The SAICSIT Council decided in 2008 to, as an ongoing process, recognize individuals who have played pioneering roles in promoting Computer Science and Information Technology as academic disciplines in South Africa. Recipients of the award are highlighted here.
His career highlights include more than 20 years’ experience in total in various academic institutions acting as lecturer, research associate and departmental head; supervised and delivered 9 PhD’s and 13 Masters level students to completion, and establishing various research groups. Jan also fulfilled many leadership roles such as being an exco member of the faculty board and examination committee in the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology (NWU VTC); member of the research committee and the research ethics committee of the Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU VTC); VTC's representative for the NWU research output panel; leader of EKaS (Enterprise Knowledge and Systems) (NWU VTC); former chair of department and acting director of the School of Computing at UNISA; manager of the Centre for Software Engineering at Unisa from July 2013 until December 2017; SAICSIT council member, vice‐president and president; as well as member and first president of the Southern African Chapter of the Association for Information Systems (AISSAC) community for which he received the AISSAC President’s award for service' Jan is a NRF-rated researcher as an established researcher in the multi-domain (IS & Humanities ‐ C3; C2 from 2021). Jan authored and co-authored 89 peer‐reviewed research outputs in Computing, including 33 peer‐reviewed journal articles, 50 peer‐reviewed conference papers, 6 book chapters; 5 papers in popular (non-peer-reviewed) magazines; and co‐edited a Springer book and one conference proceedings. Jan was conference chair of SAICSIT 2012; co‐chair of a mini‐track on Transdisciplinary Wisdom in IS in 2012 at AMCIS; a co‐chair of a track on General IS Topics and Breakthrough Ideas at ECIS 2014 and co‐programme chair of SACLA 2019.
Jean-Paul Van Belle is a professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Prior to joining UCT, he established the Department of IS at UWC. He also was Director of the Centre for IT and National Development in Africa for the past decade. Born in Belgium, he obtained he Licentiate in Economics from the University in Ghent. He then moved to Cape Town where he obtained an MBA at the University of Stellenbosh and a PhD at UCT. He also holds several industry qualifications in the space of Big Data, AI, Data Science, and Cloud Computing. His research areas are fair work in the platform economy, and the adoption of emerging technologies in developing world contexts including mobile, cloud computing, 4IR, AI, open and big data. His passions are ICT4D – with a focus on emerging technologies as well as data for development (D4D) in an SDG context – and adoption of ICTs by small organisations. He has over 200 peer-reviewed publications including 25 chapters in books and more than 40 refereed journal articles. He has been invited to give a number of keynote presentations at international conferences and holds an honorary professorship at Amity University. He currently supervises 4 Masters and 8 PhD students and has graduated twice that many postgrad students. Apart from local research collaborations (UP, NMU, UJ etc.), Jean-Paul has also active research collaborations and co-publishes with researchers in India, UK, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Chile and Ecuador. He has been active in IFIP WG9.4 and IDIA as well as conference organisation, reviewing for numerous journal articles and external examination of local and international thesis. Apart from his normal teaching duties, he runs a Data Science course on the Getsmarter/2U platform and has lectured research methodologies abroad e.g. AAU. Three of his most recent research projects in which he is a Principal Investigator are Open Data in Africa (2016-2018), the Fairwork project that investigates the fair working conditions of gig platform workers in South Africa (2018-2023) and the Future of Work in the Global South (FOWIGS, 2019-2021) collaboration.
Matthew O Adigun is currently a Senior Professor of Computer Science at the University of Zululand. He obtained his doctorate degree in 1989 from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; having previously received both Masters in Computer Science (1984) and a Combined Honours degree in Computer Science and Economics (1979) from the same University (when it was known as University of Ife, Nigeria).He was recruited in 1998 as a full Professor to establish Computer Science as an academic discipline at the University of Zululand, with the first undergraduate enrolments taking place in 1999.During 1999 to 2003, Matthew Adigun used his Programming and Software Engineering expertise to establish an enduring Bachelor, Honours and postgraduate programmes in Computer Science at Unizulu. The programmes were of such high quality that a Telkom Centre of Excellence, CoE was attracted to the University.A very active researcher in Software Engineering of the Wireless Internet, he has published widely in the specialized areas of reusability, software product lines, and the engineering of on-demand grid computing-based applications in Mobile Computing, Mobile Internet and ad hoc Mobile Clouds. Recently, his interest in the Wireless Internet has extended to Wireless Mesh Networking resources and node placements issues, as well as Software Defined Networking issues which covered performance and scalability aspects arising from Software Defined Data Centres and Cloud/Fog/Edge Computing milieu.Since 2004, he has been the Project Leader and Principal researcher attracting millions of Rands in research grants from South African NRF starting from HBU-specific Niche Areas (2006-2010) and THRIP programmes (2004-2016). His contribution was immediately acknowledged by inviting him to receive the 2004 THRIP Excellence award for raising the flag of Research Excellence in historically disadvantaged institution. In 2008 he was also a nominee of the DTI THRIP Innovation Award.Through Matthew Adigun’s postgraduate supervision efforts, he has helped improve the numbers of Black Computer Science academics in South Africa. His former Masters and Doctoral students (in excess of sixty in number) are currently employed at UniZulu as well as at other academic institutions such as the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology and Walter Sisulu University to name a few. Many former postgraduate students are also employed as researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).Matthew Adigun’s sustained and impressive University development impact led to his being invited from retirement to continue in his current Senior Professorship position (on contract) from September 2020.
Irwin Brown is Head of Department and Professor of Information Systems (IS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was Director of the UCT Centre for IT and National Development in Africa (CITANDA) from 2008 to 2012 and has been Convener of the highly successful UCT IS PhD programme. He obtained a BScEngHons (Electrical) degree from University of Zimbabwe (1985-1988), a MInfSys (1994-1995) degree from Curtin University of Technology, Australia, and a PhD from UCT (2001-2005). Irwin began his IS academic career as a Sessional Academic at Curtin University (1995-1998), before taking up a position as Lecturer at the Polytechnic of Namibia (1999-2000). In July 2000 he joined UCT as a Lecturer, becoming a full Professor as from 2011.
