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Hitting the road with Bill Gates

Beyond Binary is tagging along with Bill Gates next week as the Microsoft chairman heads on a college tour to encourage students to help address society's big problems.

Bill Gates is going back to college, and Beyond Binary is going along for the ride.

Next week, the Microsoft chairman and philanthropist is doing a three-state college tour, meeting with students and faculty to encourage more people to join efforts to solve society's biggest global challenges.

Bill Gates is headed on a three-day college tour next week and Beyond Binary will be following along with coverage of the speeches, behind-the-scenes notes, and an interview with Gates. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In a blog post this week, Gates noted that he's done similar tours during his time at Microsoft, but that this is the first time he's done it in his capacity as head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"I'm most looking forward to my conversation with students about how we can get more of the world's brightest people to focus on the world's biggest challenges, like poverty, global health, education, energy and climate change," Gates wrote.

Gates will be in the San Francisco Bay Area at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, and then travel to the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I'll also be spending time at each school meeting with students and faculty to learn about innovative work they're doing in their various programs," Gates wrote.

As for me, I'll be tagging along for the California and Massachusetts legs of the trip and will be covering Gates' speeches and sharing some of the behind-the-scenes action. I'll also be talking with Gates as the tour wraps up to get his thoughts on the endeavor.

Several of the lectures will be broadcast live via Ustream on The Gates Notes and other Web sites.

"Unlike my past college tours, you'll be able to watch and participate in the tour even if you can't be there in person," Gates said.

Gates has been devoting most of his energy to his foundation since June 2008, when he stepped down from full-time work at Microsoft.

In a January interview (embedded below), Gates talked about the challenges and opportunities in his new role as full-time philanthropist.

In recent months, Gates has also launched the Gates Notes site and become a frequent participant on Twitter. Gates said he plans to tweet from the road during the college tour.

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