Bill Gates and Microsoft Research Chart the Future of Computing

REDMOND, WASH. SEPT. 5, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates called on technology companies and research organizations around the world to look beyond the next generation of products and the current economic environment and increase their support of long-term computer-science research. Today, at an event celebrating the first decade of Microsoft Research, Gates and senior researchers showcased leading-edge technologies from the company’s basic research facilities and discussed the future of computing.

“Ten years ago, we established Microsoft Research to focus on finding the answers to some of computing’s greatest challenges — developing technologies that will enable computers to see, listen and learn, so that interacting with them is as natural as talking with a friend,” Gates said. “We’ve made incredible progress, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Regardless of the current economic climate, we remain convinced that computer industry and government research organizations must continue to invest for the long term. Without basic research, we cannot create the technology foundations for future generations to build on.”

Today, at its Future Forum event in Redmond, the company revealed examples of the advanced projects underway at Microsoft Research. These explore fundamental boundaries in a variety of technology areas and include a Sensing Pocket PC that alters handheld device applications based on sensors that detect touch, tilt and motion; Chinese text-to-speech software that could improve productivity for Asian users; 3-D art reconstruction software that builds 3-D models from Renaissance paintings or other images; SideShow, a workgroup-communications tool that utilizes desktop cameras to determine a user’s status and creates an enhanced version of a task bar and buddy list; and face-mapping software that quickly scans a person’s face using a simple desktop camera and constructs a 3-D model for uses such as personal communications, e-commerce sites or games.

Microsoft researchers are generally focused on long-term goals extending three to 10 years beyond current product cycles, yet technology from the research division has impacted almost every existing Microsoft® product. Examples range from ClearType® display technology and grammar checkers to functionality in Microsoft SQL Server (TM) that enables the high-speed analysis of complex data patterns. Recent products such as the Windows®
2000 operating system and Office XP include numerous underlying technological improvements developed by Microsoft Research.

“The open, academic structure at Microsoft Research, combined with an effective technology-transfer process, has produced numerous contributions to Microsoft products during our first decade,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. “But Bill and I are really looking forward to Microsoft Research’s teenage years. Computing is rapidly approaching an inflection point where science fiction writers’ predictions of helpful, ubiquitous and seamless technology will become a reality.”

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goal is to develop new technologies that simplify and enhance the user’s computing experience, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and facilitate the creation of new types of software. Microsoft Research

now employs more than 600 people, focusing on over 40 areas of computing. Researchers in five facilities on three continents collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to simplify and enhance technology in such areas as speech recognition, user-interface research, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, graphics, natural language processing, and mathematical sciences. Microsoft Research is one part of Microsoft’s commitment to advancing the future of technology. During the current fiscal year, Microsoft will invest a total approaching $5 billion (U.S.) in research and development. More information about Microsoft Research can be found at .

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.

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