Having been born in Zimbabwe, and having lived in Southern Africa for the most part (apart from a 6-year period in Australia), Irwin has developed a strong interest in IS in the African context. He maintains a broad interest in all areas of IS research, but with a specific focus on understanding and theorising IS phenomena in the contextual conditions of Africa.
Irwin has contributed to over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, and more than 70 peer-reviewed conference papers, some of these being highly cited publications (> 3,400 citations, h-index = 28 in Google Scholar as at 2020). Notable outlets include the European Journal of Information Systems, and leading Association for Information Systems (AIS) conferences such as the International Conference on Information Systems and the European Conference on Information Systems. To date Irwin has supervised to graduation 14 PhD candidates (11 as main supervisor) and 18 Masters candidates.
Irwin has been active in promoting Computing research in South Africa, mainly as a member of the South African Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists (SAICSIT) Council from 2007 to 2018. This included stints as SAICSIT President from 2010 to 2012, then as SAICSIT Vice-President from 2016 to 2018. He served as IFIP TC8 (IS) South African representative from 2008 to 2016, and in this role was instrumental in organising the first IFIP WG 8.11/11.13 Workshop on Information Systems Security held in 2009 in Cape Town - aptly named the Dewald Roode Workshop on IS Security. Professor Roode was responsible for championing the idea.
Irwin has taken on conference leadership roles several times, e.g. the 1st IFIP WG 8.11/11.13 Workshop on Information Systems Security 2009 – Co-Organising Chair, 1st International Conference on Information Management and Evaluation (ICIME) 2010 – Program Chair, SAICSIT Conference 2011 – Chair, AIS Conf-IRM 2016 - Co-Chair, African Conference on IS & Technology (ACIST) 2017 – Co-Chair. All of the latter were hosted in Cape Town.
He has served several journals including as Editor for the African Journal of Information Systems (2011 – present), and Information Systems Sub-Editor of the South African Computer Journal (2007 – 2014). He is currently a Guest Editor for the European Journal of Information Systems Special Issue on Advancing the Development of Contextually Relevant ICT4D Theories.
Ruth de Villiers started her career as a computer programmer at UNISA. Subsequently, during 12 years home-based, raising a family, she did contract programming and led a venture for teaching BASIC programming to children. She re-joined UNISA as a lecturer in Computer Science and Information Systems, acquired her MEd, MSc, then PhD, and became one of UNISA’s first Research Professors. She innovatively established an early Facebook Forum, where academic topics were initiated by postgraduate distance-learners themselves, simulating conventional class interaction.
Her research focus areas are HCI and e-learning, which she combined by conducting research, design and evaluation of educational technology: interactive tutorials, web-based learning, m-learning, virtual reality, environments for learning programming, e-assessment, and learning across the digital divide. She is experienced in various strategies for user-based and expert-based evaluation, including controlled testing in the School of Computing’s HCI laboratory. Ruth later became a meta-research specialist and presented dynamic seminars at UNISA and external institutions, local and international. She has published 90 peer-reviewed research outputs: journal articles, full conference papers (12 in SAICSIT Proceedings), and book chapters.
She delivered masters and doctoral students, including formerly disempowered candidates and was featured in UNISA’s College (Faculty) of Science as a ‘Best Supervisor’. She has externally examined approximately 60 PhD theses and MSc, MCom, MEd and MTech dissertations from nine South African and three international universities. She received the Chancellor’s Award (UNISA’s most prestigious research and innovation prize) and UNISA’s Women-in-Research: Research Leadership Award. She held research-related leadership roles at UNISA: chairing the School’s Research Committee and serving on research and graduate matters in the College/Faculty of Science. She was temporarily Acting School Director, but her passion remained academia and research. She was co-chair of SAICSIT 2012 Conference. In excellent relationships with youth, she is a committed mentor, fostering growth in scholarship. She led School Mentoring Programme,
External experience: For over 20 years, Ruth collaborated with universities in Finland and visited three times, serving twice as Sole Opponent at PhD Public Oral Defences and presenting seminars to staff and students. She was Expert Referee on the selection panel for appointing HoD (Software Engineering, at a Finnish University. In a delegation of UNISA academics, Ruth visited Ethiopia to represent Computing and give workshops for Ethiopian masters and doctoral students. She consulted for the mining industry on e-training technology and conducted research on use and usability of an HIV/AIDS Awareness system, culminating in an international conference presentation jointly with a practitioner. The software development house also consulted her on simulations as e-training tools.
Her career as Professor Emeritus since retirement (2012), is fulfilling. She completed supervising postgraduate candidates, continues publishing, and remains NRF C2-rated. Ruth has a contract position as Expert Consultant for UNISA’s Research Support Directorate, whereby she assists Computing and Cross-College colleagues in NRF Rating-, Thuthuka-, and other applications and in funding ventures.
As an engaging speaker who enthuses, informs and amuses participants, she presents workshops and seminars at UNISA and other Colleges and Universities on research design and methodologies, design research, rigorous academic writing for postgraduate students, and writing for publication. In 2019, she was joint First Prize winner at the international competition, Teaching of Research Methodology: Excellence Awards, held at the European Conference on Research Methodology.
Carina de Villiers is full professor and Head of the Department of Informatics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She obtained a BSc (Computer Science and Mathematics), Higher Education Diploma, Diploma in Tertiary Education, MEd (Didactics) cum laude, Honours degree in Computer Science and PhD (Informatics) degree. She has co-authored 9 books, 35 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and delivered more than 100 international and national conference papers on different topics in IS Education. She is a member of several international bodies and serves on a number of editorial and advisory boards for journals. She was involved in the SAICSIT community from the early 90s and contributed as council member, as well as organisaing committees of the SAICSIT annual conference. Carina de Villiers was a junior lecturer, lecturer and senior lecturer at the School of Computing, University of South Africa from 1979 until 1995 (17 years). She then joined the Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria as Associate Professor and Professor from 1996 to date (24 years).During 2001 and 2002 she was the project manager responsible for the transfer of the compulsory Computer and Information Literacy courses for first year students at the University of Pretoria from the external provider to the School of IT. This project involved budgeting, the establishment of computer laboratories that can handle 6000+ students per week, appointment of administrative staff and lecturers, planning the curriculum and ensuring that the necessary technological infrastructure is in place. The project was completed on time and within the budget and the new courses started on the 1st of February 2003.During 2005 the Computer and Information Literacy courses were re-curriculated under her guidance and the new courses were implemented in 2006. She has again re-curriculated the courses in 2009 and the new courses were implemented in 2010, now serving more than 8000 students per year.Carina started the process to get international accreditation from ABET for BCom (Informatics Information Systems) in 2004. The accreditation team visited the department in October 2007. This was the first ABET accredited program in Africa and one of only three outside the USA at the time of the accreditation in 2008. International accreditation was obtained and was valid until 2013. She again led the accreditation process in 2013 and have obtained unconditional accreditation for another 6 years. The third evaluation was done in November 2019. She is also part of the task team that is busy developing a South African Computing Accreditation Body (SACAB) to do accreditation of computing degrees in South Africa. Currently she is a member of the international taskforce IS 2020 of the ACM and AIS busy developing the new Information Systems curriculum.
Philip has been an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the Rhodes University since 2011. He completed all his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Computer Science at various local universities and obtained his PhD in 1996 from the University of Cape Town. He also completed a Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Queensland and spent a sabbatical in 1990 at the Stanford University.
As President of SAICSIT in 1998‐2000 he rescued the society from collapse. He also revived SAICSIT’s journal, the South African Computer Journal (SACJ), when he took over as editor‐in‐chief in 2012 at which time the paper pipeline had stalled and reviews were not being completed. He introduced the following innovations:
In the past seven years he has taken the journal to new heights and successfully drove the process to get it indexed on Scopus as of 2016. Philip also served as programme chair of the annual SAICSIT conferences in 1999 and 2000, as well as proceedings editor in 2013, and he has also been involved in the society as a council member since 2012.
Dr Letlibe Jacob Phahlamohlaka (Jackie) hails from Ga-Phaahla Village in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga Province. He completed a BSc degree at the University of Zululand and an MSc in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Dalhousie University in Canada in 1991. He received his PhD in Informatics from the University of Pretoria in 2003.
Professor Paula Kotzé obtained her PhD in Computer Science (Human-Computer interaction) in 1997 at York. In 2004, she became the first Director of the School of Computing at Unisa. In August 2009 she became the first female Chief Researcher at the CSIR and the Meraka Institute. She retired from the CSIR in March 2018. During her academic career she was instrumental in establishing the field of HCI as academic discipline in South Africa and internationally. She currently holds two honorary positions: Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Informatics at the University of Pretoria and as Adjunct Professor in the School of ICT at Nelson Mandela University. Paula is the past recipient of many national and international awards. Amongst others, she received the IFIP Silver Core award for her service and contribution to the development of the ICT field in 2007. In 2015 she received the IFIP TC13 Pioneer Award in recognition of active participation in IFIP Technical Committees or related IFIP groups, and outstanding contributions to the educational, theoretical, technical, commercial or professional aspects of analysis, design, construction, evaluation and use of interactive systems. She received a Career Achievement Award from the CSIR in 2016. Paula is an Elected Member of the European Academy of Science. She is a National Research Foundation (NRF) B rated (internationally acclaimed) researcher..
Professor Jan Eloff (PhD Computer Science) is appointed as the Deputy Dean Research & Postgraduate studies: Faculty of Eng., Built Environment and IT (EBIT) and as a full professor in Computer Science at the University of Pretoria. His research interest is in cyber-security and applied aspects of Big Data Science. He is an associate-editor of the Computers & Security journal and an editorial member for the international Computer Fraud & Security bulletin published by Elsevier. He is an internationally recognised researcher and holds a B rating at the NRF.
Annette Lerine Steenkamp’s career started as a researcher in radiation physics while completing her master’s thesis. At that time she developed an interest in Computing and changed career direction in 1964 to work as a programmer, designer, and software systems engineer in the emerging computer industry. Her computer education occurred through training programs in South Africa, England and the United States. With extensive experience in programming languages, design methodologies and tools of the time she joined academia in the early 1970s. As an academic she continued her involvement with industry, creating applied research opportunities for her students. While at UNISA in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, she joined the ISDOS Project of Dr. Daniel Teichroew in the College of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan as a research fellow. Under supervision of this pioneer of software engineering, she conducted her research for PhD in Computer Science, with Dr C. H. Bornman of UNISA as co-promotor.
In the following years at UNISA Lerine’s research agenda focused on computer-aided software engineering with a number of projects in academia and in collaboration with industry. She maintained active involvement in the Computer Society, the Computer User’s Council, the South African Council of Natural Sciences, and in 1986 the prestigious SAICS (South African Institute of Computer Scientists) of the time. As SAICS president she supported the incorporation of membership to qualified colleagues with advanced Technikon qualifications, and in 1993 led the initiative to change the institute’s name to SAICSIT, to signify membership of information technologists. For her sabbatical year in 1996 Lerine was invited by the University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan to do a feasibility study for a doctoral program in software management. This lead to a tenured faculty position in the US after retiring from UNISA as Professor Emerita. Her “second career” as full professor of Information Technology proved to be demanding, having to adapt to the American teaching system, provide leadership within the university, and establish her research agenda which includes includes topics in the sub-areas: Management and IT Research methodology and Methods Engineering; Enterprise IT Life Cycle Processes; Information Technology Enablement of Business Processes; and Knowledge Management Systems, Frameworks and Approaches. Besides directing the Doctoral Program in Management in Information Technology and her teaching, she has supervised a number of multi-disciplinary doctoral research projects. A priority was the university motto of “Theory and Practice”, where she actively sought research and collaborative opportunities for doctoral students who were professionals in practice. She continued her involvement with professional bodies such as the ACM, IEEE, AITP, EDSIG, ABPMP, and AEA, served as editor for several journals, and as examiner and moderator for several institutions.
