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News Release

Microsoft Leader, Craig Mundie, Connects with UC San Diego

San Diego, CA, October 14, 2008 -- Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft, visited UC San Diego on Friday to meet with faculty and students and share his vision of where technology is moving. UC San Diego was the final stop during a week of visits to some of the nation’s top universities: Princeton University, New York University, University of Michigan, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.

Craig Mundie is one of the two executives who assumed Bill Gates’ responsibilities at Microsoft. (Bill Gates visited UC San Diego in 2003). Mundie is responsible for directing Microsoft’s long-term technical strategy and investments and oversees Microsoft Research, which employs more than 1,000 Ph.D. level researchers.

At UCSD, Mundie connected with students through a dynamic demo presentation and lecture that ended with a Q&A moderated by Amin Vahdat, a Jacobs School of Engineering computer science professor and director of UCSD’s Center for Networked Systems.  Watch Calit2'swebcast of the talk here.  Read a Q&A between Craig Mundie and Los Angeles Times journalist Alex Pham here.

“Microsoft Research is one of the last remaining corporate research laboratories in the world dedicated to computer science and engineering—and a consistent and important source of fundamental advances in computing. I can’t overestimate the importance of our research collaborations with Microsoft Research, or the valuable experiences our students gain when they intern or take full time jobs there,” said Vahdat.

Microsoft Surface
UC San Diego students try out Microsoft Surface after Craig Mundie's talk on Friday. Watch Calit2's Webcast here. See more photos from the event on Calit2's Flikr photostream.

Prototypes of flexible screens that will connect wirelessly to powerful cell phones of the future, and a collaborative computing surface called Microsoft Surface captured the imagination of many who gathered at the Price Center to hear Mundie, including computer science major Arish Shah.

“It’s amazing to see the surface computer up close. Everyone joins in…so many people,” noted Shah as he peered over shoulders to get a closer glimpse of the tabletop computing surface that allows several users to work independently or together without a mouse or a keyboard.

Bioengineering major Deepthi Vijay was part of the crowd of students waiting for a chance to play with Microsoft Surface. “The argument that technology makes people antisocial is nullified by applications like this,” she said.

Microsoft Surface
Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft, demonstrated Microsoft Surface for UC San Diego students and faculty.
Mundie said that solving the world’s pressing problems, including energy, the environment and health care, will require scientists and engineers to walk hand in hand with computer scientists. He highlighted the importance of putting the science back in computing and predicted one if not two revolutions in computing in the relatively near future.

Computer science Ph.D. student Justin Ma thought the presentation “showcased the breadth of Microsoft.” He described Microsoft’s efforts to integrate various technologies as “very impressive.”

Ma was one of the students who asked questions during the Q&A. “During the Q&A, I thought Craig Mundie provided some insights into Microsoft’s role in technology and how that technology will affect the ways people will interact socially in the future.”

Communications major Mandy Gallegos called Mundie’s demos “fascinating.” Gallegos said it was great to get an inside look at how technology will change during her working life. She attended the lecture with her Fluency in Information Technology course, taught by computer science lecturer Susan Marx. Exposing students to the highest levels of Microsoft gave them an excellent perspective on industry versus academia, said Marx.

Mundie Vahdat and poster session
Craig Mundie’s visit also included a poster session with Jacobs School graduate students and face time with computer science faculty and university administrators. (Right: Craig Mundie; Center Amin Vahdat)


Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering