are they just part of Microsoft's IP portfolio, or are these authors previous incarnations of Bill Gates?
There's also an RSS feed:
Cool that Microsoft does research into Bollywood music?
Here's his homepage if you want to learn more http://cgm.cs.mcgill.ca/~godfried/
Edit: Looks like he recently published a book on it too http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466512023
Could it be related to SongSmith?
"Songsmith generates musical accompaniment to match a singer’s voice. Just choose a musical style, sing into your PC’s microphone, and Songsmith will create backing music for you."
Isn't there a requirement to mark every publication of a patented idea? Did Microsoft just invalidated those patents? (Do they even know what patents apply?)
I copied down this quote from somewhere earlier this year but I can't find the source now: "One of the things they tell us developers here at Microsoft is that we should never read any patents. That's because you're liable for triple damages if you knowingly infringe on a patent."
Dryad under an Apache license!
Also, the first blog post I clicked on  brought this quote: "We propose a new progressive analytics system based on a progress model called Prism" WHY is Microsoft so terrible at picking names for their products?
It's probably the papers that have just been accepted for publication, but haven't actually been published yet. The submission-reviewing-publication process is very slow and usually takes at least 5 months in CS conferences. So, many authors make the papers available right after they get an acceptance notification from the program committee. So, my best guess is that the publication date refers to the date those papers would be published officially.