Microsoft’s Bill Gates and other computer experts see great things ahead. In the next few years, you will be able to sit at your computer and see high-quality video sent from any place on earth.

They predict you will also have a wallet-size personal computer. With it you will be able to store photographs, pay bills, get the news, send messages, see movies and open locks with digital keys.

At home on your TV-size PC you will be able to see and talk with friends in other states, get medical advice, check magazine articles and pictures in a far-off library and order a pizza.

A computerized control system at home will regulate your lighting, temperature and security system.

Big dreams? Perhaps. But engineers are working to make it reality.

Bill Gates, The Software King

Most of the computers in the world use software invented by Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Inc. of Redmond, Wash. Software is the set of programs that make computers—whether business or personal—perform various tasks.

Gates was born in Seattle. Wash., in 1955. As a boy, he was bright and curious. He was active in Scouting, reaching Life Scout rank in Troop 186. He especially loved hiking, camping and other outdoor adventures.

But Gates was obsessed with computers. While a student at Harvard University in 1975, Gates and a friend, Paul Allen, developed a computer language for an early version of the personal computer. Microsoft was born. Gales went on to develop operating systems. such as MS-DOS. and software programs. Thanks to Microsoft. Gates is now one of the richest men in America. He is worth more than $8 billion. A technical wizard and a fierce business competitor. Gates sees great things ahead for computers. He says they are really going to change a lot of things in the world—the way we work, the way we play and entertain our-selves and even the way we are educated.

Robert Peterson


Early digital computers inspired by Howard Aiken’s Mark I were huge, sometimes filling an entire room. That was because thousands of switches were needed to compute his binary number system.

In the binary number system, only two digits are recognized by the computer: 0 when a switch is off, and 1 when the switch is on. Different combinations of those two digits can represent thousands of letters and numbers. The binary number system is still used In today’s computers. The difference is that the thousands of electrical switches have been replaced by one tiny, solid-state chip that does the translations electronically. That’s why your computer only fills up part of your desk, not your whole bedroom.

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