Since her retirement in 2015 she has become a panel member of the Fulbright Specialist Roster, and her textbook for IGI Global Research Insights Series, titled: “Examining the Changing Role of Supervision in Doctoral Research Projects: Emerging Research and Opportunities”, was published in July 2017. Lerine retired as Professor Emerita from Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan, and travels widely including between her homes in Hout Bay, South Africa and Bloomfield, Michigan. She credits her joie de vivre to her role models, starting with her parents, who instilled in her a work ethic which lasts to this day.
Gary Marsden, professor of computer science at the University of Cape Town, pioneer and passionate advocate of HCI for development and community builder, died suddenly of a heart attack on December 27, 2013, at the age of 43. Disciplinary divisions, bureaucratic firewalls, pomp, and pretension—all were anathema to his playful mind. He cared passionately about his work; impact truly was at the heart of what he did and stood for, whether it was teaching programming to undergraduates, tinkering and DIY projects with rural communities, or walking the talk with top brass in industry.
Gary began his academic career at Stirling University, Scotland. During his final year as an undergraduate, Harold Thimbleby piqued his interest in the seemingly strange—to a self-confessed geeky computer scientist—field of HCI. While being a convert to human-centered computing, Gary had a natural gift for understanding what made a good user experience and the value of participatory design. One of his vacation jobs was as a character actor at a U.S. theme park, where he deftly made paper-boat hats with visitors. He once explained why this summer job made him so happy: It was fun but serious, hands-on, helped people learn, and, importantly, made them laugh. This was Gary’s leitmotif throughout his academic life—as anyone who attended his lecture courses, keynotes, and workshops around the world will know.
Gary was awarded a Ph.D. for his thesis on interface tools for end users and took up a lectureship in HCI at Middlesex University, London, in the mid-1990s, where he helped to establish the Interaction Design Centre. He was a research entrepreneur from those early days; it was clear to those around him that he was full of joyful energy and enthusiasm, making connections and seeking out opportunities to make the world a better place. In London he did some of the earliest work on mobile information access, which led to his popular book co-authored with Matt Jones, Mobile Interaction Design.
During his time at Middlesex, Gary was seconded to teach HCI in Cairo for several weeks each year. One night, on returning from class, he joined a table of older academics from around the world, all strangers but brought together through this assignment. One of the guys, cigar and whiskey in hand, looked across the table and said, “Boys, enjoy this, it is as good as it gets!” Gary would later regale others with this story, and with a wry smile and while imitating the guy, one-up him by saying, “The best is yet to come.”
After four years of spending his working life inside a metal box with limited windows on the North Circular Road in London, Gary escaped to the open skies and sunshine of South Africa, where he took up a lectureship post in 1999 at the University of Cape Town. While many were going in the opposite direction because of the political events happening at that time, Gary strode forth where others dared not. In just a few years, he had managed to put HCI in South Africa and South Africa in HCI.
Gary became internationally known for his work in mobile interface design, design, and ICT for development (ICT4D)—for which he was a recipient of ACM SIGCHI’s Social Impact Award in 2007. He went to great lengths to show how mobile technologies were revolutionizing how developing countries were advancing apace. In doing so, he raised the profile of what developing world actually meant. Most important, he stressed throughout his research, his many hands-on activities, and his writings that those who were privileged like himself should not try to help others who were worse off, but instead should find ways of working alongside them. His approach was to promote empowerment through technology, enabling other people to become better equipped to the point where they could innovate for themselves, and even leapfrog their counterparts in developed countries. Though the communities he engaged with in the townships of Africa and beyond may have had low technical sophistication and lacked the abilities to set up new forms of technology, he was inspired by the ways in which they had appropriated cheap mobile technology.
Gary was a playful, generous, and intelligent spirit who will be sorely missed by all those who were taught by him, worked with him, or simply had met him.
While in South Africa, Gary continued to network, reach out, and enjoy life in other parts of the world. He spent sabbaticals at Microsoft Cambridge and Waikato University in New Zealand, rising to the challenges of being a senior “intern” with much aplomb.
Gary bought a place in Cape Town that had a house for his family and a bungalow where family, friends, and colleagues could stay. He was most generous and hospitable in every way imaginable, welcoming us both to visit for as long as we liked—the same treatment was offered to many others. Gary would drive us around everywhere, proud of his adopted home, Cape Town, showing us the cool, hip, and happening places—from well-known wine farms to lesser-known coffee shops—during which time we would always be plotting and planning new research projects and papers to write. True greatness.
Gary was most passionate about his teaching and would often work into the wee hours marking papers, reading his students’ drafts, or thinking up the next set of exam questions. He received many teaching awards, the last one a prestigious award from his university that only a few ever receive. One of the last things he did was to produce with his students a wonderful video about the goals and mission of his internationally renowned lab, ICT4D at UCT (http://youtu.be/xNn2TEBgtfA). It captures Gary to a tee. Watch it, be stirred (but not shaken), and smile. Gary was a playful, generous, and intelligent spirit who will be sorely missed by all those who were taught by him, worked with him, or simply had met him.
Gary is survived by his wife Gil and his two children, Holly and Jake.
Rossouw von Solms holds a PhD-degree from the ex-Rand Afrikaans University. Rossouw has co-authored more than two hundred peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, both internationally and nationally. Most of these papers were published and presented in the field of Information Security. More than 5000 citations referenced these publications to date. He has successfully supervised in excess of sixty Master’s and Doctoral students. He also co-authored a book called; Information Security Governance. Rossouw is a member of General Assembly of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) as well as the South African representative to IFIP Technical Committee 11, responsible for information security. He served as vice-chairperson of IFIP TC from 2007 to 2013. He is a professional member of the Institute for IT Professionals in South Africa (IITPSA). Rossouw is also a past-President of the South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists (SAICSIT). He is also an ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
Rossouw is a rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF) since 1995, currently in his third term as a B-rated researcher. He received the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust research award for senior Technikon staff in 1995. He received a Literati Award for Excellence in 1999, from the MCB University Press for a series of articles published in the journal Information Management & Computer Security on information security management. In 2001 he received an IFIP Silver Core Award from IFIP for outstanding services over a long period. In 2003 he was named as the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA), Eastern Cape Chapter, ICT Person of the Year. Conferred as a Fellow of the Institute for ICT Professionals in South Africa (IITPSA) in 2016.
Picture taken from: https://adam.uj.ac.za/~basie/
Phil was born on 15 December 1942 in Pretoria, and grew up in Pretoria, Bethal, Potchefstroom and Springs to eventually matriculate at the EHS in Ermelo. Five distinctions secured him a CSIR bursary. He studied at the University of Pretoria from 1961 to 1965 where he obtained the degrees B.Sc, B.Sc (Hons) and M.Sc in Mathematics, all cum laude, as well as completing the Electronic Engineering course up to second year. His interest in computers stems from these engineering subjects which included work on the IBM computer at the Engineering Faculty, the only computer on the campus in those days. His social activities included rag organizer for Boekenhout in 1963, rag magazine treasurer in 1964 and rag treasurer in 1965. In January 1966 Dr AP Burger, then Director of the National Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the CSIR, promptly arranged further studies for Phil with the then Technische Hogeschool Delft, his own Alma Mater. There Phil studied under Dr Ir WL van der Poel, the developer of the ZEBRA computer. By June 1967 Phil had completed a thesis on recursive macro assemblers and obtained an engineering degree cum laude.
Phil worked the next three years at the then Computer Division of NRIMS, where he was primarily responsible for the development of a usable interface to drum plotters and a vector graphics display unit, both unique peripherals at the computer centre. Over time, the research personnel split off from the operations personnel to form the Computer Science Division. In August 1970 Phil left for Cornell University in New York state for further studies, where he had the opportunity to experience the strong academic approach of the lecturers. His studies entailed compiler theory with David Gries, automata and language theory with John Hopcroft and abstract philosophy with RL Constable. He returned to the CSIR after obtaining the MS degree in 1973 and became head of the new Computer Science Division shortly afterwards.
Initially, Phil and his team focussed their research on digitization of geographical features from aerial photographs, computer-assisted mapping and digital terrain model extraction. This became the pilot software for a customized mapping system with a 10 year operational life cycle. The international limitation on availability of modern technology in those years stimulated the development of local technological capabilities, including a production quality language and compiler and a computer composed of multiple micro processors (something HP excelled in later-on!). During this time the personnel in the division grew from the initial 5 to more than 20, for many of them the basis to productive and even glamorous careers. Phil also served on several national committees, concerned with electrolitic corrosion, Nylsvlei conservation, etc. He also headed the Theoretical Physics Division for a while and acted as Institute Director on several occasions.
Starting soon after his return from the USA, several symposia were organized by a number of University lecturers, with involvement by NRIMS and the CSIR. After the second such symposium, SAICS was founded as a separate entity from the CSSA by a steering committee that included Phil as one of its members. With extensive restructuring of the CSIR on the horizon, Phil left the CSIR in 1986, initially to become system engineer for a large project. In 1987 he started GEOsystems, joined by several of the Computer Science Division employees. The company undertook many challenging and highly technical projects, some in cooperation with other businesses. These included a mining safety system, proximity card systems and further GIS work. In 1991 GEOsystems won a tender from Spoornet (now Transnet) to develop a remotely operated control system for the switching of electric power to the railway network throughout South Africa. The initial phases of the system became operational in 1993. This system is still being extended and upgraded by GEOsystems. Although Phil's career at GEOsystems focusses on company management and system engineering, he still finds time for programming challenging algorithms. Towards the end of 2017 he stopped starting new company activities and with some luck he will be without a daily office schedule when he turns 76 in December 2019.
Derrick completed an MSc in mathematical statistics at Pretoria University in 1970, an MSc in operations research at UNISA in 1972 and a PhD in operations research in 1975 at the University of Lancaster, UK. Prior to joining the Department as a senior lecturer in 1978, he worked for brief periods as a lecturer at UNISA, as a research fellow at Wits and managed a consultancy company specializing in urban planning simulation. He was appointed as full professor in 1988 and served as head of department between 1998 and 2002. In 1989, Derrick took over as editor of the South African Computer Journal (SACJ) and held that position for nearly twenty years.
Derrick is a consummate academic, being an excellent and popular teacher, a versatile and caring supervisor, and a researcher who sought out new ideas and looked back at old ones. He has an enviable research record, with 67 papers. He was honoured by a Festschrift in SACJ Issue 41, 2008.
What qualifies Derrick as a pioneer is three aspects of his involvement in the life of South African Computer Science. The first is his many years as an external examiner at Wits, UCT and Rhodes. Through his service in this way he influenced a generation of both students and lecturers. He was highly respected at all universities and his advice, wisdom and attention to detail raised the standards of teaching considerably.
The second aspect was his editorship of SACJ. Derrick introduced numerous innovations to the journal, including ensuring that the quality of the typesetting was uniform, getting the journal accepted by the DOE, moving it on to an online system, and teaming up with academics in Francophone Africa.
Thirdly, Derrick was instrumental in forming two research groups, called Espresso and Fastar, that brought together researchers in industry and academia annually for a workshop to discuss theoretical matters related to software. How pioneering is that? As Derrick says on his website: My “academic ideals are to combine theory and practice in ways that impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the software process”. The Workshop is attended by people from several countries overseas, since Derrick’s reputation had led him to be a supervisor of students actually coming in to South Africa to study and they returned regularly. The software company that Derrick helped found in the 1980s, Epi-Use, is still a great supporter of these workshops.
Derek Smith obtained a BSc degree in chemistry before joining Rolls Royce in 1968 as a systems programmer. He emigrated to Zambia in 1970 and spent 5 years as the IT Operations Manager for Roan Consolidated Mines in the Copper Belt. When he arrived in Cape Town in 1976 he was employeed by Shell as their Systems Development Manager (responsible for all systems development on IBM mainframes using Adabas/Natural along with distributed S/34 systems).
In 1983, Derek enrolled on for an MCom degree in Information Systems at UCT. During the programme he left Shell to join the University as a senior lecturer. When Derek joined the Information Systems section in the Commerce faculty, it was part of the Accounting Department. Derek took over as Head of the IS Section in 1992. The Section started to investigate and plan for becoming a separate department and Derek visited some Australian universities to get ideas. Derek was the first HOD when the Information Systems Department was established in 1994. He served multiple terms until 2003 and was the major driving force for the department over many years. During his tenure of 28 years at UCT and under his leadership the Department grew from 5 staff members to one of the leading IS education institutions in South Africa. The department’s focus was initially on undergraduate teaching but today maintains programmes at post graduate diploma, honours, masters and PHD level and post graduate student numbers have exceeded those of the undergraduate courses.
His first loves were in the area of Project management (where he excelled in his teaching and conference presentations) and the IS Honours course which has evolved into one of the most sought after foundation qualifications for individuals entering the IS community. In 1989, Derek co-founded the Faculty Training Institute which has grown into one of the largest Business Analysis and Project Management training organisations in South Africa.
Derek has published widely in project management and the people side of IS, such as motivation, which was also a major interest. Journals include the South African Computer Journal and the South African Journal of Business Management. He regularly attended conferences such as SACLA and SAICSIT.
Derek retired as a full professor and is an Emeritus Professor of Information Systems at UCT, he spreads his time across teaching at his old alumni, getting involved in community work (lecturing at TSiBA and on the Tutu Leadership Programme) and watching rugby at Newlands where he has a season ticket.
Judith received her PhD from the University of Southampton in 1976 and has a distinguished background in academia, having been a professor at the Universities of Witwatersrand and Pretoria, with visiting positions in the UK, Germany, Canada, Italy and the USA. She has over 95 publications including 15 books on programming languages that are available in six languages and read worldwide. She has presented many keynotes, tutorials and special lectures. She is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town. Judith serves frequently on international editorial, program and award committees, and has received numerous awards and distinctions.
Judy was one of the pioneers who established SAICS (The South African Institute for Computer Scientists) which later became SAICSIT. She also played a core role in the development of Computer Science in its early years in SA, and her contributions in this area surely helped to put Computer Science on a sound footing in SA in those early years. Over many years she had also organized several conferences as well as post graduate Summer and Winter Schools which have brought many internationally well-known academics to South Africa, and which have benefitted students from South Africa and further.
Judy has also played a significant role in IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing, where she represented SA on Technical Committee 2 for many years, and also acted as Secretary for TC 2. For her service in IFIP, she received the IFIP Outstanding Service Award in 2009 and the IFIP Silver Core Award 2006 for service to the worldwide computer science community. She was the Chairperson of the International Program Committee of the IFIP World Congress in 2008 in Milan.
She also received the Computer Society Fellowship Award in 2008, the South African DTI Award for Distinguished Woman Scientist of the Year for Innovation 2005 and one of 100 Leading Mind Awards from her University in its Centenary Year 2008. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Royal Society of South Africa and of many other prestigious bodies.
Presently she is Director of Computer Science at Microsoft Research, based in Redmond, USA. Her role is to create strong links between Microsoft’s research groups and universities globally, through encouraging projects, supporting conferences and engaging directly in research. Her expertise is in programming languages and distributed systems, with a strong practical bias and an interest in compilers and design patterns. She initiated the Software Innovation Foundation (SEIF) and is currently working on a new way of running programs in browsers (expecially F#). Currently, she is active in IFIP WG2.4, the ACM and the CRA.
Prof. MacGregor’s area of research covers distributed computing in all its aspects, that is, the distribution of applications between different computer systems, irrespective of the network type. With the growth of network technology especially the Internet andwireless communications, the use and development of distributed applications in rapidly increasing, however tools for the development and analysis of such applications are still not properly understood. The techniques used to develop commercial client/server systems across corporate networks are not necessarily suitable to implement distributed applications over inherently unreliable networks. In South Africa with its wide geographic distribution of population and shortage of skills this area of computing has many particular sociological advantages and challenges. The research covers three specific areas in which Prof MacGregor is looking for PhD and MSc students. These are:
Wireless Middleware Middleware is the name given to the software that enables the communication between distributed applications. In a wireless world where connections can be intermittent and unreliable, a greater emphasis is placed on the functioning of the middleware. Different requirements exist for synchronisation of diaries in wireless devices as distinct from nonidempotent transactions. This research considers the requirements of wireless middleware and its production. Open Source Operating Systems The purpose of this research is to adapt the available Open Source Software and make it more user friendly and generally usable. The research is currently looking at a number of areas:Operating Systems, the LINUX family from full LINUX on a server to mLINUX on a PDA or cell phone, application development tools for ease of usage and Desktop software.
Peer-to-Peer File Systems The increasing availability of bandwidth presents new opportunities for distributed computing. Instead of the traditional message passing paradigm, which puts an additional overhead on the application, the more natural peer-to-peer paradigm could be adopted. In this method of distribution the application can discover what file resources are available on other computers and access them as if they were on their own systems. In this type of environmentmany user applications can cooperate accessing this common shared file system. The project is implementing a peer-to-peer wireless file system, consider its limitations, investigating the algorithms for ensuring the concurrency and integrity of the data, and researching the effects of bandwidth on the implementation. The software is being developed on a standard Open Source operating.
CV information taken from: https://www.cs.uct.ac.za/research/research-interests-ken-macgregor
Picture taken from: https://www.cs.uct.ac.za/news-and-events/2011/ken-macgregor-honoured-with-saicsit-pioneers-award/
Pat Terry was born on 7 April 1945, in Johannesburg. He was schooled at St Andrew's College, in Grahamstown from 1959–1962, then attended Rhodes University from 1963–1968, obtaining an MSc in Physics with distinction for a thesis entitled "Radio ray tracing at very low frequencies when the effects of heavy ions are included". In 1968 he was awarded the Elsie Ballot Scholarship and a National Scholarship which allowed him to proceed to Cambridge University for his PhD studies. In 1972, he completed his PhD on the topic of "Complex Ray Tracing in Ionospheric Radio Propagation". His postgraduate studies in Physics, both at the MSc and PhD level, were largely dependent on computer simulations. At Rhodes this led him to become an early user of the newly installed ICL1301 computer, and to dabble extensively in simple compiler writing and systems programming, so as best to exploit the limited potential of the machine. His PhD studies in Cambridge, where he was supervised by Kenneth Budden, FRS, also had the side effect of exposing him for the first time to time-sharing computers at the famous Mathematical Laboratory where Wilkes and others were developing the Atlas computer, multiaccess systems etc.
After completing his studies at Cambridge, he returned to Grahamstown and to Rhodes University to commence an academic career spanning almost 40 years. He began this career as a Lecturer in Applied Mathematics. In 1977 he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, and then in 1981 was appointed as Professor of Computer Science in the newly created Department of Computer Science. As an academic, Pat has been a long-time supporter of SAICSIT and of SACLA. During his teaching career he has become particularly well-known for his work in the areas of compilers and computer languages. He is also well-known internationally for his textbooks, which include:
Programming Language Translation — a practical approach, (Addison-Wesley, 1986)
Fortran from Pascal, (Addison-Wesley, 1987)
Introduction to Programming with Modula-2, (Addison-Wesley, 1987
Compilers and Compiler Generators: An Introduction with C++, (International Thomson, 1997)
Compiling with C# and Java, (Pearson Addison Wesley, 2005)
He has published in journals and conferences on a wide range of topics, but with a special focus on pedagogical issues in Computer Science. These include ACM SigPlan Notices, Software: Practice and Experience, SA Journal of Higher Education, ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, and SACLA proceedings. For several years, he served on the ISO/IEC international standards group (WG13), which was standardizing the Modula-2 programming language.
Perhaps one of his most significant contributions to the South African academic community was his pivotal role in enabling the first email and networking connections between South Africa and the rest of the world. For a period during the late 1980s/early 1990s all South African universities' email flowed through a PC managed by Pat, and connecting to contacts that he had forged in the USA. In time this pioneering effort led to the establishment of the academic Internet in South Africa.
Picture taken from: http://cs.ru.ac.za/news/PDT_SAICSIT_Award.php
Prof van den Heever completed his MSc in Maths Stats at UP in the 60s, and then went on to complete anr MS at Stanford, as well as an MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UCLA, Berkeley in the US.
He founded the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pretoria. In 1969 Computer Science was a division of Mathematics and Statistics, later it became its own department of which Roelf was the Head of Department until 1997. He still has close ties with the department as professor extraordinary.
Roelf built the department into a national and internal leader. At a time when others though of desktop computing as a pipe-dream, he managed to obtain a desktop laboratory for UP students. Under his leadership, the department introduced object oriented programming long before it became an international fashion. He introduced the notion of "plans" into the first year well before the same idea, now known as "patterns", subsequently emerged as an international trend. He insisted on a strong software engineering component in the curriculum, which remains a feature of the department's curriculum.
He started a "virtual" School of Information Technology, before the idea of a "School" had been formally introduced into university structures. Under his guidance, seven departments in the university were brought together in a collaborative effort to share courses, expertise and research. This structure later morphed into the formal School of IT which now incorporates three IT departments as an administrative structure.
In the early 1980s he founded EPI-USE together with Jan Roos. Until the early 1990's it functioned as a consultancy arm of the department. Income was used to fund departmental equipment, staff travel and other needs. Well before the new South Africa, some of the EPI-USE income was being channelled to outreach projects in Mamelodi where computer studies was taught to disadvantaged children. In the mid-1990s EPI-USE moved off campus. It currently employs over 800 people and has a presence in more than ten countries. It has many major corporations as its clients, and is a potent factor in international SAP consultancy.
Roelf's approach to life has always been to have fun while making a contribution and this was evident to anybody working with him. He is passionate about devolving power and initiative as far down the organisational hierarchy as possible and about building strong trusting and respectful employee relationships.
CV Information taken from: http://phugeet.cs.up.ac.za/news/view/418
Prof von Solms was appointed as Lecturer in Computer Science on October 1, 1970. In March 1973 he received one of the first PhDs in Computer Science awarded in SA. Over the last 40 years he played a major role in establishing the whole discipline of Computer Science, Informatics and Information Technology as academic disciplines in SA. During this period he was part of a group of academics which introduced syllabi, choose relevant text books and in general, created a sound basis for the future of these disciplines.
However, it is specifically in the area of Information Security that Prof von Solms was a real pioneer. He introduced the first courses in Information Security when the discipline was still relatively unknown in SA. He established a significant research capability in this area in SA, and supervised most of the academics in SA who are today themselves working in this area. Prof von Solms has been called ‘The Father of Information Security in SA’ by an NRF reviewer.
His legacy in this area has done SA proud in terms of all the international contributions flowing from his small start many years ago.
During the past 40 years Prof von Solms has established himself as an international researcher with more than 150 published journal and conference papers. He was assigned a B1 rating from the NRF in 2008, but appealed against this decision based on the fact that he identified a serious flaw in the procedure used by the NRF, and demanded a re-investigation. The process is still to be finalized.
During the last 40 years, Prof von Solms has supervised 85 Masters degree students and 17 PhD degree students. Many of these students are today established, nationally and internationally, as leading IT professionals, academics and managers.
Prof von Solms was the first person from Africa to be elected as President of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP). In the role of President, he presides over an international organization which has 60 countries as members, and indirectly represents more than 500 000 IT professionals internationally. Through his role in IFIP, he managed to get an IFIP grant from DST for the last 8 years. This grant allows, amongst other things, the possibility for young IT researchers in SA to attend IFIP conferences to establish academic networks with their peers. Many young IT researchers in SA had already benefited from this initiative.
CV information taken from: http://alumni.mandela.ac.za/Notable-Alumni/Alumni-Awards/2011-Alumni-Awards
Picture taken from: https://adam.uj.ac.za/~basie/
Derek Scott Henderson, a Durban boy was educated at St. John’s, Rhodes, Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard He was one of a very few people world wide who trod the road in the 1950s that led to the unbelievable explosion of computers in our lives today, and to computer science as the academic subject as we know it.
