Gates opens to UCSD onlookers

    Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp., spoke on “”The Magic of Software in the Digital Decade”” to a full crowd in the Price Center Ballroom on May 27.

    Sarah Averbach
    Guardian

    Gates spoke about the role he believes technology will play in the coming decade. According to Gates, the biggest changes of this decade will be in the field of information technology. He said that the surface of this field has barely been scratched in terms of reliability and security.

    Gates said that not only is new, more reliable software being developed, but also systems are being innovated to allow for a better relationship with software users. Using the Internet, these new systems can track information about the user so that improvements can be made on an automatic basis.

    “”In the world at large, most things are done without computers because they are too difficult,”” Gates said.

    Tibora Girczyc-Blum
    Guardian

    Citing the act of reading as an example of an everyday activity which is made more difficult on a computer, Gates discussed the ways in which the problems can be remedied. One of these changes is the use of tablet computers, which could be held and adjusted by the reader. Models of these tablets have started to be produced and sold by different companies over the past few years.

    Much of Gates’ lecture focused on new scenarios of innovations being developed and produced, including items he termed as “”form factors.”” The tablet is included in this group, as is a wristwatch called the “”Spock watch.”” The wristwatch would be able to track personal information, such as messages and calendars, and receive transmissions of information, such as news and sports programs. It would be five times more powerful than the original IBM personal computer.

    According to Gates, these form factors will be able to connect to the same network that computers do, but the two will not compete; rather, the market will grow to accommodate both types of devices, allowing them to co-exist.

    “”All the devices will be able to work together,”” he said. “”We need to change the relationship of how they come together in order to solve some of the scenarios.””

    Gates said that the development of programs that use human actions, such as handwriting and speech recognition programs, causes a growing admiration for human capabilities in the developers. He said that although there have been problems in the past with these programs, such as the inability to recognize names, progress has been made and that the programs will be standard by the end of the decade.

    “”I am very optimistic about the future of technology,”” Gates said.

    Following the speech, Gates answered questions from Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, Professor Larry Smarr and children from the Preuss School.

    Answering a question from Dynes on the contributions necessary to technology, Gates said that university research is what sets the United States apart from other countries. He said that while much corporate research is being cut and there remains only a modest number of companies conducting research, universities drive the industry.

    Following this statement, Gates was questioned on whether he felt an obligation to donate money to university research. He answered that a strong connection to the universities is important since trends in use can be most often seen on campuses. This connection, he said, can be accomplished through philanthropy and collaboration in projects.

    He added that he personally has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to universities for future developments.

    Gates was also asked personal questions, including what his favorite music is and what an average day for him is like. In response to this second question, Gates described his job as chief software architect. This included a description of what he calls “”think weeks,”” in which he reads and writes in order to stay up to date and be open to advances in technology around the world and help to create further advances in the United States.

    Due to the large turnout for Gates’ visit, 500 overflow seats were provided in Price Center Theater. Approximately 300 more people were turned away.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal