The computers he created may still be vulnerable to viruses, but Microsoft founder Bill Gates plans to spend the next 20 years helping to wipe out some of the worst diseases affecting mankind.

Polio will be gone by 2018, the former executive and now full-time philanthropist told "60 Minutes" on May 12. Tuberculosis will "probably take six or seven years." Malaria is next on the list for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He predicts that the tools to eradicate the deadly disease could be ready in 15 to 20 years.

Gates says he is devoted to preventing the childhood diseases that currently claim a life every 20 seconds. "I'm excited about that. And it's doable," he told CBS's Charlie Rose.

Getting vaccines to remote parts of the world isn't always easy. One solution: a new "super thermos" that, with just a tiny bit of ice, can keep a vaccine cold for 50 days without electric refrigeration. The thermos was developed for the foundation by Intellectual Ventures, another company in which Gates has invested.

Vaccines aren't the only solution. To reduce the spread of disease, the Gates Foundation is also addressing sanitation, among other issues.

Not all of Gates' money has gone into philanthropy. Back in 1994, he paid $30 million at auction for Leonardo da Vinci's 500-year-old notebook. Gates says he continues to draw inspiration from the notebook for solutions that will help the world today. "It's an inspiration that one person off on their own, with no positive feedback, nobody ever told him, you know, it was right or wrong. That he kept pushing himself. You know, found knowledge in itself to be a beautiful thing."

He's also looking at other solutions, like a nuclear reactor that would create power from depleted uranium. "Your fuel will last for 60 years," he said. "So during that entire time, you don't need to open it up, refuel it. You don't need to buy more fuel. So there's a certain simplicity that comes with this design."

Gates' philanthropy, he says, stemmed from his father, Bill Sr., whom he calls his hero. "My dad has integrity, he's got a humble approach to things; he's calm and wise about things. It's just a huge influence to always, you know, want to live up to a great example."

You can watch Gates on "60 Minutes" below: