

The Systems research group in MSR NYC investigates a wide variety of topics within distributed systems, operating systems, and networking, while drawing on techniques from machine learning, theory, privacy, computational social science, and programming languages to build more powerful systems.

We are strong believers in responsible AI: our goal is to apply AI to systems in a way that is minimally disruptive, synergistic with human solutions, and safe. Our team is inherently interdisciplinary, as is our mission. We engage in deep collaborations with world experts in machine learning, computational social science, economics, and FATE. In all of our work, a top priority is impact: we publish at the best academic conferences and journals, in systems and beyond; our work has also led to multiple tech transfers with product groups across the company, resulting in real business impact.

This internship will involve a project in one of the agendas being explored by the group, but it is perfectly fine to define a new area of study with the internship mentor. Examples of our larger existing agendas include:

1.Harvesting Randomness: We are combining reinforcement learning with the ability to ask counterfacutal (“what if”) questions about any decision-making system, allowing us to synthesize better decision-making policies. This agenda spans systems, reinforcement learning, and causal inference.

2.HAIbrid (Human + AI) Algorithms: We are synergizing human solutions to classical problems -- ranging from data structure design to chess -- with AI techniques, achieving a form of human-AI collaboration rather than one overtaking the other. This agenda spans systems, data structures/algorithms, and machine learning.

3.Safeguards: We are designing a general abstraction called a “safeguard” for protecting any AI system from violating a safety specification, while allowing the system (and the safeguard) to continuously adapt and learn. This agenda spans systems, reinforcement learning/control theory, and program verification.


Interns put inquiry and theory into practice. Alongside fellow doctoral candidates and some of the world’s best researchers, interns learn, collaborate, and network for life. Interns not only advance their own careers, but they also contribute to exciting research and development strides. During the 12-week internship, students are paired with mentors and expected to collaborate with other interns and researchers, present findings, and contribute to the vibrant life of the community. Research internships are available in all areas of research, and are offered year-round, though they typically begin in the summer.

The intern will work closely with researchers and postdocs to investigate an existing agenda or a new agenda agreed upon with their mentor. The work involved will combine systems design, implementation, and evaluation with techniques from other disciplines like machine learning and theory. The intern need not work on all of these aspects, but may instead focus on areas of strength or areas where they would like to learn and grow.


In addition to the qualifications below, you’ll need to submit a minimum of two reference letters for this position. After you submit your application, a request for letters may be sent to your list of references on your behalf. Note that reference letters cannot be requested until after you have submitted your application, and furthermore, that they might not be automatically requested for all candidates. You may wish to alert your letter writers in advance, so they will be ready to submit your letter.

Required Qualification

  • Must be currently enrolled in a computer science or related STEM field program.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Willingness to explore unchartered territory, and an ability to think unconventionally to devise creative and innovative solutions.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with other researchers.
  • At least 1 year of experience (either classroom or project-based) with distributed systems theory or practice.
  • Experience applying techniques from any of the disciplines listed above (e.g., machine learning, theory, privacy, computational social science, programming languages, etc.) to systems problems.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.