Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was in Redmond Monday for the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit.
It was the first time he attended the annual event on the Microsoft campus since 2005.
Approximately 400 computer scientists from 29 different countries are in town to share ideas during the two-day summit.
"Seeing Bill do the keynote speech today is really fascinating. In the seven years I've come, we've never had that stature of a speaker," said attendee Michael Kasprow. "It's exciting."
After he gave his speech, Gates fielded questions from the audience. He spoke about the development of computer technologies that could track environmental and health problems currently being addressed by the Gates Foundation.
"The disease modeling has gotten very good," said Gates.
He also discussed issues ranging from the growth of online education to the proliferation of mobile devices.
"Now it's just not one computer in your pocket. It's deep sensors. It's how these systems are working together," said Gates.
The summit comes just one week after CEO Steve Ballmer announced the company's reorganization.
"There are so many things we can do with the new kinds of devices. Being able to create systems that help the hearing impaired to getting better data about our world to help us understand climate change - those are some of the things we're working on," said Microsoft Research General Manager Kevin Schofield. "It's just a really exciting time."
The theme of the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit is 'The Future of Computing.” But Gates took time to reminisce on Microsoft Bob - the cartoon virtual assistant from Windows 95. He called the development of the personal agent premature.
"I think it will re-emerge,” Gates said. “We were just ahead of our time. Like most of our mistakes.”