Global IT Community Supports UNSW

The IT community has acted to support technical teaching of computer engineering at UNSW by donating more than $100,000 to the John Lions Chair in Operating Systems.

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The IT community has acted to support technical teaching of computer engineering at UNSW by donating more than $100,000 to the John Lions Chair in Operating Systems.

The chair, which was established late last year, aims to enable an eminent academic to continue the John Lions tradition of insightful and inspirational teaching in operating systems.

Speaking about the donation, Professor Gernot Heiser, from the School of Computer Science and Engineering, said: "In computer science there is currently a trend of moving away from hardcore technical teaching to soft skills. UNSW has always recognised that there is a need for soft skills but not at the cost of the technical training. That commitment from the University is the reason behind the strong IT community support for this chair."

The donation was presented to the University at an international conference hosted by Linux Australia and held at UNSW. It was raised through the efforts of UNSW engineering alumni, Linux Australia and USENIX, which is a global association for advanced computer systems.

"The industry likes the idea of a Chair being created in the name of John Lions and providing support for in-depth teaching of operating systems, such as is taught at UNSW. This is about teaching students to create, not just use, technology," Professor Heiser explains.

In 2005 global wireless communications giant Qualcomm donated US$500,000, which allowed the chair to be established. The current donation is a significant step towards raising the $2 million necessary to make the chair ongoing.

John Lions was an Associate Professor at UNSW. Renowned as an outstanding teacher, he wrote a commentary on the UNIX code which became a technical bible for students, hackers and qualified professionals and was a key factor in developing the Open Source movement.

For more information on the Chair and appeal please go to www.cse.unsw.edu.au/JohnLions/