Ray Kurzweil, an inventor, futurist and author who has been recognized by three U.S. presidents for his contributions to science and technology, spoke at St. Thomas in July. The talk and reception that followed were part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Graduate Programs in Software, which now is part of the Opus College of Business.

Kurzweil, called the "greatest thinker on artificial intelligence" by Bill Gates, discussed virtual technology, molecular computing, cybernetics, nanorobots and other developments in technology.

Kurzweil was the first to invent devices such as the flatbed scanner, omni-font optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading machine and text-to-speech synthesizer.

His six books include The Age of Intelligent Machines, The Age of Spiritual Machines, When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence and, most recently, The Singularity is Near.

Graduate Programs in Software was founded in 1985, when it opened its doors to 52 students. It now includes three programs in software engineering and also serves hundreds of professionals each year with seminars, special lectures and "mini" programs.