Dream big, Bill Gates tells IIT students

November 5th, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) “I see a spark in the Indian students,” Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told IIT students here Wednesday, adding “…dream big. I and my friend did that 33 years back. Dream and pursue your dreams.”"I see a spark in the Indian students. They are more exposed to the ground realities than their counterparts in the US, know the challenges of poverty and therefore know how technology can be used to achieve best results in order to help the poor,” he said.

“All I can say is that dream big. I and my friend did that 33 years back. Dream and pursue your dreams,” Gates added to a loud applause from the audience.

Addressing a packed auditorium of enthusiastic students and curious others at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here, Gates shared his experiences and said that one can access Microsoft’s latest designer and developer tools free of cost, and use it to see their dreams come true.

Microsoft’s DreamSpark, which was unveiled Feb 18 this year, is a software giveaway for an estimated 10 million students in the country. It will provide them access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools.

“With this, students can access Windows Standard Server, XNA Game Studio 2.0, expression studio among others. This will help students unlock their creative potential and set them on the path to academic and career success,” Gates told the audience.

“I see a spark in the youth across the globe. They have the advantage of the latest technology, which I did not 33 years back, and a want to help the needy. Students like you who study in such competent institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology have the potential to innovate and reach out to the needy,” he said.

Talking about their research projects here, Gates said that in their research laboratory here - half of whose staff are from the IITs - developed a medium through which the farming community can benefit.

“They would have wanted to give the farmers a personal computer, but knowing the limitations, they developed a video DVD in which they filmed farmers using the best farming practices and talking in local languages. These practices were later reviewed by experts and presented in an appealing manner,” Gates noted.

“Of course, a more interactive medium would have been better and we are working towards it. But for now, the farming community is happy to sit around a TV set in a village and pick up practices that benefit them,” Gates said.

A university drop-out, Gates said it is “reasonably” important to get higher education, such as a master’s degree or post-graduation, because that enables one to work with experts and hone one’s skills.

“I criticise the university curriculum sometimes because it does not expose one to the challenges of life - see the reality of poverty for instance. But still, higher education gets you to work with professors who have a great deal of knowledge and that helps,” he said.

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