In the period 1957-1960 when Derek was studying for his PhD at Harvard, his own contribution was in the field of logical design of arithmetic units for what were then being called high-speed digital computers – those comprised of transistors. He investigated simultaneous addition of several numbers, various methods of short-cut multiplication, ways of handling division and an efficient implementation of processing square root extraction. Lastly he looked at the residue class number system – representing a large integer using a set of smaller integers. It is on this work, that his only USA paper is based, and it is interesting that the paper is available and accessible on the ACM’s Digital Library (Henderson, 1961). Such mathematical work on the arithmetic units of computers is highly important, since if they do not compute calculations correctly, the solutions produced will be worthless. These days the designs of hardware are verified by formal verification systems, supported by software.
Derek presented his thesis at Harvard in May 1960, the 12th PhD in computer science at that USA at that time. Derek was the first PhD student of Peter Calingaert when he was an Assistant Professor at Harvard. Howard Aitken, who was already famous for his pioneering work on the Harvard Mark II in 1947, is also acknowledged. Peter eventually came out to Wits several timesIt is a credit to the importance of Derek’s work, and a source of pride for South Africans, that he then moved on to join IBM and was involved in the design of the IBM 360, arguably the most successful mainframe computer of the past century.
The importance of Derek’s subsequent work at Wits cannot be overestimated, although it was not published in the traditional channels. He wrote a compiler and terminal operating system that was installed at Wits and used by generations of students and researchers, not to mention the administrative staff. The Computer Centre that he established was a model for all others at universities countrywide. In the notes on his CV, Derek calls out that he supervised over 20 Masters and Doctoral students, which even today, in computer science, is a very respectable number. He was appointed the first Professor of Computer Science and later Dean of Science at Wits before becoming the third Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes (1979-1996).
A firm believer in the paramount importance of democracy, education and equal access for all race groups, the former Vice-Chancellor and his officials defied the nationalist government in 1979 by making Rhodes the first university in South Africa to integrate races in student residences. Upon his retirement, when financial insolvency threatened the existence of the Grahamstown Foundation in September 1999, Dr Henderson worked tirelessly to keep the doors of the 1820 National Settlers Monument open. During his tenure at Rhodes, Derek served on the State President’s Scientific Advisory Council from 1988 to 1994 and on the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) from 1982 to 1987. After retirement he was a member of the Grahamstown Transitional Local Council and the Council of St Andrew’s College, and honorary life president of the Grahamstown Foundation Council. He was also a former treasurer of the Eastern Cape Branch of the Royal Society of South Africa. One of the lasting legacies Derek left behind for SAICSIT is that he was the first co-editor of the precursor of the South African Computer Journal, called Quaestiones Informatica. Derek was a man of wisdom, warmth and courage, a man of many talents, who applied them to the full throughout his long life. He passed away in Grahamstown on 13 August 2009.
A firm believer in the paramount importance of democracy, education and equal access for all race groups, the former Vice-Chancellor and his officials defied the nationalist government in 1979 by making Rhodes the first university in South Africa to integrate races in student residences.
Upon his retirement, when financial insolvency threatened the existence of the Grahamstown Foundation in September 1999, Dr Henderson worked tirelessly to keep the doors of the 1820 National Settlers Monument open. During his tenure at Rhodes, Derek served on the State President’s Scientific Advisory Council from 1988 to 1994 and on the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) from 1982 to 1987. After retirement he was a member of the Grahamstown Transitional Local Council and the Council of St Andrew’s College, and honorary life president of the Grahamstown Foundation Council. He was also a former treasurer of the Eastern Cape Branch of the Royal Society of South Africa.
One of the lasting legacies Derek left behind for SAICSIT is that he was the first co-editor of the precursor of the South African Computer Journal, called Quaestiones Informatica.
Derek was a man of wisdom, warmth and courage, a man of many talents, who applied them to the full throughout his long life. He passed away in Grahamstown on 13 August 2009.
Information taken from: https://www.ru.ac.za/latestnews/2009/2009-08-131622.html and from "On Greatness" by Judith Bishop in Transaction of the Royal Society of South Africa
Dewald Roode retired at the end of 2001 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he was Director of the School of Information Technology and professor extraordinary in the Department of Informatics. Since 2003 he was a visiting professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town, and as from 2004, also at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. At these institutions he continued to work with and supervise PhD students, and did research in co-operation with his students. During his career he successfully supervised more than thirty PhD students. He presented many papers at international conferences and at ECIS in 2004 received a best paper award. His research interests included the socio-techno divide in society; ICT and socio-economic development; strategic planning for information systems and the impact of ICT on organisations. His work has been published in Information Technology and People; Studies in Communications Sciences; Journal of Education for MIS; IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering; SA Computer Journal; and SA Journal for Economic and Management Sciences. He served in editorial roles with the SA Computer Journal, The Journal of Systems and Information Technology, The Journal for Information Technology and Development, Enterprise Information Systems, and the African Journal of Information Systems. He was a member of AIS, ACM, the SA Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists, and a Fellow of the SA Computer Society.
He completed a six year term in 2007 as chair of IFIP's Technical Committee 8 on Information Systems, and was a member of the Steering Committee of IFIP's World Information Technology Forum in Lithuania in 2003, and in Botswana in 2005. He developed and presented in 2008 and 2009 a series of fourteen seminars on Research and Innovation Core Skills for the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - a program for all new and upcoming researchers at the CSIR.
Prof Roode, an alumnus of the North-West University (PUK), is regarded as the father of IS theory and research in SA. He was also honoured with the International Silver Core Award by the Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) (see http://web.up.ac.za/UserFiles/Newsletter_Vol2_No2.pdf). He received a LEO award from AIS in 2008 for a lifetime of distinguished contributions to the IS discipline (see http://www.puk.ac.za/nuus/nuus508_e.htmln/
Prof Dewald Roode passed away on 27 September 2009 after a long illness.