Cambridge Residency Program: Researcher on Large Language Models for End-User Programming

at Microsoft
Published February 22, 2023
Location Cambridge, United Kingdom
Category Machine Learning  
Job Type Full-time  


We invite early-career researchers to join our two-year postdoctoral residency programme in the Calc Intelligence team at Microsoft Research Cambridge.  


Spreadsheets are the world’s most widely used end-user programming technology and the definitive low-code and no-code platform. The recent success of large language models (LLMs) creates an opportunity to take a qualitative step forward, to extend dramatically the reach of what end-users can do with spreadsheets.   


The Calc Intelligence team at Microsoft Research is dedicated to advancing the state of the art in spreadsheet technology and experience. Our research appears in top publication venues and our work’s impact on many millions of customers features in the history of research collaborations with Microsoft Excel, the Microsoft Wall of Fame, and even XKCD. Our team owns the Advanced Formula Environment, a Microsoft Garage project that lets us acquire feedback from Excel users on experimental spreadsheet features arising from our research. We have active lines of work applying LLMs to spreadsheets. 


This is a time of great change brought about by LLMs. Hence, in recruiting for this role, we are open to a broad range of applicable technical backgrounds, while being specific that your research will target LLMs for spreadsheet-like end-user programming, an application area where our team has extensive knowledge. 


  • Devise, build, and evaluate end-user programming experiences driven by LLMs. 
  • Evaluate and benchmark underlying prompt strategies and engineering. 
  • Work in a multi-disciplinary team. 
  • Write, present, and publish your research in technical documents or research papers. 
  • If appropriate, collaborate closely with product teams to transfer code and concepts. 



  • Publications at top research venues in human-computer interaction, machine learning, natural-language processing, programming languages, software engineering, or adjacent areas. 
  • Completed or on track to a PhD in a technical discipline or have equivalent industrial experience.  
  • Evidence of ability to translate findings into insights for technical and design impact. 
  • Experience or interest in doing LLM research. 
  • Experience or interest in working in the spreadsheet domain. 
  • Experience of software prototyping in Python or TypeScript at various levels of fidelity, with interactive prototypes preferred.  
  • Good spoken and written English. 
  • Enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team, open to acquiring new skills out of your domain of expertise and be willing to communicate and share ideas in both a technical and non-technical way. 


One or more of the following is preferred: 

  • Experience with research on end-user programming. 
  • Experience with evaluation and benchmarking of software systems or ML algorithms. 
  • Experience with mixed-methods user studies. 
  • Experience with telemetry studies, writing queries against log files. 


You will join a prestigious world-leading research laboratory. Microsoft Research in Cambridge has a wealth of experience and expertise in computer vision, HCI, design, machine learning, systems and security, software engineering and programming languages, and has a strong track record of shipping ground-breaking technologies in Microsoft products including Office, Xbox, HoloLens, and Visual Studio.   


We offer a competitive salary.   


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. 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. 

Benefits and Perks

  • Industry leading healthcare
  • Giving programs
  • Educational resources
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Opportunities to network and connect
  • Discounts on products and services
  • Generous time away