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Microsoft Corporation Research Intern - Real-World Reinforcement Learning in New York, New York

Virtual Internship

Participation in the Research Internship Program requires that you are physically located in the United States or Canada for the duration of the internship.

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.

As Microsoft executes its mission to enable each person and organization on the planet to be more effective, we must find scalable learning algorithms that can automatically and without explicit supervision customize user experience, personalize online gaming experience, or optimize feed served on user interfaces -- all based on repeatedly observed events, cultural and geographic contexts among others. Reinforcement learning is a powerful paradigm for endowing agents with the capacity to discover policies for solving real-world tasks with minimal or no supervision. As the complexity of the systems we design increase, and these technologies scale across cultures, geographies, and ethnic boundaries, it has become timely and crucial for the agents we deploy to operate increasingly in an unsupervised, yet intelligent manner.

The goal of this internship would be for the intern to work with MSR Researchers and MSFT Product teams to develop and experiment with feasible learning algorithms for real-world reinforcement learning. Owing to the diversity of Microsoft’s products, interdisciplinary research skills are ideal for this project. Of utmost importance is that the intern be able to take research ideas from conception through to completion by working across teams, and with multiple researchers in the limited time frame of the internship period. Preferable skills include experience in learning theory, supervised, and unsupervised learning, and their real-world applications.


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.


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 Qualifications

  • Must be accepted or currently enrolled in a PhD program in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or a related STEM field.

  • Must have at least one first-author learning-based paper in a foremost machine learning, computer vision, or robotics conference (e.g. NeurIPS, ICRA, ICML, WAFR, IROS, CVPR e.t.c.).

Participation in the Research Internship Program requires that you are physically located in the United States or Canada for the duration of the internship.

Preferred Qualifications

  • An affinity for questioning accepted axioms and assumptions, then proposing and validating new solutions -- evidenced through publications, blog posts, or prior talks (please include such links in your application);

  • A willingness to stretch oneself beyond comfortable research areas, and solve groundbreaking, transformative problems in the field of machine learning;

  • A rich imagination for translating ideas across traditional problem domains, demonstrated by past research experience or publications;

  • Familiarity with contextual bandits theory, and its applications in the wild;

  • Statistical machine learning skills;

  • Strong programming experience in C++/Python (C++ preferred).

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.