Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has heralded a golden age of computer science, but warned that the industry has only achieved a small portion of what society needs and programming education must be improved to help meet this challenge.
Gates, who reclaimed the title of the world's richest man in May, was speaking at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit where he explained that the potential provided by developments in the hardware field have made ambitious software projects more realistic.
"The original dream of Microsoft was about what software could do if we had infinite computing and infinite storage. That's almost our reality today and it's amazing to me to see how that's been applied," he said.
"The progress that we will make in the next 5-10 years will be really unbelievable," he continued, but also suggested there was a lot more that could be done. "Software is only achieving a very small portion of what we want it to do or what we need it to do, if you look at things such as climate modelling, energy innovation. There's so much this industry can contribute to solve broad science problems."
Gates said that a move to the cloud had the potential to increase the working efficiency of software challenges such as power grids and medical databases, but said the way programming is taught needs to change to keep up with demand.
"Take entry-level programming, is it dramatically better now than it was back then?" he asked. "We still have a lot to do on knowledge representation."
Earlier this year, while talking in London, Gates urged governments to focus more on encouraging children to take up computer science and engineering courses.
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