In 1971, computer science at the ANU was launched as a sub-department within the Department of Statistics. Over the past 50 years, ANU computer science has evolved into the School of Computing, one of three schools within the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics.
The first computer at ANU was housed on the top floor of the Physics building. At first, the IBM 360/50 was reserved for use only by academics and could only be accessed during the day. The computer was serviced by Skaidrite Darius, the first woman to join the University’s IBM data processing team, who then went on to be appointed head of data processing at ANU.
In June of 1971 a new IBM system was purchased at the price of $110,000 in recognition of a growing need for access to computers to support research capacity and teaching.
Computing at ANU has since become much more than service facility. It is a discipline in its own right, one that has fundamentally changed our world. It is a profession that lies at the heart of our global society, as well as global commerce and industry. Human life has been profoundly impacted by the technologies developed and deployed by computer scientists over the past half century.
As we mark the 50th anniversary of computing at ANU, we will look back at the university’s contributions to this field. Did the pioneers who walked this campus 50 years ago understand the revolution they were helping to spark? How did they foresee it unfolding? And in what ways did they, and those who followed them, shape the world we know today?
We are delighted to announce that our official celebration of 50 years of computing will be held on 29 April 2022. The special event will be held at the National Gallery of Australia and will feature David Thodey AO as keynote speaker.
We will be selecting five alumni laureates, one from each of the past five decades, to help us celebrate this milestone and to consider how taking stock of this journey should inform and inspire our future.
Please reflect upon your ANU days and nominate someone who can contribute to this conversation in a way that reflects your experience and your outlook. We want and need your input on who should be featured at this milestone event.