Celebrating 45 years of computer science at ANU

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Former computer science staff and students gathered on Saturday 22 October to celebrate the 45th anniversary of computer science at the Australian National University (ANU).  

Two events were held to celebrate – a reunion barbeque during the day, and cocktail reception in the evening. The events provided attendees with a chance to relive old memories with classmates and lecturers, and see all that’s changed at ANU since 1971 when the first computer science subjects were taught.

The reunion barbeque was held on campus featuring tours, a barbeque cooked by the Computer Science Students’ Association, a number of challenges, competitions and activities run by computer science students and a puppet performance by Puppet Oodle – a production company run by Jonathan Mettes, a computer science alumnus, and his sister Marianne.

The celebrations continued into the evening at a cocktail reception at the National Museum of Australia.

Dr David Hawking, one of the first computer science graduates from ANU in 1974 and Dr Vicki Peterson, one of the first computer science lecturers delivered presentations sharing their fond memories of early days of computer science at ANU.

A highlight of the evening was a live musical coding performance by Dr Ben Swift, a live coder and artist-programmer who is also an alumnus from the College and current staff member.

Professor Alistair Rendell, Director of the Research School of Computer Science closed off the day’s celebrations by reflecting on the remarkable history of computer science at ANU, and achievements of alumni.      

“45 years ago, a small group of ANU academics believed in the power and potential of computing technologies to solve diverse problems and transform industries. They set out to empower ANU students with ability to do just that.

Clearly from the many achievements of our alumni over the intervening years, they succeeded.

Today, at the Research School of Computer Science, our beliefs and mission remain largely unchanged. What is different, however, is that we now have the almost universal acceptance of the importance of computing to all academic disciplines at ANU.”

In 2021 the College of Engineering and Computer Science will be celebrating 50 years of computer science at ANU. We invite you to help us uncover relevant information about the history of computer science at ANU by submitting your stories, memories and photos here.

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Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing