Bill Gates Emphasizes Importance of Collaboration With Academia For the Future of Technology

REDMOND, WASH. JULY 24, 2001 — Speaking today at an unprecedented two-day event involving 300 faculty members from leading research institutions worldwide, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft Corp., stressed the importance of Microsoft’s engagement with academia. Microsoft officials and representatives of academia have gathered to share ideas and collaborate to further the state of the art of engineering and computer science. Gates highlighted Microsoft’s investment in research to solve complex computing challenges, in addition to underscoring the company’s commitment to academia with additional programs to engage professors and students, new products such as Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET Academic, and new licensing programs for academia.

“Collaboration between industry and academia will continue to play an increasingly central role in helping us deliver on our shared vision for the future of technology,” Gates said. “Microsoft is constantly deepening its partnership with academia, and is committed to jointly developing new ideas and solving many of the key challenges in computing.”

Microsoft Research University Relations is sponsoring the faculty summit, which is designed to provide a forum for an exchange of information and ideas. Professors in attendance will present their latest research projects and findings during breakout sessions, in addition to viewing presentations from Microsoft and demonstrations of the company’s current research and products in development.

“Close academic-industry partnerships are good for business, academia and the economy,” said Mike Uretsky, director, Center for Advanced Technology, New York University. “Events such as the Microsoft faculty summit enable everyone to benefit from shared research and ideas, and ensure that the work force is on the cutting edge of new developments.”

Microsoft Delivers Development Tools for Academia

In his keynote address, Gates unveiled Visual Studio .NET Academic, a new member of the Visual Studio .NET family of development tools. Visual Studio .NET Academic is the result of Microsoft’s extensive work with higher-education institutions and professors to gain a greater understanding of what colleges and universities need in a research and teaching environment. A series of joint design reviews showed that professors and students require a powerful platform on which to base their research, instruction and classwork. To meet these needs, Visual Studio .NET Academic includes all the functionality of Visual Studio .NET Professional, including inherent support for XML Web services standards and technologies and tight integration with the Microsoft .NET Framework. Because they will have full access to the breadth of the .NET platform, faculty and students will be able to draw from more than 20 popular academic and commercial languages from third parties that are targeting .NET to address unique teaching and research requirements. This will enable them to take a diverse set of approaches to solving the computing challenges of today and tomorrow.

Through the joint design reviews, Microsoft learned that professors and students require tools to make common teaching activities easier. As a result, Microsoft will build tools such as the following into the Visual Studio .NET Academic integrated development environment (IDE):

  • Course management tools for simplifying the administration of course projects and assignments

  • Rich documentation that enables students to get up and running in Visual Studio .NET Academic in minutes

  • Application wizards that enable students to create easily portable C or C++ applications

  • Code samples ranging from simple to advanced that teach students how to use the environment and technology

Visual Studio .NET Academic will ship with the Visual Studio .NET family by the end of 2001, and all attendees at the faculty summit will receive a copy of Visual Studio .NET Academic Beta 2.

Expanding Source Code Sharing for Windows CE 3.0

Microsoft is continuing to deliver on its shared source initiative programs announced in May. The initiative provides researchers, customers and outside developers with the opportunity to work directly with Microsoft source code. The latest offering, the Windows® CE Shared Source licensing framework, gives all users, including academic users and enthusiasts, even greater access and the ability to modify and redistribute Windows CE source code for noncommercial use.* Examples of noncommercial modifications include those for use in teaching, academic and research environments, and for personal experimentation. The Windows CE Shared Source code is now available via the Web for free download at by anyone with any version of Windows CE Platform Builder 3.0, including the free Evaluation Edition (connect-time fees may apply).

Students Get Access to Technology Early, Experiment and Write Code

During the event, Microsoft also recognized student winners of the company’s Pocket PC Programming Competition, just one of the many student outreach programs rolled out this year. Students from 34 universities across North America participated in the contest, which offered them a chance to garner experience in one of the hottest areas of technology development: mobility. These students were provided with access to new technologies and devices, and were given the opportunity to experiment, write code and interact with Microsoft employees. They built applications that exemplify the power and versatility of the Pocket PC. Applications range from a sophisticated traffic analysis program to productivity software and games. The top five finalists attended the summit and received cash prizes.

About Microsoft Research University Relations

Microsoft Research University Relations, a division of Microsoft Research, is dedicated to building world-class relationships with colleges and universities that enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspiring technological innovation and establishing Microsoft as a leading technology partner for higher education. Microsoft invests $75 million annually in support of research and education.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.* Commercial users can utilize Windows CE source code for reference and debugging but may not redistribute the source code.

Microsoft, Visual Studio and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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