Internship Opportunities: Spreadsheet Experience and Technology

Last updated 7 days ago
Job Type:Full Time

The soul of the spreadsheet is the grid and its formulas.  Spreadsheets are the world’s most widely-used programming technology – but they also embody apparently-fundamental limitations. We are working on foundational ideas that will take a qualitative step forward, to extend dramatically the reach of what end users can do with spreadsheets.

We are looking for interns to join an ambitious, multidisciplinary research team on the future of work, and spreadsheets in particular. We work in deep collaboration with the Excel team in Microsoft Office on ProjectYellow, bringing new data types and other features to Excel.

We hope to hire interns during 2021.  The exact internship project will be chosen to fit the expertise of successful applicants, but we are interested in a broad range of areas including

  • Improving the experience of authoring formulas in a spreadsheet
  • Improving the experience of reading and understanding spreadsheets
  • Using machine learning to infer metadata about spreadsheets for providing intelligent assistance to spreadsheet users
  • Compiling spreadsheets for faster execution
  • Using insights from type systems, static analysis, and machine learning to catch spreadsheet errors sooner
  • Synthesis of formulas and data transformations
  • Demonstrating radical improvements in the range of applications that can be tackled with spreadsheets, without loss to usability and accessibility to non-experts.

We are looking for interns with expertise in one or more of the following research areas: programming-languages, HCI and user experience, machine learning. There is a genuine possibility that your work could have real-world impact. Past interns have been heavily involved in impactful projects that have transitioned into products.


  • For interns of all disciplines:
    • Work in a multi-disciplinary team
    • Generate insights that fuel ideation
    • Write and present your findings in technical documents or research papers
  • For interns in an HCI/design discipline:
    • Conduct mixed methods user research (e.g., surveys, controlled experiments, ethnography, interviews etc.)
    • Translate findings into practical design insights
    • Deploy prototype technologies and evaluate their impact on user practice
  • For interns in a programming languages / machine learning discipline:
    • Invent technical solutions to enable new and better user experiences
    • Develop and iterate on prototypes in collaboration with our engineering team, building on our existing platforms



  • Must be enrolled in or have recently completed a PhD in one or more of the following research areas: human-computer interaction, end-user programming, human-factors in programming languages, programming languages and compilers, or artificial intelligence applied to programs or knowledge. Outstanding undergraduate/Master’s students with research experience will also be considered.
  • Experience or interest in working in the spreadsheet domain
  • Experience of using spreadsheets for data management and analysis preferred
  • Experience of software prototyping at various levels of fidelity, from sketches and wireframes to interactive prototypes preferred
  • One or two papers at top HCI, EUP, PL, ML conferences or journals is preferred. A writing sample of unpublished work should be included if a publication is not available.
  • Good spoken and written English

By way of general background, you may want to read recent publications from our project:!publications

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.

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