Gates Speaks on Software Breakthroughs in First Campus Visit
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Gates Speaks on Software Breakthroughs in First Campus Visit

Bill Gates, Microsoft Corporation's chief software architect, paid tribute to Carnegie Mellon's "phenomenal contributions" to computer science during his first visit to campus on Feb. 25.

During his lecture in Rangos Hall, "Software Breakthroughs: Solving the Toughest Problems in Computer Science," Gates spoke about the evolution of computing over the years, specifically advances in hardware and software. He congratulated Carnegie Mellon on being a model for computer science education and praised the university for its work in artificial intelligence and speech-recognition. He also said that Microsoft has benefited greatly from the research conducted on campus and noted Carnegie Mellon's work in "trustworthy computing, the most important issue in software today."

Gates also demonstrated prototypes of technologies that will hit the market in the near future, including a database program for storing digital photos that will automatically categorize and sort photos by specific criteria. He showed the audience a palm-sized media center that can download movies, music and photos through a wireless connection. Users can then view the movies or photos on the product's color LCD display.

Carnegie Mellon has a strong relationship with Microsoft. The company provides scholarships and fellowships for Carnegie Mellon students, supports university research and contributes to many ongoing research and education efforts at the university. Currently, there are four Microsoft Graduate Student Fellows at Carnegie Mellon— Jerry XiaoJin Zhu, Sagar Chaki, Shimin Chen and Luis von Ahn—and several sponsored research contracts on record.

Microsoft also supports the university's diversity and recruiting initiatives within computer science and is a founder of Carnegie Mellon's West Coast Campus.

Since the late 1980s, Microsoft has been a consistent on-campus recruiter and today stands as the largest corporate recruiter of Carnegie Mellon computer science undergraduates. In 2002-03, Microsoft hired 25 new graduates and 25 interns. Overall, 138 Carnegie Mellon alumni are employed by Microsoft and its subsidiaries.

Former faculty member Rick Rashid joined Microsoft in the early 1990s to establish Microsoft Research, which is modeled after Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, one of the world's top computer science schools. U.S. News & World Report Magazine has ranked the School of Computer Science first among national computer science programs.

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