MIT World: Billy Gates

The Conference. “Software Breakthroughs: Solving the Toughest Problems in Computer Science” by William H. Gates III, at MIT on February 26, 2004.  Time: 1:12:42.

Reference: MIT World – Distributed Intelligence. MIT World is a free and open site that provides on demand video of significant public events at MIT.

Host in MIT: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department

About the Lecture

Bill Gates’ talk at MIT provided an optimistic view of the next generation of computer science, now that the “rough draft” is done. Gates finds a paradox today in that computer science is poised to transform work and home life, “but people’s excitement level is not as high as it was five years ago during the Internet bubble.” Because most sectors of the computer industry—from microchips to storage, displays to wireless connectivity— continuously improve in performance, Gates predicts a flood of new products and applications. He sported a wristwatch that receives data wirelessly, as well as keeps its user on schedule. Gates describes “rich, new peripherals” such as ultra-wideband digital cameras and he demonstrates software that allows pictures to be archived using a 3D visual interface with a built-in time, date, and keyword database. He says that computer science is merging with and making over such fields as astronomy and biology, by unifying vast, unwieldy data collections into easily navigable libraries. And Gates appears confident that technological breakthroughs will ultimately resolve urgent problems of computer and network security.

William H. Gates III

Trustee and Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994, when he created the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on global health. Three years later, he and wife Melinda created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States. Its name changed to the Gates Learning Foundation in 1999 to reflect its focus on ensuring that low-income minority students are prepared for college and have the means to attend. In 2000, the two organizations merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose mission is to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people.

Gates was born in Seattle in 1955. He dropped out of Harvard in his junior year to devote his energies full-time to Microsoft. He and childhood friend Paul Allen believed that computers would soon have a place in every home and office, and this vision of personal computing helped launch the software industry and led to Microsoft’s astonishing success. Gates also founded Corbis, a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe.

In 1999, Gates wrote Business @ the Speed of Thought, a book that shows how computer technology can solve business problems in fundamentally new ways. The book was published in 25 languages.

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The information on this page was accurate as of the day the video was added to MIT World. This video was added to MIT World on July 8, 2004.

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