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Saturday , January 22 2022

Sheikh Salem AlAli Award offers Bill Gates ‘Informatics Medal’ – Microsoft’s co-founder expected in Kuwait on Monday

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 3, (KUNA): The 15th session of the Sheikh Salem AlAli AlSabah Informatics Award will offer Microsoft founder Bill Gates its “Informatics Medal” as the major player in the field over the past four decades, and one who stood behind innovations that led to the global information revolution. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will decorate Gates with the Informatics Medal at Bayan Palace on Monday, the Sheikh Salem AlAli AlSabah Informatics Award added in a statement on Thursday. The Award’s Board of Trustees selected Gates for his achievements that contributed to promoting global knowledge performance, after he manifested great skills and interest in computer programming when he was only 13. In 1975, at the age of 20, Gates and his friend Paul Allen founded Microsoft, that came to be the world’s largest software business over a short period, the statement added. It noted that Informatics Medal is the highest prize offered by the Sheikh Salem AlAli AlSabah Informatics Award to a public figure or a juridical person that has played a prominent role in human development.

According to the statement, Gates was offered major world’s awards and titles in addition to honorary doctorates from leading universities. The Informatics Medal was previously awarded to Egypt’s former prime minister Amad Nazif, Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) and Saudi King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). From spending hours in the computer lap at school and university, to creating new computer software that triggered creation of Microsoft thus revolutionized the industry of software and computers worldwide to a new philanthropy domain, helping people. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is one of the most influential technological titans of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Born in 1955, Gates’ passion to computer programing started when he was 13 years old, spending long hours in the computer lab at Lakeside school. The school was involved with a Seattle computer company, which gave the young Gates the opportunity to work with a Teletype terminal. Gates, spending much of his free time at the company’s lab, wrote a tic-tac-toe program, his first, in BASIC (Beginner’s Allpurpose Symbolic Instruction Code). BASIC is a family of general- purpose and high-level programing languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. During this time Gates met and became friends with future Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who was two years older. They developed a partnership and the two went into business with Gates only 15 years old.

Sharing Gates and Allen, sharing the same passion, developed a computer program called “Traf-o- Data,” designed to monitor traffic patterns in Seattle. The program netted USD 20,000 in profit in 1970. Three years later, Gates went to Harvard University with the intention to study law. However, his passion for computer programing grew stronger. He spent long hours in the computer lab at Harvard, and his great attachment to programing made him drop out of Harvard in 1975, to eventually start his cyber journey. But one year prior to dropping out, Gates and Allen contacted Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS) company to offer software they were developing to run a mini-computer kit developed by MITS, called Altair 8,800. The two, getting MITS’ thumps-up, spent two months writing the software at Harvard’s computer lab. The demonstration of the software was a success, which eventually led to Gates and Allen forming the company that would be called Microsoft.

The visionary entrepreneur Gates helped Microsoft rise to dominance of the computer programing for many years, proving how Gates excel in business matters as well. The company produced its Microsoft Disk Operating System, better known as MSDOS for IBM in the 1980s, when the computer boom era began, and sold 100 million of this software by the early 1990s. Microsoft, working for two years on new software, released their Windows operating system that can be used with a mouse to point and click. “It is unique software designed for the serious PC (Personal Computer) user,” Gates said of the Windows, which continued to develop in the years to come to dominate the market around the globe at the consumer and business levels. Gates, named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of the previous century, changed the way people thought of computers and contributed to commercialize operating systems. Bill Gates is expected in Kuwait next Monday at the invitation of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah to participate in a dialogue session with Kuwaiti youths about “Youth and International Development.” Gates, on the other hand, moved from technology to a new challenge, philanthropy. It was a 1993 trip to Africa which drew his attention to extreme poverty, which eventually triggered his contributions to improve quality of life of poor people.

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