Things I've Learned in 50 Years of Computing

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Written by: ANU School of Computing
25 Nov 2021

Events Leadership Seminars

Professor David Hawking
Professor David Hawking

2021 marks 50 years of computing at ANU! Our special guest for this golden anniversary is a man who witnessed and took part in a lot of them!

Professor David Hawking (BSc Hons’75, PhD’99) is the author of the book The History of ANU Computing.

In this webinar, he will talk about his book and share his learnings—The Useless and the Useful. We will talk about Professor David Hawking’s rather non-linear career, which has involved studying, teaching, software engineering, IT administration, research, commercialisation of research, and employment in a university, a government agency, a small start-up, and a huge multinational.

Professor Hawking will categorise the knowledge and skills he has gained into the ephemeral and the enduring. Topics like making career choices, models of research commercialisation, how to get the best out of people,code efficiency and green computing will also be covered in the session.

The official celebration of 50 years of ANU Computing will be held in April 2022. The special event will be held at the National Gallery of Australia and will feature David Thodey AO as keynote speaker. Find out more about the history of 50 years of ANU Computing and how to get a copy of Prof Hawking’s book at our event page.

This webinar is part of the ANU Computing Leadership Seminar Series, which brings alumni and friends to share their career stories.


“I came to ANU in 1971 to study physics, and ended up with a double major in psychology and honours in CS. I tutored CS for nearly 5 years, managed ANU’s first undergrad computing facility, then became a campus evangelist for text processing, laser printing, networking and microcomputing. I supported two ANU supercomputers, wrote a text retrieval system in my spare time, was seconded to the ACSys CRC, gained a PhD by published work, joined CSIRO as a research scientist, satisfied external earnings targets by licensing enterprise search software, grew revenue to the level of embarrassment, spent five years in the Funnelback spinoff, then four working on the Bing web search engine. I retired in 2018 and have since written The History of ANU Computing and Funnelback and Me. Since leaving ANU employment in 1998, I’ve been an Honorary in the School, and supervised ten PhDs. And, yes, I still write code.” – Professor David Hawking

Find out more about Professor Hawking at his personal page:

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